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Earlier this week, Big Footprints Records and Property of Zack released their second compilation, aptly called The Big Comp II. Going up from last year’s 75 artists to 85, the new comp has a mix of new, acoustic and live music from truly great punk bands. All donations collected will go to 1BlueString, a charity supporting men who have survived childhood sexual abuse, and the Nature Conservancy. While we can’t highlight all 85 artists, here are five of our favorites: Menzingers, Modern Baseball, Tigers Jaw, The Weaks, and PUP.
Legendary Scranton punks, the Menzingers released their fourth full lenghth, Rented World to well-deserved praise in spring this year. Follow the band through a typical concert day through The Key’s Load-In to Load-Out. Listen to “Mexican Guitars” from their Key Studio Session below.
Local favorites Modern Baseball released their second, amazing album You’re Gonna Miss it All this year. The album portrays being a 20 something in perfect, witty detail. Continue reading →
Fans came in droves last Monday to check out pop punk icons Tigers Jaw as they played the Union Transfer. Tigers Jaw is on tour in support of their latest album Charmer which was released on Run for Cover Records last week. In March of 2013 the band announced that three out of five members of Tigers Jaw had parted ways with the band. Many speculated that this would mark the end of Tigers Jaw. However, the two remaining members of the band, Brianna Collins and Ben Welsh, decided to continue the band. The band’s live performance featured many songs from their previous releases as well as Charmer. The crowd went crazy for old staples like “Never Saw it Coming,” “Chemicals,” and “I Saw Water,” which still prove to be fan favorites. Openers included scene favorites Pity Sex who won over the crowd with their fuzzy pop punk sound, Run for Cover Records new comer Petal who charmed the crowd with her indie pop sound, and Detroit punk rockers Loose Planes. Check out the photo recap below.
Ben Walsh likens it to being in a relationship with someone nearly eight years when they to suddenly tell you, “I can’t do this anymore.”
“Obviously it took us by surprise when they told us that they weren’t going to continue on with the band,” he says of when three of the five members of his Scranton-bred, indie-leaning pop punk band Tigers Jaw decided to leave. “We kind of weren’t sure what was going to happen.”
Walsh and band mate Brianna Collins broke the news that vocalist/guitarist Adam McIlwee, bassist Dennis Mishko and drummer Pat Brier to fans via their Tumblr page in March 2013. Many followers interpreted the message as a definite end of the band. But now it’s more than a year later, and Tigers Jaw’s just released its third LP Charmer – an album that debuted at number 49 on the Billboard charts, and one the departed members still helped Walsh and Collins record when they decided to carry on as the band’s sole permanent line-up.
“We talked about the record and got them back on board because it was something that we all worked so hard on and were really proud of the songs,” Walsh says, adding that more than half of the songs for the album had been written when McIlwee, Mishko and Brier announced they were leaving. “We all wanted to see it come into fruition.”
What came to fruition on Charmer is what Walsh calls the band’s most cohesive record, and what Collins says is “exactly how I was picturing our band would sound recorded at the time.” If the album art for their break-out 2010 self-titled release – an unidentifiable 20-something preparing to eat a slice of stringy cheese pizza – was a sign of Tiger Jaw’s then youthful energy, Charmer’s artwork – an ornate doily handmade by Collins – is an apt sign of the band’s maturity.
“There’s a mix of slower, more delicate parts and there’s plenty of faster, more hard-hitting parts as well,” Walsh says of the album. “We were able to cover a lot of ground on the record, and still managed to make it sound pretty cohesive. We were able to experiment a little bit more with dynamics and layering not only vocals, but layering acoustic guitars and things like that that we haven’t really done a lot of in the past. Another big difference was getting Brianna more involved with writing and singing.”
“Working with Will had a huge impact,” adds Collins of Studio 4′s Will Yip, who produced the record. “Layering vocals and all of his little input and ideas that were really on the same page with, at least in my opinion, what we were trying to do.”
Walsh and Collins have been through a lot in the past few years that has forced them to grow up, not only stemming from their experiences with Tigers Jaw. Both came to the end of college and were faced with many new responsibilities, along with new freedoms. It’s this transition that Walsh is responsible for Charmer’s darker vibe, both lyrically and in the way it sounds.
