Monday, August 2, 2010

"Diversity In Tiger Style" (music review by Lee Boyle)

Diversity In Tiger Style

The Youngstown, Ohio-based band, Tigerstyle, comes at the listener from collective angles. So many styles are packed into one collection of songs that there is no other way to listen to the band but from start to finish.
Their new release, Face EP, also known as TigerBath EP, is a blank-labeled compact disc which the band has been giving away for no charge, a signification that the music is what matters most. Over time, the formats of one’s favorite albums may change, but their favorite songs live on forever, regardless of any visual style of the musician. Face EP gives the local listener a clean slate. It is a disc to put in their car stereo, to give their full attention to. There are no strings attached. The listener knows the band is called Tigerstyle and nothing of what’s to come to their ears.
When beginning the EP, one might think of the atmospheric beginnings of some tracks of famed artists such as Bright Eyes or The Mars Volta. As one fiddles with the volume knob, a noise oriented track, slowly fades into consciousness. The track sets a laid-back mood, a mood soon to be broken.
Once in the midst of the EP, ramping up from ambient noise to a subtle integration of rhythm and melody, the listener realizes they are in the presence of a rock and roll band. It is as if Tigerstyle soothed us at the beginning only to rock us that much harder when the guitar comes in over the churning bass and drums. The lyrics are brief, the solos are long, the rhythm and bass notes go on their own tangents. Anyone who is a fan of classic rock or hard rock will get their kicks with this band, although Tigerstyle is neither. They cannot be categorized with a genre. Fusion, which they refer to themselves as, is the best anyone can conclude. They have a mix of funk, rock, atmosphere, blues, jazz and much more. One moment, they are Pink Floyd-esque, the next moment is an echo of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santana, and the next there is some Andrew Bird-like whistling.
Overall, Face EP, is a true adventure. Even if you are not enthralled at the end, you’ve received an education on how to draw attention in music. The band takes you on a journey with them, sneaking up and capturing you with the first moment of the EP in order to make sure you will be committed to the rest of the ranging spectrum of material. If you want variety, Tiger Style is for you. The album is available at their shows and at Indie Wax Records in Youngstown, Ohio.

-Lee Boyle

"Ceiling God" (poem by Lee Boyle)

*This poem was published in the poetry journal, Abbey, in 2010.

Ceiling God

If god lived in the ceiling, like I thought
when I was young, he was probably
spying on me that time when I laid on the neon green floor
in my apartment in a small town,
when I was 21.
He must have silently chuckled
as my brother and I, mesmerized,
gazed up at the ceiling fan,
watching it spin
until it looked like
it was reversed, like a wheel,
or until we felt like
we were spinning,
we were
watching the fan from
above as it sat below, connected
to the floor, deeming us
the new ceiling gods, the new spies, spying
on a motionless, propeller-like creature from
our mysterious, green perch in a carpeted heaven.

I wonder if god played along
on another day farther in the past, when I was
even younger, when my brother and I
did semi headstands at 3 and 5 years old,
straining our legs toward the ceiling tiles
as our bent necks angled our heads
at a view of the ceiling which looked
like a floor, a new world of tiled ground.
And we were the place’s odd inhabitants
who never got to touch the dusty planet’s land,
cursed to remain a hovering species
in our sky, our carpeted ceiling that magnetized
our backs to it, our bodies like
burrs in faded foliage of a red-carpeted sky.