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Buzz Bands

January 17, 2008|Kevin Bronson

For a guy who harpoons shallow American girls in one single ("Homecoming") and engages in fizzy celebrity worship in another ("Starlett Johansson"), Quentin Delafon sounds fairly terrified as his band, sassy Parisian three-piece the Teenagers, prepares for its first U.S. tour. "I think I'm starting to freak out," the singer says from London. "What if somebody shoots us onstage? . . . We didn't realize it was so litigious to say 'America' and . . . in the same sentence." You're not sure, long-distance, whether Delafon is truly fearful or merely playing his band's satirical edge to the hilt, but suffice to say U.S. crowds are likely to be too busy dancing to engage in any Franco-American hostilities. The Teenagers' debut, "Reality Check" (released digitally this week), mixes fuzzy soundscapes, spritely synths and potty-mouthed lyrics -- "Johansson," in particular, is a cowlick of a tune that leaves little lost in translation. "It's our restraining-order song," Delafon says. "It's about unconditional love for someone you've never met . . . kind of pathetic, actually." Not really teenagers -- Delafon and mates Dorian Dumont and Michael Szpiner (pictured) are in their mid-20s -- the band combine disparate influences (electro, American rock and hard-core, respectively) to arrive at its sound. Their view of America, however skewed by pop culture, remains unified, though. Now, if only Johansson has Tuesday (when they play the Echo) or Wednesday (Spaceland) free. "She's not in town," Delafon says. "We've checked her schedule." ALSO CHECK: Alt-metal quartet Hurt headlines Safari Sam's tonight. . . . Midwestern MCs the Cool Kids bring their nerd rap to the Echoplex on Saturday. . . . And Abby Travis plays the Hotel Cafe on Tuesday, the day she debuts a new single, "Lies," featuring the Bangles, with proceeds benefiting the New Orleans Musician's Relief Fund. More at www.latimes.com/buzzbands.

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-- Kevin.Bronson@latimes.com

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