Middle school is a bitch. Tweens are mean. Everyone is oozing hormones. Your hair sucks. You have pimples. Pre-algebra. Yet for some reason old people keep telling you that these are the best years of your life. WTF? While some get through middle school by enlisting high-school muscle to scare the bullies off, others go a step further: they enlist indie rock A-listers. WTF?
Last month Tiny Masters of Today, the middle school-aged brother-sister duo, released an album called Bang Bang Boom Cake, showcasing their distorted lo-fi songs and featuring all sorts of straight-lipped contributions from Karen O and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches, Fred Schneider of the B-52s, and Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. And, of course, Russell Simins from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is their drummer. Following up the album’s release, TMT stayed up way past bedtime to play a few fun-filled and raucous shows at CMJ.
The Brooklyn-based pair, Ivan and Ada, provide their own guitar, bass, and keyboards and both sing on the album, which features a slew of playful punk songs reminiscent of early riot grrl acts like Bratmobile. David Bowie purportedly compared them to Suicide, which is certainly apt on their studio work.
While TMT obviously sound like kids, they have enough talent and passion to make up for any lack of depth in their vocals (Ed- What good punk bands don't sound like kids?). However, the best tracks on the album pair their singing with heartier voices. The obvious standout is “Hologram World” where both kids go head to head with Karen O and come out evenly matched. For dance tracks, you can’t go wrong with “Hey Mr. DJ” or “Disco Bomb,” while the best bets for social commentary are “Bushy” and “Stickin’ to the Man”, about as cute and rudimentary in their critique as Henry Rollins circa 1984. And while an album this engaging may not prevent them from getting picked last in gym class, it will totally get them into college. Way to go!