Growth, accolades for Brooklyn’s TEEN

By John Benson

For the record, Teeny Lieberson has been playing in New York City bands for more than a decade.

That means she possesses pre-Brooklyn hipsterdom integrity even though her latest project TEEN is getting tons of press as such for its 2012 debut effort, “In Limbo.” In the past year, the quartet has watched its song “Better” get listed at No. 38 on Rolling Stone’s 50 best songs of 2012 and the group itself mentioned as Stereogum’s Band to Watch.

“We’re very happy to get the attention,” said singer-guitarist-keyboardist Lieberson, calling from New York City. “If anyone wants to say those things, we’re more than happy to receive it. What we don’t want to hear is anything having to do with the all-girl stuff. That’s kind of annoying.”

Being in the Big Apple spotlight is nothing new to Lieberson, who was a keyboard player for the indie-psych band Here We Go Magic. It was during a hiatus from that band in the winter of 2009 that she wrote the songs that eventually would make up the backbone of “In Limbo.”

Eventually, she recruited her sisters Lizzie (keys and vocals) and Katherine (drums, vocals) along with childhood friend Jane Herships (bass, vocals) to round out the band. This means the outfit’s members all grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but now possess a decidedly New York City vibe.

“Back when I started the band, I was definitely listening to a lot more Velvet Underground,” Lieberson said. “It was much more simple types of songs, and we weren’t really thinking so much as a band back then. We had members coming and going, so it was very different than before. Now we have a much more clearer direction, and it feels really good, like a really big step forward and much more focused than before. It’s like we’re a band.”

Already the outfit is looking ahead to its next album, which Lieberson said will be influenced by the fact she’s been listening to a lot more ’60s rock. The result is material that is more fleshed out and psychedelic.

“We’re writing with an R&B influence coming in and more straight rock, not as many effects,” Lieberson said. “Everything is played by us, and we’re recording the same way. We’re not doing any overdubs, so we really want to sound like the four of us playing the songs that we’ve written, rather than the layer upon layer approach of songwriting.”

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