For the fourth time in two weeks, I find myself writing about an act with musical family ties. This wasn't planned. It's just a strange coincidence. In the days following the death of Michael Jackson, with everyone going gaga about everything Jackson-related, I wrote about Kristinia DeBarge, who actually has some loose ties to the Jacksons--her father James was once married to Janet Jackson. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, a trio of siblings bringing rockabilly and swing back, followed. Today, I bring you Tiny Masters Of Today, another group consisting of teenage siblings, who also delve into sounds from the past, albeit a bit more current that Kitty, Daisy & Lewis' '50s-inspired fare.
Tiny Masters Of Today play punk rock. As legend has it, the duo started writing songs after Ivan (the duo doesn't use their last name) was bashing around on guitar with some friends while his younger sister, Ada, started ranting about her dislike of then-President George W. Bush. That Bo Diddley-style rave-up titled "Bushy" later turned up the pair's 2007 EP, Big Noise, back when Ivan was only 13 and Ada was 11. Around that time, hipsters--like Blues Explosion and future Men Without Pants member Russell Simins, who volunteered to play drums for the duo--embraced the band. The B-52's Fred Schneider, the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson, the Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' members Karen O and Nicolas Zinner also made guest appearances on the Tiny Master's 2007 full-length debut Bang Bang Boom Cake. To top it off, no less a rock god than David Bowie himself was quoted calling the duo "genius" in the London Times. For a look back at the Tiny Masters Of Today's early years, check out the video for "Bushy" below.
A lot can happen in two years, especially when you're a kid. The Tiny Masters are now both teenagers and on Skeletons, their recently released second full-length, they show their maturity. "I was 11/12 when we made that first record and my influences were a lot different back then," Ivan has noted. "I still love the Velvets and the Stooges, but I'm also listening to new hip-hop artists like Lupe Fiasco and bands like Animal Collective."
Rather than turning to oldsters like Simins to produce and alt-rock all-stars to guest, the Tiny Masters did it themselves this time with 18-year-old Jackson Pollis manning the drum kit. The bulk of the album was recorded by the band using GarageBand in their Brooklyn, New York home, although they did call on Patrick McCarthy to engineer and Matt Stein to mix the release. With topical punky titles like "Drop The Bomb!," "Two Dead Soldiers," and "Abercrombie Zombie," and an extended musical reach that includes hip-hop, electronic, and disco influences, Skeletons is well worth checking out. We're giving you a free taste of the album below with the track "Pop Chart," which tunefully mocks the very thing it takes its title from. If you like the song, feel free to right click and select "save as" to add it to your own digital library. Also, check the video clips for that song and the album's title track below.