The Key Studio Sessions: Teenage Halloween - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Teenage Halloween is an undeniably loud band; blasting riffs, hammering rhythms, gripping howls that you feel in the pit of your stomach. The Asbury Park punk four-piece is also a band that’s full of love; the sonic rage they send out from the stage or through your home speakers is all in service of compassion and empathy in an often cold and uncaring world.

Active in the North Jersey DIY community since 2016, Teenage Halloween made a splash in late 2020 with the release of their self-titled debut on Don Giovanni Records. The album is full of snappy ragers about modern life as a young queer person, addressing issues of mental health, life and death, and societal hostility. When they finally got to play the record live the following year, their shows were epic spectacles of E Street punk in the style of Titus Andronicus and The Hold Steady; six members, guitars on guitars, cascading piano, a big sound for a band who wanted to make sure their voices were heard.

These days, Teenage Halloween works in a more raw quartet configuration with Luk Henderiks on guitar and vocals, Tricia Marshall on bass and vocals, Eli Frank on guitar and vocals, and Peter Gargano on drums; their new album Till You Return is out on October 20th on Don G, and it continues to share views from marginalized America. Songs boldly call not just for understanding from the outside (“Supertrans,” where Henderiks sings “You can’t let go of your imagined label / I think that it’s a fable / Clear it off the table / Take my identity seriously”) as well as strength from within (“Armageddon Now,” where they all chime in on the poignant verse “It’s hard to find a genuine connection / When nobody offers you protection / You don’t have to strive for perfection / But be prepared for the reckoning”), and they do so in a way that’s not preachy or soapboxing, but simply a reflection of honest feelings.

Those two tracks were part of the four-song set Teenage Halloween tore through at WXPN studios this week, giving a taste of Till You Return along with the album’s survival anthem “Takeaway” and its cathartic reflection on addition “Getting Bitter,” which Marshall wrote and sings lead on. Watch the full Key Studio Sessions set below, pick up Till You Returnat Don Giovanni’s webstore, and see the band on album release day when they headline Philly’s Ukie Club along with Puppy Angst and The Superweaks. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at WXPN’s Concerts and Events page.

Getting Bitter
Armageddon Now

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