“There’s still a lot of energy put into it,” he says. “Maybe [it’s] not as raucous as some of the earlier stuff, but just as much enthusiasm was put into these songs as any other songs that we’ve written, if not more.”
Though he’s sometimes heavily influenced by what he’s going through personally, writing for Charmer was the first time that Walsh really turned to another medium for inspiration. More specifically, it was interplay between characters on the show Twin Peaks, which is even cited by name in the song “Nervous Kids.” Both Walsh and Collins really enjoy the show.
“It’s so interesting. It’s so in depth and the themes are so dark,” Walsh says. “I got pulled in by just the small town interactions that everybody has, where there is so much going on underneath the surface. I think that’s the really cool thing, you go to a place that may be completely different than what you expected based on its outside appearance. I think there are a lot of themes on this record of duality, and things that can maybe be taken more than one way. That’s definitely something that we pulled from a lot of the stuff that happens in Twin Peaks.”
While they’re not writing music or binge-watching TV, both Walsh and Collins have also almost completed all requirements for becoming teachers in their designated fields – Collins for art whilst living in Kingston and Walsh for speech therapy while working at a school in Central Pennsylvania.
“Nobody at my job knows what I do,” Walsh says. “None of my kids, none of my coworkers or anything, know that I play in a band or anything like that. It’s kind of a strange separation. It’s almost like working two full-time jobs [because] we don’t work with a manager, so we both have a lot of extra responsibilities apart from our jobs and also from writing and practicing music. So it’s a lot, it’s a big commitment, but it’s been totally worth it.”
“It was weird today, I had to tell my bosses that because they were like, ‘What are your plans for the summer?’ being like, ‘Yeah, I’m traveling and having a life. I am actually in a band,’” adds Collins. “‘My hair will be blue tomorrow, so be warned.’”
Tigers Jaw will start their summer tour on Monday when they headline Union Transfer. Playing in Philly feels much like playing to a hometown audience, Collins says, with Walsh adding that it’s one of the next best things now that Scranton is almost devoid of places to perform.
“It’s definitely different working with different musicians when we’ve played with the same people for so long,” Walsh says. “It’s sort of refreshing. I kind of miss the styles of the guys who aren’t in the band anymore, but at the same time it’s cool having some new experiences and drawing influence from the new people we’re playing with.”
Walsh says that he’s still very much on good terms with the band’s former members. McIlwee is still making music under his solo moniker, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, while Brier and Mishko remain in Philly’s own Three Man Cannon.
“They’ve always been one of my favorite bands and they don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve,” he says of Three Man Cannon, who released a new album just one week before Charmer was scheduled to drop.
“Hopefully more people start to pay attention. I’ve definitely been seeing them get some more press, seeing song premieres on different websites and stuff, which is not something their band has really gone after too much in the past. But it’s really nice to see them getting some credit for the great art that they create.”
When news broke that Three Man Cannon was set to release its new LP, Pretty Many People, on May 27 via Lame-O Records, most headlines made sure to include that the band featured “ex-members of Tigers Jaw.” Drummer Pat Brier deems that widespread association, well, kind of silly.
“Dennis and I, we were in Three Man Cannon for about two years before we joined Tigers Jaw,” he says. “We weren’t actually in the band, we were just filling in. … For me, and I think Dennis and I have talked about it, it’s so silly because none of us really thought about it like that with either band. It’s something that is very much, unfortunately, fabricated. Not fabricated, but just totally taken out of perspective.” Continue reading →
The rumors of Tigers Jaw’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Despite contradicting stories about the fate of the band following the departure of three members in early 2013, the band – now composed of Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins – recently released a snappy new album, Charmer.
In support of Charmer, the Scranton band played two intimate in-store performances over the weekend; Friday night at Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre, and Saturday afternoon at FYE in Center City. While over 250 people were reported to have come to the Wilkes-Barre event, the FYE set proved to be a bit more of a low-key affair, with closer to 100 people in attendance.
