“Salvation will arrive when we blow up-up-up the USA”
I can spend the next hour breaking apart what an artist means by this lyric and what it means for the present state of our nation and what direction we are heading. I could condemn said artist for the folly of such a statement and put up an animated gif of an American flag billowing in the wind on our site (if that were my kind of thing); it wouldn’t matter, we will still get on a watchlist because of eight words in quotes. Hey, whatever, maybe someone at the NSA is also a music fan. Win-win, right?
Pop-punk with a distrust of authority may be an old story at this point, but when it takes a new angle, it feels fresh. TKTTSM ( just say “Ticketism” and save yourself an uncomfortable string of letter-pulling) is looking for an angle and it is one of my favorites: a broad swath of sound, equal parts catchy, elusive and aggressive. The Brooklyn duo of vocalist Johanna Stahley and musician Owen O’Mahony cover some serious pop ground in their debut.
In thirty-six minutes, TKTTSM tells their story of distrust of cops and haters, love of 40s, and everything else that passes through their stream of consciousness. O’Mahoney’s music switches from punk tri-chords to hooky pop acoustic guitar and back to rockabilly seamlessly from track to track and even from moment to moment in the same song. Tracks like “Edumication” and “Porcupine” go from pensive to pop to punk so quickly I forget I’m listening to the same track. Stahley provides a constant, giving the listener a lifeline to tether to a theme with her breathy and smoky vocals and everything seems to build to last moments when she belts out a throat-shredding “I wanna live for something worth dying for, yeah yeah yeah” in “Porcupine.” Like the pace of the album, this is followed by the tonally sweet “Focus” that gives the listener a few minutes to gather their thoughts before the experience is over and asking themselves: “What was that?”
After listening to TKTTSM several times, I still ask myself the same question. I love the album that defies a genre and acts the moving target; but this debut refuses to wear hunter’s orange and rides a pogo stick through the woods. It is a bouncy, chunky fun ride, and I implore you to give it a tilt-a-whirl when TKTTSM hits the digital and analog shelves on October 16th. It is the funnest anti-establishment music I have ever put in my ears.