There is something so pure and visceral about the work that Teenage Afterglow puts out. Full of nostalgic personal narratives, their music represents a strong sense of self and understanding about life that is downright enviable.
They released the debut album Into The Flood early last year (January 1, 2019) and it was one of those albums that instantly punches you in the gut. I remember listening to the first track, then the second, and by the third track I texted our mutual friend Tom, “holy fuck [Teenage Afterglow] is a genius.” That’s what it does to you.
Formed in Autumn 2011 while attending grad school to study theology, Teenage Afterglow rounded up musicians to perform songs that allegorically related the Bible to their experiences of heartbreak and finding new love.
The thing I like about Teenage Afterglow is that they don’t make the kind of music that you spend $20 to go see in a crowded stadium with posers and Brooklyn hipsters of yesteryear—it’s the kind of music you pay $20 to get on 180-gram vinyl, light a few candles in your living room, and listen to the album four times on repeat. Teenage Afterglow is an experience, preferably enjoyed alone or with your closest friends.
When they emailed me with news of the first music video, for “Endless Love,” I stopped everything I was doing to watch it. I teared up on the first viewing.
Teenage Afterglow pours everything they have into their lyrics, and the music video expresses that sadness and liberation from soul-searching. Featuring archival footage from Sumedha Gupta and phone footage by Jeremy Winter (along with footage from Bryce Polk, Drew Parke, Claire Meuschke, and Yvette Torell), Teenage Afterglow weaves a story of their second coming with those who were integral to its narrative: their friends.
Too often you see artists put on a mask, shed their former selves, and present an idea of what they want their artistry to express—understandably so—but what is so pure about Teenage Afterglow is that they do the opposite. They shed layers and layers, dropping clothes and memories throughout each track until they are downright naked. It’s a story of transformation, self-reflection, evolution, and understanding. And Teenage Afterglow does this well. They dont have anything to prove, and those closest to them know that.