AMOEBA TEEN (Stourbridge, UK)
BIG STIR RECORDS is delighted to welcome to its roster: AMOEBA TEEN!
When speaking of a band like Stourbridge, England's AMOEBA TEEN as they manifest themselves today, it's difficult not to fall back on clichés like "going from strength to strength", "at the height of their powers", or "firing on all cylinders". It's better, perhaps, to borrow a song title from the group themselves and say that they're coming on stronger: the banner year of 2018 saw an extensive reissue of their back catalog on Kool Kat Musik, their invigorating live set captured audiences at home and on festival stages across the UK, and for 2019 they have, in Medium Wave (due 1 June on Big Stir Records) synthesized their live energy and nuanced songcraft into an album that's bracing, immediate, and humming with the energy of its time in a way that fans of peak period Kinks, The Jam and classic power pop across the decades will recognize and adore.
Amoeba Teen were founded by critically acclaimed songwriting team of Mark Britton and Mike Turner. Armed with a four-track tape recorder and junk shop guitars, the pair began writing together back in the dying embers of the last century. With a rag-tag collection of scratchy demos, they slowly honed their craft, melding together lush harmonies, hooky melodies, the odd sample and overdriven guitars. Hints of power pop can be heard -- Teenage Fanclub, Jellyfish and Big Star spring to mind -- but Turner’s raucous guitar and reverb soundscapes keeps the vibe punky and a little dirtier.
During a particularly dark year of damp accommodation and alcohol, their work attracted the attention of Nokia, who wanted to feature their track "Friend to the Stars", in a TV advert. They declined and chose to remain underground and drunk. During a three-year break Mark Britton re-released some of Amoeba Teen’s material, attracting international acclaim that included rave reviews from Powerpopaholic, Pure Pop Radio and an Album of the Month award from Ryan’s Gig Guide. A reformation was in order: in 2016 the group rebuilt upon Britton and Turner’s songwriting foundations, adding Simon Muttit, legendary former bassist of Fierce Panda Records' darlings, X>Y. On drums is Carl Baylis, whose percussive skills have found him featured on Steve Lamacq’s record of the week on BBC 6Music.
The band's 2017 album The Appleyard Sessions was an acoustic detour that hinted at their hidden alt-country influences, while retaining their hallmark harmonies and melodic hooks. Meanwhile the live band sharpened its electric energy and were invited to perform at the International Pop Overthrow Festival at the iconic Cavern Club in Liverpool, and appeared on a compilation on Omnivore Records, home to artists such as The Beach Boys, Tim Buckley and Hank Williams. They found themselves warming up football fans at the West Bromwich Albion versus Liverpool match and rounded off a year of big performances with an appearance at Brierley Hill Civic hall, having won a local radio competition to support BBC2 Radio favourites, King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys.
Amoeba Teen's arrival in the orbit of the burgeoning Big Stir massive comes at a renaissance moment for both parties, as Medium Wave proves to be a gorgeous summation of the band's recorded and live strengths into a cohesive and affecting work that's certain to catch ears both at home and in the US. Already the album's lead single "Suit and Tie", included as part of the label's Digital Singles Series, is seeing a debut on BBC 6Music, and the album joins a robust slate of new records from the international likes of Kai Danzberg (Germany), Trip Wire (San Francisco), In Deed (Sweden) and The Armoires (LA). Tour dates throughout the year in support of the album are being lined up as Amoeba Teen prepares to support its best record yet with the kind of bravura live performances fans have come to expect. Stay tuned for more as the year unfolds!