Four months ago, the Columbia, Maryland duo Teen Suicide released a 7-song EP called DC snuff film. The project was the culmination of lo-fi virtuoso Sam Ray's bedroom projects like Ricky Eat Acid and his first Teen Suicide EP called Bad Vibes Forever. Last week Teen Suicide released a follow-up 3-song EP called Goblin Problems for free download. Every one of them is beautiful and timid, painfully good, and poorly recorded in a demo-that's-better-than-than-the overproduced-album-version kind of way.
In an interview earlier this year with Portals, Sam Ray described his efforts with Teen Suicide as an attempt to write good pop tunes, which is fine and everything, but what he actually produces is emotive punk: dreamy, washed-out vocals, buzzing guitar riffs, and crashing drums.
Listening to him progress as a recording artist, you kind of get that vibe that maybe if he weren't a poor kid in the suburbs and could afford a microphone (or a decent one, anyway), he would write a great pop song, but serendipitously for us that's not how it is. (Apparently he did buy some new microphones for the recording of Goblin Problems, but then ended up recording the last track on a tape recorder anyway!)
What we get is three EPs' worth of lo-fi at its garage-glamorous best. Sam's lyrics (when you can hear them) capture the delicacy and confusion of teenage lust and loneliness, offset by some pretty good (pop) guitar riffs to match. But thanks to the drumming and the all-important "we made this on our only tape recorder" sound, Sam Ray's work as Teen Suicide both avoids the doldrums of emo-rock and flies beneath the hardcore radar, landing it right in that secret sweet spot called something new.