New Imperial Teen – “Shim Sham” (And The Hair The TV The Baby & The Band Album Art)

Imperial Teen are a just a couple weeks away from their fourth album The Hair The TV The Baby & The Band. It’s their first album since 2002’s On — yup, more than half a decade is quite a pause (you can get a degree faster ? maybe). The four Californians are further from the wonder years, but the playful first single “Shim Sham” doesn’t suggest any cobwebs or rust. Still, there is an awareness of time’s passage: Google and some biographical facts make it clear the album title references work (Jone Stebbins owns a hairstyling joint, while the excellently named Roddy Bottum’s does scores for TV), life (Lynn Perko Truell’s a mom) and Will Schwartz’s side project willpower, but more deeply, the comma-free list also connotes watching TV and the babies and feeling your hair fall out.

There’ve been plent of other bands, too ? Imperial Teens have variously played in Faith No More, Sister Double Happiness, the Dicks, the Wrecks, etc. So yeah, “Shim Sham” is a nostalgic summer fete, as Lynn intones, “at the Shim Sham Club” with the Rock*A*Teens. The fuzzy guitar, popping drums, and crystalline Breeders-style male/female harmonies shout celebration (the B-52’s with more kick), but it also feels historical, a first-person story recalled beneath “suburban lights.” The narrative involves a life in punk rock (chilling in “dirty places,” making lifelong friends); “Then and now seems like a different scene / We live to live whatever’s meant to be?” It’s fitting that the percussion shuffles like Steve Shelley in that first measure: Imperial Teen have accrued the same sort of wise distance and scope that Sonic Youth have taken on in their more silver years.

Imperial Teen – “Shim Sham” (MP3)

Of course, a new record usually means a new tour — so we’ve got yer dates right here, along with the LP art and tracklist.

09/21 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Cafe
09/22 – Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
09/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland
09/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
09/30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Folsom Street Fair
10/04 – Chicago, IL @ The Abbey Pub
10/05 – Minneapolis, MN @ 1st Ave.
10/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar
10/20 – Boston, MA @ T.T. The Bears

01 “Everything” – 3:19
02 “Do It Better” – 3:30
03 “Shim Sham” – 2:56
04 “Baby and the Band” – 3:12
05 “One Two” – 2:28
06 “Room with a View” – 4:08
07 “It’s Now” – 2:47
08 “Fallen Idol” – 3:35
09 “Sweet Potato” – 2:27
10 “Everyone Wants to Know” – 3:17
11 “21st Century” – 2:50
12 “What You Do” – 3:20

The Hair The TV The Baby & The Band is out 8/21 on Merge.