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Feature: Tigers Jaw - Indie/Rock's Best Kept Secret?

When people mention Scranton, Pennsylvania, they may well think of Dunder Mifflin, the fictitious company from NBC hit show, The Office, which is set there. This is sure to change in the near future however, as with sold out shows, legions of fans worldwide and limited vinyl pressings already exchanging hands for hundreds of dollars on eBay, Tigers Jaw have already accomplished much in a very short space of time.

'Two Worlds'

They are indie-rock’s best kept secret, writing infectious songs packed with catchy guitar riffs, irresistible vocal melodies from guitarists Ben Walsh and Adam McIlwee and mesmerizing keys from Brianna Collins.

2011 saw them leave North America for the first time to play the United Kingdom and though the first couple of dates were cancelled due to bad weather, the band was greeted in London on the first night to a strong 300 capacity crowd, impressive enough even before you consider that this was on January 1st, surely one of the worst days in the calendar to be booked on! For a band who had never stepped foot in the country before, without a UK label or much press coverage, this is no small achievement.

'I Saw Water'

Remarkably, with the band members still in school, Tigers Jaw don’t play many more than 25 shows a year (to quote their booking agent), which only drives demand and makes each appearance even more special.

Primarily associated with the Run For Cover Records crowd (best known for spawning pop-punk bands such as Title Fight and Man Overboard), when they do play, it’s usually on punk or pop-punk bills; all the more surprising because Tigers Jaw are neither and the majority of the band don’t necessarily listen to those genres. Front man McIlwee, for example, confesses himself a lover of Morrissey and The Smiths, and when speaking about pop-punk says he listens to Title Fight but ends the conversation there; keyboard player Brianna’s current playlist meanwhile consists of bands such as Best Coast, Northstar and Brand New.

'The Sun'

Pidgeonholed though they may currently be, with the band relatively unknown to the majority of the world, they still have time to break out of the scene they have been boxed into.

Publicity wise, the band have been covered countless times on Alter The Press, Punk News, Absolute Punk, even Alternative Press, and with similarities to early Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk and The Weakerthans, what is there not like? When Titus Andronicus can currently be found opening for Bright Eyes, there is a definite window of opportunity for a band like Tigers Jaw to take a similar path. With SPIN now tipping them as one of this year’s ‘bands to watch’ at the ever diverse Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey alongside upcoming buzz acts such as An Horse, Hank and Cupcakes and River City Extension, the band are definitely on the road to success.

'Spirit Desire'

Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!