When Teen play the CMJ Music Marathon later this month, get ready to swoon and sway to their expansive, quirky pop tunes. We didn’t get to hear much talk from the ladies though, due to the fact that they had a strict 45-minute set time to adhere to. The one time we got to hear lead singer Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson speak was after the first song when she looked up to the sound guy to tell him how she was getting shocked by her mic when her guitar was on. She then turned to the crowd, winked and said, “But in this next song I don’t use my guitar, so don’t you fret.” Pun intended, hopefully. People may not have if Teeny did wince again, because her voice was strong and filled the room.
When Sondre Lerche finally took the stage it wasn’t the end of Teen. The Lieberson sisters joined him for multiple songs, including some angelic harmonies on Lucifer, which Lerche introduced by explaining how bleak the cover to his new album Please is, but how jovial the song was going to be in contrast. Lerche was full of joking anecdotes and banter with the crowd, filled with winding and charming stories that included self-deprecation that was almost as endearing as his dancing was intense. The highlights of these ramblings included complimenting fans, making people cheer for the drummer because the bassist had gotten a compliment and it wasn’t fair, making South Park references and condemning Arizona’s air for his sore throat before thanking Arizona for making his throat sore, so he could have a special frequency in his voice just for L.A.
The longest story Lerche told was of how, at the age of 13, he used to play his songs for master Norwegian producer H.P. Gundersen, even though he was a terrible guitarist and terrible singer. Then by the age of 16 when Lerche was an okay guitarist and okay singer, Gundersen was producing Lerche’s demo, which led to his first album. At this point, H.P. Gundersen took Lerche’s guitar and played beautiful, bluesy solos for about five minutes as Lerche danced, stole his drummer’s drink and then geeked out on his old master some more. Aw.
Photos by Annie Lesser.