Saturday, March 28, 2009

Record Labels: Teenbeat

Unrest: Make Out Club


Tuscadero: The Teenbeat Song

[Purchase at Teenbeat store]

Andrew Beaujon: Dots Per Square Inch


I've been out of the country for most of the week and I can't say I am someone who follows whole record labels much anyway, but I felt I had to post about Teenbeat Records while the theme was still running because one of my best friends adores everything and anything Teenbeat. If there was such a position as Teenbeat ambassador, he'd be it. He sent me a mix way back when that included a number of songs by Teenbeat artists and to this day it's one of the best/favorite mixes I have ever received.

And because I couldn't have said it as well myself, my friend quickly jotted a description of Teenbeat's music and history and e-mailed it to me tonight:

Teenbeat was started by Mark Robinson (Unrest, Flin Flon, Grenadine, Air Miami) and friends Andrew Beaujon (Scaley Andrew, Eggs), and Phil Krauth (Unrest) when they were high school students in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC. Teenbeat shows off its Factory Records influence by carrying on the tradition of "discography as biography". Not only do releases get catalog numbers, but things such as Teenbeat headquarters, station wagons, posters, interns and freak accident hospital bills do as well. The labels also share a similar design aesthetic, with Robinson responsible for almost all of the label graphic design.

With a sound that could generally be described as 'indie pop', Teenbeat has been a stalwart of the DC music scene for 24 years, and has released records from bands such as Unrest, Tuscadero, Versus, +/-, Eggs, Flin Flon, and the Rondelles. Other label fixtures show off it's strong D.C. ties with local stalwarts such as Butch Willis, the Screamer, and Jonny Cohen (whose existence on the label seems mostly to amuse Mark Robinson). Mark isn't looking to get rich, he just wants to release records he likes.
I've never followed through with any of the acts more than a few songs worth that my friend has shared with me, but the one band that was the exception is Tuscadero, whom I loved right away and had to have their albums. The above track was featured on a Teenbeat sampler from 1997. And the above Andrew Beaujon track demonstrates the pseudo-comical nature of the music of Teenbeat sometimes takes on, and is made entirely worthwhile for the lyric about the popsicle alone.

They definitely are a very unique, quirky, and fun kind of label, which makes sense that my friend would feel such a kinship with it since he's all of those things himself.

blog comments powered by Disqus