Young at Art

Finally playing for the right audience, Imperial Teen turns it On

The tape landed at Merge, the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, label co-owned by Superchunk singer Mac McCaughan. Merge had proved to be a safe haven for other respected indies, including And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and Spoon. The label snapped up the band and released the spirited new record, and the new professional relationship seems to please everyone involved.

"I think we're probably tapping into the audience that we should have in the first place," says Schwartz. "Merge is totally supportive, and I think they're doing a good job." (Martin Hall, a Merge publicist, is much less reticent, exclaiming that he hasn't been "this excited since I got that new bike for my sixth birthday!")

The new record and new label have placed Imperial Teen in an enviable position, drawing attention from all corners of the media and admiration from fellow musicians. In addition to supporting the Breeders on their current tour, the Teens were invited to open for Pink on her latest national jaunt. The Teens are poised for maximum exposure, which is just fine with them.

"It would be great if a lot of people caught on to it — we want to make music for as many people as we can, but it's not the only thing that drives us," Schwartz explains. "It's a different thing for us; it's a creative thing."

Sure it is. But with the creative freedom offered by an indie label and a loyal fan base hungry for more, world domination can't be far behind.

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