The Wonder Years                                                              THEWONDERYEARSBAND.COM

The Wonder Years THEWONDERYEARSBAND.COM

The Wonder Years are a band & they are a band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & they came to life in 2005 & they write songs & those songs are sometimes about people they love & those songs are sometimes about people you might have loved & those songs are sometimes about a city that could be the city you live in or a neighborhood that feels like it could be your neighborhood & they put those songs on albums & they put those songs on The Upsides in 2010 & they put those songs on Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing in 2011 & on The Greatest Generation in 2013 & on No Closer to Heaven in 2015 & those albums were loved by critics & even more loved by fans & their shows are awash with a genuine emotional energy that only they can pull out of a room & The Wonder Years are a band made up of old friends & they play rock & roll music & they play it like they mean it & they have played it in a lot of places & in front of a lot of people & they have played it in dive bars & arenas & outside with the whole sky bowing & they have played it on five continents & they have played it in thirty countries & they are still counting & Sister Cities is their new album & it is an album about how all of our distance might not be so wide after all & it was written with the world on fire & all of the songs sound like they are trying to build you a bridge from somewhere bad to somewhere better & The Wonder Years are a band & they are also bridge builders.

Tigers Jaw

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.”

From the sweetly syncopated, fuzzed-out bliss of the opener “Follows” to the midtempo melodicism of “June” and liltingly lovely ballad “Bullet,” spin sees Tigers Jaw stretching out sonically and correspondingly Yip was the perfect person to encourage the duo to approach things in a different way than they would have initially conceived. “Will is great at understanding what you want to get out of a song and pushing you to achieve that,” Collins explains when asked about Yip’s role “He had ideas especially about song structures that I might not have thought of and we had enough time in the studio to fully explore a lot of those ideas and see how they turned out. He didn’t try to change the way we wanted the songs to sound but he allowed us to step outside of our comfort zone.”

Tigers Jaw have always been known for their incredibly relatable lyrics and for this album Walsh tried something new: He experimented with stream-of-consciousness writing as a way to get his ideas out of his subconscious in an unfiltered fashion. “The lyrics I wrote for spin are very personal in the sense that there’s a lot of material relating to mental wellness, coming to terms with getting older and pursuing something creative like this band even though that might not be the conventional path for someone my age,” he explains. The album also sees Collins taking a shine to writing duties whether she’s writing a love song like “Same Stone” or getting introspective on the dreamy sounding “Brass Ring.”

Ultimately though, there isn’t much distinction between Walsh and Collins on spin in the sense that the two of them come together to form a collective whole — and not only do their styles perfectly complement each other, but at times their vocals are so in sync that it’s difficult to tell where one person’s voice ends and the other’s begins. “The two of us worked together so closely on this record especially when it came to layering our harmonies and I think along with open guitar chords and Casiotone organs, that’s what really makes this album sound like us,” Collins summarizes. “We needed to do what felt like Tigers Jaw — and I think we were able to do that in a really exciting way this time around.”

Current members :
Brianna Collins – keyboards, vocals (2006-present)
Ben Walsh – guitars, vocals (2007-present) drums (2005-2007)

Former members :
Mike May – drums (2007)
Adam McIlwee – guitars, vocals (2005-2013)
Dennis Mishko – bass (2007-2013)
Pat Brier – drums (2007-2013)

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