Paper Tiger: Toast to the underground
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The irony of their name may do them little justice, but as they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a musician. Paper Tiger is anything but ineffectual when it comes to creating great music. Their unique blend of downtempo trip hop driven by sequencers and synth mixes and the sweet vocal stylings of their female lead makes them a very psychedelic groove.

Best described as Gorillaz with a female lead and a little less rapping, Paper Tiger’s latest release Me Have Fun (2011) is a fun casual listening record filled with anything but the mainstream. Truly the underground world of hip-hop production is the place of excellent artistic vision and creativity that just isn’t matched by the mainstream media most of us think of when we’re told about the genre.

The languid appearance they’ve got in each track drips with emotion and beats that get you moving. Hailing from Asheville, N.C., and taking the stage as a duo between Molly Kummerle (singer/songwriter) who plays trombone, piano and guitar, and percussionist Dave Mathes who holds a degree in music and has marched for Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps.

“We all approach music in a different way,” Molly stated in a quote on the band’s official bio. “But we all have enough live musicianship to where we’ll take a clean sound and dirty it up, reverse it or give it something unexpected. A little bit of angst.”

It’s a sound that’s definitely out there. “Lost & Found” features a mix of instruments all layered atop one another to create a uniqueness in the sound that’s not disparate in the arrangement. Somehow all the different pieces come together to create something very groovy, and enjoyable, even if you don’t inherently enjoy hip-hop. Precision like that takes discipline.

Their design and style is original, and is truly something that should stay a treasure of the underground, lest it be tampered with in the mainstream media. If you haven’t heard of Paper Tiger, you can stream their latest album and support the artist on their BandCamp.