As the crunchy riffs of new favorites like “Hum” naturally translated their way to acoustic versions of themselves, most people chose to sit on the floor and make themselves comfortable as Tigers Jaw worked their way through a Charmer-centric set lasting a little less than an hour. After the performance, fans who had bought the album that day at FYE were ushered upstairs to meet the band and get their merch signed.
Check out a gallery of photos from the instore below, and catch the band this Saturday when they headline Union Transfer; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
A Tigers Jaw fan is a special kind of person. There’s hardly an in between – you’re either a hardcore devotee, or you’re not a fan at all. So word got around last spring that the Scranton-based might be breaking up, it was devastating to some. The iconic punk image of the slice of pizza on their self-titled record flooded the Internet and Tumblr accounts everywhere, but luckily, the “break up” was a bit of an exaggeration.
Three of the band’s founding members were leaving – the band’s announcement of this, which noted that its U.S. tour would be the “last for the forseeable future” was misconstrued – but the core songwriting duo of Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins remained persevered, and is gearing up to release its fourth LP, Charmers.
Their newest share, “Slow Come On,” is a moody, head-bopping tune heavy on the drums and punctuated by Walsh’s echoey voice. It’s certainly different from the Tigers Jaw we’re used to, but unmistakably Tigers Jaw all the same.
Next month, they’ll play Union Transfer on June 16th; tickets and information on the show can be found here. Charmers is out June 3rd on Run For Cover Records. Preorder the album here and listen to “Slow Come On” below.
After losing three members last year, Scranton’s Tigers Jaw is roaring with a new single called “Nervous Kids”. The grungy angst of the new track, which is set to appear on their upcoming disc Charmer, finds the duo painting an honest self-portrait on a simple, melodic canvas. Pick up Charmer when it arrives June 3rd and stay tuned for details on the band’s US tour.
Run For Cover Records recently announced the signing of Scranton locals, Petal. Founded by Kiley Lotz in 2012, the band has a rotating lineup that consists of members from Tigers Jaw, Captain We’re Sinking, Three Man Cannon, Halfling, and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. Scout is the debut five song EP from Petal, consisting of songs that fall in right in place with the Scranton scene and the band’s new label. Featuring Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh of Tigers Jaw, the EP is somewhat laid back with an undertone of anger and frustration. This is a punk-influenced indie rock band that is worth keeping an eye on. Stream Scout below. Petal performs at The Menzingers and Tigers Jaw sold out holiday show this December 21st in Scranton, PA.
The Menzingers and Tigers Jaw recently announced that they will headline a holiday show in their hometown of Scranton on December 21st. Playing at the St Stanislaus Youth Center alongside other local acts like Captain We’re Sinking, Three Man Cannon, Halfling, and more, this is as much a holiday celebration as it is a celebration of how much good music has come out of the Philly burbs and eastern Pennsylvania in the past few years. Especially in the way of emo and indie punk, The Menzingers and Tigers Jaw are often cited as artists that are “bringing emo back.” Not that it ever really went away, but it is good to see these bands getting recognition and holding gatherings of this sort. There will be a total of nine bands playing on the lineup, and it is a mere $15, so it is sure to sell out by the day of the show. Plan ahead and get your tickets here.
Tigers Jaw has gone through some band drama recently. What was previously reported as a breakup was more recently discovered as the departure of three members of the Pennsylvania punk outfit, but that has not stopped the core duo from performing and releasing new songs in the past few months.
Their newest single, “Hum,” is the first off of their fourth full length album which will be released in early 2014. Recorded with the staying and leaving members of Tigers Jaw at Studio 4, this song is every bit as lazy and groovy as the band ever was. Brianna Collin’s voice sounds wonderful, and it will not be a bad thing if she takes over more of the singing on the next record. With classic Tigers Jaw harmonies, the chorus bulks up as she and Ben Walsh sing “I’m always talkng in circles / I always think until i cant sleep / you are the leaves at my feet / you are the hum of electric heat / I kept myself away / but I’m starting to like the pain.”
The departing members of the bands will be missed, but this single shows that they can progress even through line up changes.