Live Concert Photography: Imperial Teen with Liam Benzvi at Baby’s All Right 7/25/19
I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed indie rock band Imperial Teen over the past few months, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Roddy Bottum (guitar, vocals), a former member of Faith No More; Will Schwartz (guitar, vocals), who splits his time with hey willpower; Lynn Perko Truell, (drums, backing vocals), a former member of Sister Double Happiness, The Dicks and The Wrecks; and Jone Stebbins, a former member of The Wrecks initially formed in San Francisco in the mid 90s.
With the release of their 1996 Steve McDonald-produced debut album Seasick, the members of Imperial Teen quickly emerged into the nation scene, as the album received praise from Spin Magazine, who went on to list the album as their fourth best album of that year — and from the New York Times. Building upon a growing profile, the band’s sophomore album, 1998’s What Is Not to Love found the band ambitiously expanding upon their sound and approach with the album’s material routinely clocking over six minutes. But the album received more attention with album single “Yoo Hoo” appeared on the Jawbreaker soundtrack — and the accompanying video featured the movie’s star Rose McGowan appearing alongside the band. Additionally, the song was heard in the beginning of episodes of Numb3rs and Daria.
The band eventually left Universal Records and signed with Merge Records, who released their third album, 2002’s Steve McDonald and Anna Waronker co-produced effort, On. The album’s lead single “Ivanka” received airplay — and they spent a portion of the year touring with The Breeders. Interestingly, that tour include a stop at famed Hoboken club Maxwell’s, which was recorded and released a few months later as Live at Maxwell’s. Shortly after, the band’s Will Schwartz teamed up with Tomo Yasuda for Schwartz’s dance music side project hey willpower, which released their self-titled debut EP in 2005. And by 2007, the members of Imperial Teen returned with two shows at that year’s SXSW and their fourth album, The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band, which landed at #38 on Rolling Stone‘s Best Albums list that year.
Since the release of the band’s fifth album, 2012’s Feel the Sound, the members of the band have relocated to different parts of the country, with members in New York, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Understandably, the geographical locations and distances can make it extremely difficult to write and record music on a regular basis — but the members of the acclaimed indie rock act reconvened to write and record their recently released sixth album Now We Are Timeless. And from singles “We Do What We Do Best” “Walkaway” and “Don’t Want to Let You Go,” the new album features deeply personal material that offers an intimate view into the bandmembers individual lives, revealing where exactly they were emotionally and personally at the point of the album’s creation, while touching upon the passing of time and getting older, averting and succumbing to various crises, and dealing with and accepting loss and pain.
Imperial Teen are currently on a short tour to support their new album and it included a July 25, 2019 stop at Baby’s All Right with openers Liam Benzvi and Macy Rodman. Last Thursday was an insanely busy night, as I covered three different shows — Lexi Todd at Rockwood Music Hall and Ibibio Sound Machine with Combo Lulo at Brooklyn Bowl before stopping at Baby’s. And unfortunately, as a result I wound up missing Macy Rodman’s set. Check out photos of Imperial Teen’s and Liam Benzi’s sets below.
For the better part of the past decade, Liam Benzvi has been best known as a member of the Minneapolis-based indie electro pop act Strange Names. After the release of their sophomore album, Data, Benzvi spent time focusing on the solo material that had been brewing in the background for some time. The end result was his solo debut, Amnesia, USA EP, an effort that seems to draw equally draw from R&B, as much as it does 80s synth pop.