Tigers Jaw - Slowdown - Main Room729 North 14th Street Omaha,NE
10/11/2018 8:30 PM - 10/11/2018 10:30 PM
Making yourself vulnerable isn’t easy but it often makes for lasting art and that is certainly true of Tigers Jaw’s fifth full-length, spin. The album marks a new chapter for the Scranton, Pennsylvania-based indie rock band for many reasons: Not only is it the first collection of songs that was completely written and recorded solely by Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins, but it was also the first time they had a full month in the studio without having to worry about outside responsibilities. Furthermore it’s the inaugural release on Atlantic Records’ new imprint Black Cement, a label spearheaded by the band’s longtime collaborator Will Yip who returned to the production helm for spin.
All of these factors converged to create an album that sounds more fully formed than anything Tigers Jaw have done in the past and simultaneously establishes them as a band whose appeal truly transcends genres. While Walsh initially encouraged Collins to start singing lead vocals and songwriting with 2014’s Charmer, the duo’s collective output on spin is a collaboration in the truest sense of a creative partnership. “In a lot of ways this record is a return to the way the band started in the sense that it was coming from two people working very closely together and I think that resulted in something that was really cohesive,” Walsh explains. “The whole experience felt really organic even if the recording process was different than anything we had done in the past together.”
While Tigers Jaw’s previous four albums were recorded on tight deadlines and even tighter budgets, for spin the band would record six days a week for 10 hours a day over the course of an entire month — and while the band didn’t think they’d ever need that much time, ultimately they ended up utilizing every minute. “Having all of that extra time allowed us to track everything song by song to give each individual track its own unique focus,” Walsh explains. “It allowed for the freedom to play around with different ideas rather than keeping things tied to the way we wrote the demos; the performances, tones and structures were really tailored to each individual track which gave us so much room to play around and experiment together.”
Growing up is weird. As it turns out, growing older can be even weirder. For musicians birthed in the fervently youth-centric world of punk rock, growing old gracefully is a largely foreign concept. Eventually most pop-punkers age out of their angry disaffection or creatively flame out whenever screamy break-up anthems start to seem tired, whenever you start to too closely resemble the very same people your younger, angrier self was rebelling against in the first place. In the case of The Sidekicks, the transition from high school hellions to erudite pop band has been a journey some twelve years and five full-lengths in the making. When considering the band’s continuing evolution, as evidenced by their new album, Happiness Hours, frontman Steve Ciolek is both happy and a little perplexed. “Every time we make a record I think about how strange and amazing it is that we’re still making records,” he laughs, “But at some point you have to stop worrying about what kind of record you’re supposed to be making and just make the kind of music that you yourself want to hear. I think it’s healthy to ask yourself, ‘What if this was the last thing we ever did? Would I be happy? If the band was forced to end tomorrow, is this the note we’d want to go out on?’ In the case of Happiness Hours, I think we all definitely would be.”