The Rock*A*Teens Are Back

The Rock*A*Teens are our Music Discovery pick this week.
The Rock*A*Teens Return With Sixth House

In the late 90s and early 2000s, you were unlikely to find a more influential rock band than The Rock*A*Teens. You may not have heard of them; they seemed to quit right as they eclipsed. Over five albums, no band seemed more capable of fusing indie rock, rockabilly, punk, all with a Southern-influenced edge. 

Coming out of Cabbagetown, an Atlanta, Georgia neighborhood with a thriving music scene, they left quite a trail in their wake. You can hear their infectious, almost swampy drawl on “Black Metal Stars” from 1999’s Golden Time, a sound that would go on to influence Okkervil River and The New Pornographers, just to name a couple of the many.

Dan Bejar of Destroyer and formerly The New Pornographers, has said The Rock*A*Teens “were arguably the best American rock ’n roll band of the ’90s.”

In fact, early Rock*A*Teens bandmate Kelly Hogan would later become Neko Case’s backing vocalist.

Now it’s 18 years since their last studio full length and Sixth House picks right up where their trademark and glorious southern reverb left off. Sixth House kicks off with the no-looking-back anthem, “Billy Really”. 

Throw almost two decades at any band, and they’re likely to look to the past to a certain point. Time has healed a few things up though.

Listen to “Turn and Smile” and you’ll hear lead singer Chris Lopez looking back, again. This time, with no end in sight. “Oh, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he sings, closing things down on the new song.

A question that many an indie-musicologist has pondered is this: What kind of music do The Rock*A*Teens actually make. Indie-tinged pop? Pop-tinged blues? Jazz-tinged rockabilly? Swamp-like garage? 

The answer may be this easy; it’s simply the Rock*A*Teens, and it’s real good to have them back.