Friday, September 26, 2008

Team Genius constructs debut album specifically for the iPod generation, manages to channel both Prince and Magnetic Fields along the way.

“I have been trying to go with my whims… fuck it, let’s make an iPod album.”

“Basically it’s a reaction to the modern way music is consumed and listened to,” Drew says of the disc. “The idea of an album with a focused sound and a complete statement kind of gets lost now-a-days. Everyone shuffles around, so I thought ‘why not write an album that does the same thing?’ Luckily, the band did an awesome job of keeping up with it.”

The result is a single album that contains a multitude of sounds from funky falsettos (“Take Me Home”) (MP3), to Celtic intonations (“Sing Song”), epic anthems (“ABC”), weird pep rallies (“The Wise Ones All Give Up”), two chord experimentation (“Meanderings and Musings”), ukulele folk (“Speak Softly”), and even a campfire sing-along (“While We’re Asleep).

“Hopefully there is still a strong enough sense of our personalities and my quirky style of writing that ties the songs together,” Drew muses.

Those personalities are quirky, indeed. It was a boring winter when Drew enlisted his brother Chad Hermiller and their friend and drummer Scott Dyer (a 150-pound wonder - sometimes shirtless, sometimes suited) to form the trio that ultimately became Team Genius. The boys later welcomed Chris Hudik on bass and then added a much needed feminine element to the team when Erin Griffith and Emma Firth both joined in 2007. Team Genius released the Hooray EP to critical acclaim in early 2008.

Furthering the familial elements of Team Genius, both biological and psychological, was the introduction of another pair of siblings in the form of trumpet player Rebecca Allen and her sister Elizabeth on a multitude of axes. As the unique personalities that comprise Team Genius emerge throughout the Team Genius album, you may find yourself curious about a history that mentions eight band members, photos that depict six or seven, and a stage show that can go from intimate affair to free-for-all. Truly, it’s all in keeping with the Team Genius ‘no rules, just rock’ take on what a band can be.

This attitude has brought about an anti-scene in the band’s
Brooklyn base -- one contrary to the hipster-ism that has permeated the borough. You see, the members of Team Genius are the nail-biting, hand-standing kids you sat next to in Algebra class, only now they’re doing pop culture battle with idiot-proof lyrics and an ear full of sound. The band’s poppy, earnest resonance smacks of the Ohio heartland, while its stark lyrics, juxtaposed with infectious beats, make both your noggin and your ticker move.

Essentially, the Team Genius brand of geeky bravado conjures the kind of music you would have listened to in your high school ride (as long as you were in band or orchestra) and is the perfect soundtrack to an awkward first date. This is not to say that Team Genius tunes are in any way childish. As it is hinted at above, the band takes the statements it makes seriously

Drew comments, “Lyrically, it’s about trying to operate by one’s own internal compass rather than what we’re suppose to think and follow about morals, rules, laws, and ethics. I think that dropping the traditional way of thinking and looking around for yourself is an incredibly positive thing and to a large degree I kind of consider that to be true intelligence. If you want a thesis statement for the album I’d say that ‘ABC’ is the best example. And ‘While We’re Asleep’ is kind of a redemption song. It’s basically about anyone who follows this kind of ‘live by your own rules’ logic and the possibility of them giving a hand to the rest of us sinners.”

Self-exploration via iPod has never sounded as good as it does via the debut album by Team Genius. Just make sure to check out the display once in a while to remind yourself that the bands rocking a Prince-ly groove and a Magnetic Fields folk fest are actually one and the same.

Team Genius Live:

10/11 Brooklyn, NY @ Galapagos
10/21 New York, NY @ Original Sessions Art House
10/23 New York, NY @ Knitting Factory Fanatic CMJ Day Party
10/25 Brooklyn, NY @ The Charleston CMJ Music Marathon
11/05 Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands
11/13 Brooklyn, NY @ Monkeytown

Team Genius
Release Date:
October 7th, 2008
01. Take Me Home (MP3)
02. Surely The Sun Will Explode
03. Sing Song
04. Run Gun Sun
05. ABC
06. The Wise Ones All Give Up
07. Meanderings and Musings
08. Speak Softly
09. Take What You Can’t Make
10. While We’re Asleep

Tools & Hi–Res Photos:

On The Web:

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