Hi Tiger
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Hi Tiger

Portland, Maine, United States

Portland, Maine, United States
Band EDM Punk


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"Say Hi To I Love Music"

That photo with the high heels is so good you almost don't need to know anything else about Hi Tiger before taking the plunge with their music. They seem to have such a consistent aesthetic and vision that you can almost hear their music before it comes from the speakers: leather, vamp, attitude, dance (and repeat).

The quintet's debut album, I Love Music, varies only slightly from what you might expect. Sure, the '80s dance riffs are there, the synthesizers and guitars laying down repeating melodies while the drums furiously drive the pace. There is an underground feel, like the way things that only happen late at night sound, brighter than normal and magnified and echoing.

If you were expecting something you could lose yourself in, though, something mindless to get sweaty to, Hi Tiger are deeper than that.

They do sound like Joy Division more than a little. Everyone's got that one right. (Except, well, their production values are much better. Listened to Closer lately? Those guys from the late '70s wish they had had Garage Band. JD are a little more punkish for the hollowness of the instruments, but give me what Ron Harrity has done with Hi Tiger, in terms of fidelity, any day.)

Hi Tiger frontman Derek Jackson is just so much more angry. While Ian Curtis was disaffected and morose, Jackson comes off more aggressive. He's certainly more active on stage (not that I ever saw Curtis live — he died when I was five) and the edge to his delivery can be like a slap in the face. Dang if their voices don't sound similar sometimes, though.

This is probably most jarring on Hi Tiger's cover of New Order's "The Village." You'll remember that New Order are Joy Division, post-Curtis, and so it's kind of a trip to think what that band would have sounded like if Curtis had joined them in revolutionizing modern dance music. Turns out it sounds kind of like the National, at least in the beginning.

Jackson gives gravity to lyrics that are flighty and high-end with Bernard Sumner singing them. By the finish, with the repetition of the central "our love is like the flowers, the rain, the seas, and the hours," Jackson has simply imbued the song with much more power, which spikes when he occasionally reaches for a falsetto.

For true wattage, though, there's no comparing to the album's opener, "Nukes." We’re essentially introduced to the band by way of frank first-person recounting of a gay relationship with a man named Malcolm, a dude who contracted HIV, lived through the suicide of his partner, and then slept around in heartache: "It took six months for Malcolm to die/The dementia was the hardest part/Watching your friend decay was devastating/But cleaning up the poop that he refers to as his children just makes it surreal."

Jackson speaks the lyrics in an agitated rant, his voice sometimes growling and cracking. That sits over an eerily upbeat and breezy melodic soundscape created by Cory McCulloch (bass/keys), Roy Ghim (guitar/keys), and Erica Burkhart (guitar), which just makes the whole thing sordid and lurid. In a good way.

"Wolves" is probably the album's best song, as it takes this emotion and focuses it. There's a churning bass and guitar in lockstep, joined by a delicate keyboard plinking, and then a straight guitar hook rotation. Jackson's delivery of the opening line is spot on: "She said, 'When will you learn/Wolves don't howl at the moon, they howl at each other.'" Later he growls and snarls in lupine fashion before showing just how desperate he is: "Maybe I'll go out and see AOK Suicide Forest . . . and when I get home I'll pray you pass by/Will you pass by?"

Throughout the album, there's a wonderful push and pull between a desire to feel loved and a tortured resentment of that desire. It creates tension that's always prodded by Tony Leighton's driving high hat and snares (Leighton has since left the band, replaced for now by Marie Stella's Max Heinz).

It's what allows the mid-album, 12-minute "The Feed" to make sense, all blips, and bloops, and digital drone: "It's 3 am in Portland, Maine/And the sky is changing." And it makes the guy-girl vocals of "Hit Hard," Burkhart writing the only lyrics here not by Jackson, really pull at you, Jackson like an auctioneer amping up the value of a rare piece of china.

Really, the album rises and falls with Jackson. It breathes with his lungs and is charged by his energy. In the fast-paced firework that is "20 Minutes," he is for a couple minutes more Morrissey than anything else, with a hint of "16, clumsy, and shy," then so much more: "Oh I feel so sexy . . . I don't want to stop burning."

A tiger, burning bright. Works for me.

Read more: http://portland.thephoenix.com/music/124735-say-hi-to-i-love-music/#ixzz2BWG141Ah - The Portland Phoenix

"Hi Tiger - I Love Music"

Dylan’s review:

It’s exciting to hear new Portland bands that go against the local grain, and Hi Tiger is one of them.

I Love Music is the band’s debut release, a fun and dancey album that isn’t afraid to dive into deep political and social contexts. While the soundscapes are often dense and layered with interesting synthetic and analog noises, they often tie together to make neat pop songs with a post-punk edge. In the opening song, “Nukes,” a shimmery repetitive melody follows a flamboyant narrative sung by Derek Jackson in a beat poetry style. This kind of hooky repetition can be found in other songs on varying degrees of intensity and usage, but it never gets tired because of Jackson’s vocal range and ferocity along with a dynamic instrumentation.

Listeners might default on the up-tempo songs, but slowburners like “Pompous Pilot” and “The Village” are just as delightful, if not beautiful in the way they unfold. “The Feed,” in particular, is one of the most interesting and dense 11-minute tracks I’ve heard on any album.

With I Love Music, Hi Tiger packs a cohesive, yet diverse collection of songs that demand multiple listens. Not a bad way to start.

Jakob’s review:

Hi Tiger doesn’t really sound all that much like Joy Division. It seems, to me, like Portlanders keep making this easy comparison on the street, at shows, and in reviews, but it doesn’t do justice to the band’s unique character and depth. Their work is at once ethereal and hard-hitting, groovy and confrontational, and loaded with steamy politics and dramatics. I Love Music is the sound of the post-punk revival finally delivering on its initial promise, and not just another modern-era Unknown Pleasures pastiche. It’s a brave, even fearless, album that freely mixes melodies with atmosphere and atypical approaches to songcraft.

“20 Minutes” is one of the finest local singles I’ve heard, and the fact that it’s on the same record as the eleven minute ‘The Feed’ only gives me more respect for Hi Tiger. Some of these songs will have you tapping your toes uncontrollably, while others are so fraught with tension and intensity that they might make you cry, or even shiver. I constantly find myself unable to say exactly what it is Hi Tiger does onstage and on record, but also that I’m just immensely glad Portland finally has a band that does it. - Dispatch Magazine


"i love music", released August 2011 by Hi Tiger, recorded at Forest City Studios in Portland, Maine



Hi Tiger was formed in August 2010. Like an accident you slow down to look at, they have been referred to as Art Punk , serious business of tragedy, and glamorous sex machines. Their debut album, "i love music", was recorded at Forest City Studio and released August 5th, 2011.

Hi Tiger's explosive live performances will kick your ass while simultaneously kissing you on the lips. Their lyrics address issues around HIV and AIDS, queer desire, race, gender, and community vs. isolation. The band's musical influences range from Nina Simone to Joy Division. On their August 2011 mini-tour through Portland (Maine), Boston and New York City, Hi Tiger left a trail of glitter and tears in their wake.

Hi Tiger is Derek Jackson (vocals), Cory McCulloch (bass, keys), Erica Burkhart (vocals, guitar, keys), Roy Ghim (guitar, keys, ad-hoc instruments). Drums for the recording of "i love music" were played by Tony Leighton.