25 May 2008

I'm glad you're not my ex-boyfriend (part one) : Tally Hall and The Republic Tigers at the Iron Horse, NoHo, 10/4/08 (Plus new records, etc.)

The Republic Tigers, Iron Horse, NoHo, MA

I've just finished my last semester of college and moved back home, so you know what that means - I have a degree and I'm unemployed! Which, obviously, means time for updating and posting about all the stuff I meant to post about three months ago. Aren't you all excited?! Of course you are. Don't give me that.

Continuing : I sort of squeed on for a bit about how happy I was that Tally Hall was on tour again and how they'd rereleased their record and how they were coming to NoHo and that was awesome, etc.

I got a heads-up a few days before the show to check out openers The Republic Tigers, who have been getting loads of good press as of late, thanks to their showings at SXSW and their debut LP, Keep Color, released 6th May on Chop Shop. (Not to mention a recent showing on Letterman.) I usually show up for opening bands anyway, so I made it a point to see them.

The Republic Tigers find themselves sitting somewhere between the organic and synthetic, creating a something that is cinematic in scope and yet homespun and earthbound. It's not necessarily a sound towards which I, Queen of Hooks-and-Harmonies, would gravitate, but they've layered all this on top an audible pop foundation. ("We’re not ashamed to say we love pop music; it’s not something to be embarrassed of.")

The band has already garnered a myriad of comparisons to The Shins ("Weatherbeaten," "Made Concrete," "Fight Song") and Mew, and I some hear Interpol ("Golden Sand", "The Nerve"), but there's a lot more to it than just their sum of "they-sound-like-so-and-so." Keep Color is the sort of record you can let wash over you, but also hone in on and find its details and introspective wisdom. ("We've been searching all our lives for something we've always had but have no eyes to see..." ; "Don't believe the scientists that tell you what to think...") The record starts with the melodic "Buildings & Mountains" and unfolds into the space around you, revealing haunting vocals, carefully constructed syncopation, and beautiful production, all while keeping you on your toes with unexpected chord changes and songs that open with "It's time for the party to make some sound" and then demand "How much responsibility do you bear for the uses others might make of your ideas?", songs that command "Evacuate now!"

Back to April: The Tigers played a low-key show at the Iron Horse. It was a late show, there was a small crowd, and the sound wasn't exactly spot-on for their set. But they kept up their charm, on-stage and off. (They're all terribly nice guys.) More importantly, they have manged to translate their cinematic sound with a five-piece band. Says Adam McGill, "If there are 12 keyboard tracks in a song, you can’t really play that many parts in a live setting...So we’ll pull the essential tracks and play our live instrumentation along with them."

A few weeks after I saw them, Keep Color and the video for "Buildings & Mountains" were both released:

It's a gorgeous visual work, and the ending image of the band, adrift in a desert, is wholly appropriate. We are, after all, doing battle with modern life: adrift in these cities that arise, this age of industry, the very same modernity that makes the band's partially synthetic sound possible. We should remember to stop and breathe the air while we can.

The Republic Tigers - "Buildings & Mountains" [link]
The Republic Tigers - "Fight Song"

Oh, and to top it all off, the lucky ducks are touring with Nada Surf this summer. Catch them if/when you can.

Upcoming shows:
25 May - The Spazzatorium Galleria - Greenville, NC
27 May - The Soap Box - Wilmington, NC
28 May - Village Tavern - Mt. Pleasant, SC
29 May - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC
30 May - Center Stage Theatre - Athens, GA*
31 May - Jack Rabbits - Jacksonville, FL*
1 June - The Social - Orlando, FL*
2 June - Studio A - Miami, FL*
3 June - State Theatre - St. Petersburg, FL*
5 June - Mercy Lounge - Nashville, TN *
6 June - TBA - Memphis, TN *
7 June - St. Louis, MO - Bluebird *
8 June - Ribfest Chicago - Chicago, IL*
9 June - The Music Mill- Indianapolis, IN *
10 June - The Basement - Columbus, OH *
11 June - Beachland Ballroom & Tavern - Cleveland, OH *
* w/ Nada Surf
29th May w/ The Helio Sequence

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