Teenage Head

All hail Teenage Head, one of Canada’s greatest bands ever

Vinyl reissues of their first two albums Frantic City and Some Kinda Fun have been released by Montreal label Unidisc.

Record Store Day came and went last week and hidden in the mass of morass major label crap were two utterly killer slabs of Canadian power pop prowess by one of Canada’s greatest ever, Teenage Head.

The two reissued releases now getting a new lease on life thanks to Attic Records and Montreal label Unidisc are Frantic City (1980) and the follow up, Some Kinda Fun (1982). 

Admittedly I can be prone for hyperbole but even the almighty Pointed Sticks can’t compete with the infectious  pop-punk exhilaration crammed into the vinyl grooves of Frantic City. Not all the songs are winners here but “Somethin’ on My Mind,” “Total Love,” “Infected,” “Take It” and the ultimate showstopper “Disgusteen” is just bursting at the seams. Although a platinum product upon its release within our Canadian borders, this utterly genius record never got a release stateside.

On the band’s follow-up album, Some Kind of Fun, singer Frankie Venom pops his collar in true Gene Vincent swagger with songs like “Let’s Go to Hawaii,” “Shag Shack” and “Teenage Beer Drinkin’ Party” just focusing on moving the coffee table out of the way, cutting a rug and passing out in the garage.  

Although I am taking a guess at this, both records tend to reveal a bit of a digital sheen on my vintage mid-fi yet revealing stereo. Despite no claims on the hype sticker it would seem that these are indeed remastered as both records tend to favour a low mid thump (which does get bloated in spots) while my original pressings features more upper mid range bite on Gordie Lewis’s Les Paul Jr. If you’re holding onto a chewed up original copy, though, you will definitely want to be ditching that and ponying up to buy this again as the sonic differences are negligible.

If you have more than a passing fancy for first wave punk rock but somehow Teenage Head never crossed your radar, do yourself a favour and catch the amazing doc Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head, now streaming in its entirety on YouTube. Produced by TVO and directed by Douglas Arrowsmith, this 2020 flick goes through all of the trials and tribulations of Teenage Head from their New York Dolls obsessed teen years in the Hammer up until the tragic demise of singer Frankie Venom. Although this is indeed a great peek into one of the Canada’s greatest, it’s the intimate look into Gordie Lewis’s battle with clinical depression that will have you rooting for these underdogs.

Thanks to our fine furry friends at Unidisc, we are giving away a pink, blue and yellow swirl vinyl copy of the recently reissued version of Frantic City. So here’s the contest question, ready? If you can name the Toronto punk venue where the Head cut their teeth in the heady spring/summer daze of 1977, you will be spinnin’ this fine slab o’ power pop for the rest of the summer. Here’s a hint: Owner of Saint-Henri rekkid store BBAM! Gallery and all around baller Ralph Alfonso helped serve up the suds there. ■

All hail Teenage Head, one of Canada’s greatest bands ever

For more about Teenage Head reissues, please visit the Attic Records page on the Unidisc website store. This column was originally published in the August issue of Cult MTL.

See previous editions of Hammer of the Mods here.