The Kids Are, In Fact, Alright
Have you ever heard rock in a public setting and encountered some curmudgeon grumbling something like, “My middle-schooler can do better than this racket?” Well, Tiny Masters of Today are someone’s middle-schoolers (average age: 14), and they are doing better than most rackets, to the tune of a second (!) album called Skeletons.
On either side of the 2007 release of their first LP Bang Bang Boom Cake, Brooklyn siblings Ivan and Ada were featured in Newsweek and Artrocker magazines, played with members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The B-52’s, and toured the world including SXSW and Lollapalooza. TMOT’s garage-rock and post-punk cribbing was called “genius” by David Bowie and much worse by plenty of music critics.
Our verdict? There’s dedication and raw talent here, as evidenced by tangible growth and change. The Ramones/Stooges influence that pushed Bang Bang Boom Cake forward has turned funky, with even more electronics and loops as TMOT commandeer production duties previously handled by Russell Simins of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. “Understandable Honesty” and “Abercrombie Zombie” resemble The Rapture’s earliest, sloppiest dance-punk, while “Real Good” and “Big Stick” lean towards Le Tigre’s repetitive lo-fi pop.
More honest and raw than kid-rock extremes like Tokio Hotel or The Jonas Brothers, the kids also have their young friend Jackson (no last name here, either) replace Simins on drums. On Skeletons he’s the one really propelling the storming “Ghost Star” and the tinkly title track to Art Brut power-pop perfection.
Ada somehow knows to namecheck song-friendly cities like Brixton, Kingston, and Dublin in “Two Dead Soldiers.” Meanwhile, Ivan manages to nick some guitar from Cornershop’s classic “Brimful of Asha” on “Pop Chart.” These kids have plenty of rock school left to tackle, but like The Ramones before them, Tiny Masters of Today know great reference material when they hear it.