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Due out Sept. 13, 2019, ‘Retrofuture’ is the bands’ sixth full-length (their second on Luna-tone / Rise Records) – it arrives a full two decades after their first album.
Produced by Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucero), the LP’s concept is elaborated on by frontman Nick 13: “Retrofuturism is generally a visual aesthetic, but it got me thinking, it’s the perfect description for our sound! The gear and instruments are mostly 1950s and 60s, but while the tones may be classic, we’ve always tried to push into uncharted territory musically with each release. So the idea behind this record was to create our version of what someone might imagine future rock ’n’ roll sounding like, but from the perspective of the mid-20th century.”
Brimming with vintage fuzz, tape echo and reverb, the album’s thirteen tracks weave stylistically through vintage punk, garage and rock ’n’ roll, while still maintaining a curious modernity as influences from Latin music to surf shoot through like satellites in the night sky. Present as always are the band’s signature melodicism and 13’s ethereal vocals.
The band will embark on the “Retrofuture Tour” in September, with dates through the end of 2019 taking them across the United States, Canada, Europe, UK and Mexico. Fellow Angelenos, SadGirl will support in the States, with Finnish post-punks, Grave Pleasures supporting in Europe and the UK.
‘Retrofuture’ follows last summer’s ‘Dark Paradise’ EP, the title track being the trio’s take on the Lana Del Rey song. The EP drew on mid-century surf and exotica music, while the visuals reflected a love of Tiki subculture. The single received airplay on KROQ in Los Angeles and various specialty radio stations around the country. The release was supported solely by two sold out shows at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, as the rest of the year was reserved for writing what would become the new LP.
Tiger Army started in 1996 in Berkeley, California – playing their first show at seminal DIY venue 924 Gilman. A trio with electric guitar, stand-up bass and drums led by singer, guitarist and songwriter Nick 13, the band’s sound is a unique blend of punk and mid-century rock 'n' roll, with an emphasis on songwriting and melody. The band has called Los Angeles home for the majority of its existence, since 2000. Their live sets have to be experienced, taking the audience on a journey from high-impact stompers to atmospheric ballads, drawing as much at times on Monument-era Roy Orbison as The Ramones.
Tiger Army’s first four records were released on Hellcat / Epitaph Records, starting with their self-titled debut in 1999. Heavy touring began shortly after and continued through the end of 2008, when the band wrapped up the worldwide cycle for their fourth record, ‘Music From Regions Beyond’, produced by the legendary Jerry Finn. Throughout the years, they shared stages with notable artists like Morrissey and Social Distortion. While the album yielded the single “Forever Fades Away” and saw their highest visibility with favorable reviews in publications like the ‘New York Times’ and national TV appearances such as ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’, they’ve always been outsiders to the mainstream, with authenticity the only priority.
The band’s adherents are closer to members of a movement than fans, with hundreds of tattoos existing related to Tiger Army's lyrics, song titles or signature "Tigerbat" logo. The number of these is more likely in the thousands, and lest one think that’s hyperbole – it isn’t.
In 2009, Tiger Army slowed down as Nick 13 embarked on a solo career playing Americana music, releasing and touring a self-titled album on Sugar Hill Records in 2011. Perhaps unexpected to those who hadn’t paid close attention to the roots music underpinnings of the band’s sound, the frontman played festivals such as Stagecoach and Austin City Limits, while his videos were played on country music video stations like CMT and GAC. Tiger Army played only a few gigs a year during this period, including “Octoberflame”, a multi-night SoCal festival curated by 13 that had its ninth year in 2017.
After spending years searching for the next creative evolution in the band’s sound, 13 found inspiration in early 60s American and British rock ’n’ roll – the transitional and experimental period after the genre’s first wave, but before the new decade became musically codified. The era spoke to 13’s “what’s next” sensibility and in 2015 Tiger Army recorded the album that would become ‘V •••–‘ (Rise / Luna-tone), beginning a tour cycle with its release the following year that lasted twenty-two months; taking them all over North America, Europe and Australia – which included headlining shows, as well as doing select dates with Frank Turner, a co-headlining run with Murder By Death and performing on two episodes of NBC’s ‘Last Call with Carson Daly’. The cycle also saw the band embark on their first-ever South American tour, where audiences reached a fever pitch for songs like the Spanish language “Hechizo de Amor”.