New Orleans-based indie pop outfit Generationals craft hook-filled tunes that draw liberally from rock and pop's '50s, '60s, and '70s heyday, while maintaining a modern sensibility. Emerging in the late 2000s, the band built upon their earlier notoriety as members of the Eames Era, issuing albums like 2011's Actor-Caster and 2014's Alix. Formed in 2007 by guitarists/songwriters Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, Generationals initially came together after the breakup of the duo's previous band, Eames Era. Like their early labelmates Dr. Dog, Spinto Band, and Capitol Years, Generationals embraced a lo-fi recording aesthetic, buffered by their advanced musical chops, resulting in a clever new take on sugar pop psychedelia. The band's Park the Van debut, Con Law, arrived on July 21, 2009. They returned in 2011 with the equally sugary-sweet sophomore effort Actor-Caster. Two years later, the group moved to Polyvinyl, which delivered their third studio LP, Heza, followed in 2014 by the '80s synth pop-influenced Alix. Both of those albums hit the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Generationals celebrated their new label's 20th anniversary in 2016 by covering "In Green" by Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! for the Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl collection. In 2018, they issued the compilation set State Dogs: Singles 2017-2018, which showcased songs recorded and released individually over the course of a year. The duo returned in 2019 with their sixth studio album, Reader as Detective, featuring the single "I Turned My Back on the Written Word."
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 7, 2018 | Polyvinyl Records
Though technically a compilation album, 2018's State Dogs: Singles 2017-2018 is essentially the fifth full-length album from New Orleans' Generationals. Following 2014's full-length Alix, the duo of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer found they had become frustrated with the slow recording and release process normally associated with making a studio album. Subsequently, rather than issue a complete recording, they decided instead to issue a bevy of standalone tracks over a two-year period. Showcasing those nine songs, as well as an added tenth, State Dogs brings all of those separate tracks together in one place. These are buoyant, somewhat idiosyncratic productions that touch upon the duo's long standing touchstones including off-kilter '80s new wave, '60s psychedelia, and their own brand of lo-fi melodicism. The opening "Keep It Low" brings to mind the twangy, '80s guitar pop of Dwight Twilley, while "Catahoula Man" sounds like a lost Teardrop Explodes song. Similarly, "Mythical," with its driving bassline and moody synth, evokes the college rock atmosphere of band's like the Psychedelic Furs and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Elsewhere, tracks like "It May Get Bad When You're Lonely and Cold," and "Silent Ocean," mix bright piano riffs, xylophone, and buzzy guitars, bringing to mind the work of similarly inclined contemporaries like Vampire Weekend and MGMT. Though recorded at different times, the songs on State Dogs hold together quite well, and make for a rather unified collection that fits nicely alongside the band's other studio albums. © Matt Collar /TiVo
Alternative & Indie - Released September 12, 2014 | Polyvinyl Records
Generationals' fourth studio album, 2014's Alix, features more of the '80s-influenced electronic pop and indie rock the New Orleans duo has perfected since 2009's Con Law. Once again showcasing the combined talents of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, Alix is a catchy, brightly colored affair with songs built largely around the duo's yearning, nasally vocals, buoyant synth lines, and dance-oriented, if not exactly club-ready, beats. In some ways, the album picks up on the languid, late-summer vibe of 2013's Heza, taking it even further with dreamy, melancholy cuts like "Now Look at Me," and the fuzzy, bubbly "Black Lemon." Also similar to the group's past albums, Alix sounds a lot like a lost synth pop album from the early '80s, full of melodic, lightly arty cuts that bring to mind such vintage influences as Tom Tom Club, Nu Shooz, and Thomas Dolby. That said, Alix is anything but a retro album and cuts like the '50s-infused "Gold Silver Diamond," and the clipped, new wave-inflected "Charlemagne" also fit nicely alongside such similarly leaning contemporary acts as MGMT, Phoenix, Fun. and Passion Pit. Ultimately, with Alix, Generationals deliver quirky, catchy pop songs that stick in your head like DayGlo bubblegum on a hot summer parking lot. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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