SXSW Records

Phases and Stages


Listen to the Night (Startime International) It's hard to imagine a band like TeamUSA hailing from NYC, so it's no surprise that the quartet first came together in St. Louis. TeamUSA's brand of unrequited romantic pop is far from cool, unless your idea of cool is one embarrassing, crash-and-burn lesson in love after another. High cheekbones and studied cynicism are nowhere to be found on Listen to the Night, the album simply packs in one wit-laden nugget after another. Instead of heroism and bravery, "Saving Your Life" is about people (you know who you are) who insist on saving shoeboxes full of minutiae from past relationships. "White Lace and Promises" takes on a broken relationship from the uncommon perspective of a mutual friend who can't stand his buddy's cheating. "What Could Be Wrong" is sung with the pained resolve of someone who knows that good times will turn bad when their partner finds out who they really are. On a more upbeat note, the rumba-flavored "Skinny Dippin'" captures the first furtive gropes of sexual exploration. "Show me where to put my hands," pleads guitarist/vocalist John Mathias, "I have loved you for so long." Though their subject matter wins plenty of egghead points, TeamUSA refuses to let a witty turn of phrase get in the way of the Universal Friday Night rock dynamic. It's this quintessentially Midwestern flair for working the room that finally separates them from the equally witty but attitudinally lacking. (Saturday, March 16, Chile Pepper, 10pm)


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