Dreamy shoegaze outfit Tennis System have gone through several lineup iterations, influencing their sound from their early punk and hardcore days to their current sound of which Kevin Shields would approve.
The band originally formed in Washington D.C. in 2008 and have since relocated to Los Angeles, where they currently reside. The original lineup consisted of singer/guitarist Matty Taylor, bassist Clinton Cole, guitarist Brad Fullilove, and drummer Misha Bullock. They toured with indie/psych rock legends Ty Segall and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart in their early days, which gained them a growing fan base. Their debut full-length album Teenagers was released in 2011. This was followed by their sophomore release, Technicolour Blind in 2014, and P A I N in 2018. To this date, Tennis System have also released not one but two Part Time Punks sessions.
Their latest effort Lovesick was released in 2019 via Graveface records (a label run by Black Moth Super Rainbow’s former member Ryan Graveface) and produced by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Gouge Away, Oathbreaker). Lovesick is a wash of sound and noise every shoegaze lover fantasizes about. The lyrics are full of longing and nostalgia, uncertainty and self doubt but the sound is full of conviction. The lineup for this recording features Matty Taylor once again on vocals and guitar, Sam Glassberg on bass and Garren Orr on the drums. “We went in and knocked this record out in five days. Five fucking days! We recorded straight to tape, doing each song in one or two takes,” Taylor shared about the making of Lovesick in an interview with Kerrang. If anything, this goes to show that overthinking and overproducing can often be the enemy, and sometimes its best to just lay down the track!
“Turn” is one of the tracks off their latest album, Lovesick. From the looks of it, several stockings were harmed in the making of the video, as it features the protagonist encountering others and his own stocking-covered, eerie faces before he’s forced to run away from it all. The song itself is dreamy and questioning, with lyrics like “Turn me inside out / Turn me upside down / Alone but not lonely.” Watch the video here:
One of my favorite videos from Tennis System’s collection is the dreamy “Coming Down.” The video depicts the sadness and loneliness one experiences in everyday life, but provides glimpses of those moments of beauty. While the song was released in 2018 off the EP P A I N, the imagery along with walls of lush sound are just as relevant to today’s times. Check out the video here:
Dive into Tennis System’s discography starting with Lovesick, available on streaming sites and for vinyl purchase on Bandcamp.