Hailing from Paris and the small Northeast province of Jarney respectively, Teenage Bad Girl’s Guillaume Manbell and Greg Kazubski came together through a mutual adoration for punk rock and the brutal side of electronic sounds. “We’re not real clubbers,” says Manbell via email. “We both played in punk-rock bands with friends, making music when we should have been studying.” Although often grouped with the Ed Banger end of electro-house, the two once-punk producers thrive on a strange balance of gritty club kicks, frequent solos, and surprisingly rhythmic bursts of noise that place them outside the trenches of blog-hypery.
When compared to fellow robot-rock outfits like Soulwax or Digitalism, TBG’s need for speed is especially apparent. While the duo puts to use the same grinding synths and frequent breaks of their European contemporaries, they also employ an underhanded eeriness that snakes through their consistently harsh debut, Cocotte (Citizen). “Ghost House” is full of melodies reminiscent of Cut Copy’s “Hearts On Fire,” but with enough hypnotic minor-key layers to make John Carpenter devotees smile with subversive glee. “Aviateur” is a nearly beat-less trip-out, with effected vocals and delayed drums à la Throbbing Gristle. “We try to destabilize the listener as much as possible,” Kazubski chimes in. “We’d rather tell a story–even though we’re making techno, exposing emotions is the most important.”
It’s obvious that there’s more to the TBG brand than just sonics. Incorporating the profoundly suggestive artwork of Dutch artist Parra for their album cover–and unleashing an absurd Godard-esque video for the single “Cocotte,” in which a woman gives birth to a giant egg–Teenage Bad Girl offers a taste of Paris that strays into far weirder territory than the follow-the-leader line of electronic acts. “When we were filming ‘Cocotte,’ we rented chickens from a pet store and carried them around with a giant egg,” Manbell recalls. “Everybody thought we wanted to spread the bird flu. Now that is a very nice memory.”