TEEN is Defying All-Girl Band Stereotypes (And Dressing Accordingly)

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If you aren’t already listening to TEEN, this may be the perfect time to get into them. The Brooklyn-based four-piece band is releasing a brand-new single called “All About Us” off their next album, and if you love their “weirdo pop” (their words) and psychedelic vibe (ours), you have their previous two entire albums to dive into. (Consider it the musical version of a Netflix binge.)

TEEN officially formed in 2010, when the three Lieberson sisters combined their talents to create psychedelic melodies and layered vocals reminiscent of ’60s girl groups. The result was two full-length albums: 2012’s In Limbo and 2014’s The Way and Color, for your Spotify-playlist pleasure. One track, “Better,” even made Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Songs of 2012.” Their next album will have a bit more depth and be tinged with electro beats, thanks in part to their newest member and good friend Boshra AlSaadi. In between recording new tracks and playing shows locally, TEEN took a stroll around their Brooklyn neighborhood with us. Here, they explain the “TEEN sound,” what being in a girl group means right now and what they like to wear onstage.

Says Teeny:
One thing that makes our sound unique is that when we record our albums, everyone is playing their instruments at the same time. We get to figure out the puzzle as we go instead of editing it afterward. You end up with a more powerful, energetic product.

Says Katherine:
Instead of trying to fit into one genre, we make music that works for our very diverse musical backgrounds. As women in music, we’ve disproved stereotypes around female musicians [Madewell note: for example, that women aren’t as musically proficient as men or don’t rock out as hard].

Says Boshra:
We write complex structures and textures, and we all sing. There’s a lot of attention given to our sound, whether it’s a synth hook or a bass pedal or our vocal chords—I think it comes across that we’re all interested in doing something fresh.

Says Lizzie:
All of us have really unique music-related memories from our childhoods. I remember sitting in the backseat while my mom drove around, listening to Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. Deciding to be in a band together is the best thing we could have done, not just musically but for our relationships too. We’re closer now than we ever have been.

30 MORE SECONDS WITH TEEN

A quirky habit of mine is…
Washing my feet every night. I play drums barefoot, so it’s kind of a necessity. —Katherine

My favorite New York moment is…
When I accidentally sat next to poet Allen Ginsberg at a reading when I was just 17. He told me about the pitfalls of getting old and shared some mantras. —Boshra

When we’re touring, I always pack…
More leather, more sparkly socks. —Teeny

Onstage, I like to wear…
Some form of a suit. I have a little bit of stage fright, so it helps. —Lizzie
High-waisted black culottes and asymmetrical dresses. I’m less about adornment and more about form. —Boshra

One thing I want to do in life is…
Open an animal sanctuary or live in Italy. I’ll take either. —Lizzie

If I could be anyone’s muse, I’d pick…
Mel Brooks. —Teeny

I’m totally addicted to…
Watching ballet videos on YouTube. And Shalimar perfume. —Katherine

Artists making innovative, exciting music right now are…
Micachu and The Shapes. —Lizzie and Boshra
St. Vincent and Ava Luna. —Teeny
Braids and Robyn. —Katherine

My life mantra could be…
Don’t expect applause. —Teeny

From left to right:
Teeny is wearing our Venice BlazerChimala® Chino Trousers, Fest Aviators and The Elin Loafer.
Katherine is wearing Chimala® Selvedge Baggy Jeans and our Indio Sunglasses.
Boshra is wearing our Ribbed Turtleneck, Caldwell Pull-On Trousers and Madewell & Vans® Slip-Ons.
Lizzie is wearing our Teatro Swing Coat and The Jess Oxford.

TEEN’s newest single “All About Us” is debuting today—stream it right here.

Photography by Jennifer Trahan.