On “No Way Sit Back,” the opening track from And the Kids‘ brand-new release When This Life is Over, vocalist Hannah Mohan sings: “Everything I learned came from the television.”
But what exactly did Mohan learn from TV?
“It’s just like hypnosis, which you don’t realize,” Mohan responds over the phone.
“We were being programmed all the time,” she continues. “That’s all we see. If you don’t see gay people on TV, you’re learning there are none. It’s sort of planted there for a reason.”
Throughout their new album, And the Kids play raw and tuneful indie pop that is thoughtfully written though not exactly intricately arranged, with a kind of beguiling mix of high emotion and off-the-cuff energy — like a band you’ve discovered on YouTube or a group of musicians busking on a street corner that, despite some limitations, captures your attention.
Mohan has been playing music with bandmate, friend and drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro since middle school. In 2016, keyboardist and percussionist Megan Miller was deported back to her native Canada for a visa violation.
It didn’t stop the band.
“We do all of our writing and recording up there in Canada,” Mohan explains, though right now Miller is unable to get back into the country, limiting And the Kids to a three-piece on this current U.S. tour.
Many And the Kids songs start by Mohan working alone, she says. She then brings melodies or lyrical ideas to the band, a process she compares to putting puzzle pieces together.
Sometimes, And the Kids songs come out of a jam session. “When songs come out of improv, it’s so fulfilling,” Mohan says.
When she was younger, Mohan sang along to Shania Twain, but when she heard Modest Mouse, Rilo Kiley and The Shins, “everything came to together,” she says.
She loved the lyrics of Modest Mouse and the voice of Rilo Kiley lead singer and acclaimed solo artist Jenny Lewis. Mohan has always loved to sing and perform.
“I think people would say I’m very outgoing. I think I’m shy,” she says.
These days, TV has been largely usurped by the internet as the chosen custodian of latchkey kids. With sites like YouTube, “You can just go down a hole,” Mohan says. “Nobody’s there to guide you.”
This is a good thing because all sorts of people are represented — “the strangest people,” Mohan adds.
Near the end of “No Way Back,” Mohan sings over and over again, “This world was never made for us,” taking the words from a lament to a manifesto — as if Mohan and her band stand up for the kind of representation missed out on by all those kids raised by TV.
And the Kids
Saturday, March 16 • 8 pm
Wildcraft Cider Works