Tiles
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Tiles

Detroit, MI | Established. Jan 01, 1994 | INDIE

Detroit, MI | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1994
Band Rock Progressive

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Review Date: Spring 2008

With Fly Paper, Tiles has upped its game. Gone is the bloat that mired Window Dressing; and in its place are tight songwriting, sharp instrumental passages, and melodies marking this the Detroit act's finest hour since "Presents Of Mind."

Things get rolling with "Hide In My Shadow," whose recurring riff should impress listeners both metallic and melodic. Paul Rarick's uncanny ability to maneuver his lyrics around dynamic time shifts make these guys stand out, as does Chris Herin's multi-instrumental mastery. From guitar and mandolin to banjo — yes, "Hee Haw" fans, banjo! — Herin proves any instrument can befit any genre. Creativity is the key.

Meanwhile, just try resisting "Back & Forth's" danceable rhythm and strong backing vocals. "Markers" affords Mark Evans room to use his entire drum kit and explore its subtle shadings. Canadian rock legend Kim Mitchell appears on "Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds," with Rush six-stringer Alex Lifeson cutting through "Sacred & Mundane." As if that's not enough, the aural "green room" is further occupied by Alannah Myles ("Back & Forth") as well as Terry Brown and Hugh Syme, the Rush veterans whose producing and cover art skills, respectively, helped Rush fulfill its vision.

But this is Tiles, not Rush, and the Detroit quartet stakes its own claim with Fly Paper.
- A. Lee Graham


Review Date: February 2008
Rating: 8 out 10

Detroit progsters Tiles have delivered an additional batch of Enchant-inflected Rush-fer-the ’90s prog metal with finesse and organic texturing on this, their first album in four years and fifth overall. Fly Paper finds the band tightening their songwriting, with large influence on that front from Rush and Max Webster producer Terry Brown who turns in a gorgeous, creamy sonic picture for the band. Melodies are to the fore and there’s a sense of higher impact this time around, with the guys gathering up the likes of Alannah Myles, Kim Mitchell and Alex Lifeson for guest slots. The guys make no apologies for the inevitable Rush comparisons, with Chris Herin capturing Lifeson’s polite electric sound and even layering acoustics like Rush is wont to do in the ‘90s right up to the present.

Nice range to the thing as well, as fave ‘Crowded Emptiness’ leans toward well-wishing, soul-replenished YES, and ‘Back And Forth,’ when it hurdles the wall, has a playful reggae-tipped vibe to it. ‘Sacred & Mundane’ finds the band throwing their shoulder out, and ‘Landscrape’ features a carnal and marauding riff.

But really, much of the rest of the album gathers around complicated electric pop metal, Tiles staking a terrain like no other save for perhaps Spock’s Beard, even their heavy stuff sonically arranged on light footing. Vocally, I dunno, I always figure a vocalist is at a disadvantage when he’s way too comfortably in his range, and Paul Rarick really doesn’t sound like he has to push much air – call the result an acquired taste, although ‘Landscrape’ is kind of a cool direction for him.
- Martin Popoff


July 18th 2008, Volume 34 - No.15 - Issue 730

Tiles: Fly Paper

Grade **** (out of 5 stars)

Rush has always been a major influence on Tiles. One of the early entries in the '90s North American wave of progressive-rock, the Detroit band is produced by Rush studio whiz Terry Brown and features covers designed by Rush artist Hugh Syme. Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson even performs a guest solo on "Sacred & Mundane" -- one of eight songs on Fly Paper, a musically accessible album that hovers over the lyrical theme of human vulnerability.

While Lifeson's cameo garnered Tiles' fifth album extra attention, it's time to move beyond the Rush comparsions. Granted, this music still owes a debt of gratitude to the Canadian trio, but Tiles confidently breaks free of the past and makes a firm landing with shorter songs, a renewed emphasis on guitars and some of its most memorable material in years. Guitarist/keyboardist/lyricist Chris Herin still can't resist a crisp turn of phrase ("Landscrape," "Crowded Emptiness"), but that only adds to the charm of this little band that could -- and, finally does. - Michael Popke


Tiles: Fly Paper

Country Of Origin: Canada
Review Date: February 2008

Detroit prog-rockers Tiles wear more than a few Rush influences on their sleeves: their fifth studio effort, Fly Paper, is produced by Terry Brown; the album cover is designed by Hugh Syme (who also plays keyboards on two songs); guest axe men include Kim Mitchell of long-time Rush touring partners Max Webster; and Alex Lifeson himself lends a “Limelight”-like solo to radio single “Sacred & Mundane.” Lead track “Hide in My Shadow” contains all the band’s signature licks (fluid bass, technical drums, etc.), which are compared so often to Rush, but it’s not until “Back & Forth” (with backing vocals by Alannah Myles) that fans get palpable Rush (circa “Vital Signs”) melodies. “Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds,” featuring Mitchell’s soloing, approaches Rush’s “Hemispheres” in several places, and the phrasing of “Landscrape” sounds like Rush’s Counterparts. The standout “Markers” brandishes a “Natural Science” trigonometry without sounding dated or obsequious. Vocalist Paul Rarick doesn’t sound like Ged, though; his pipes are less nasal, like Dream Theater’s James LaBrie or Styx’s Dennis DeYoung. Fly Paper is stately prog and the first truly great album of the year.

(InsideOut)

- Chris Ayers


Review Date: February 2008

Right from the start of the new Tiles release Fly Paper, it is quite obvious the album has many undertones of the band Rush incorporated into their latest work. As you get deeper into the rest of the tracks it will become even more apparent. Now, before anyone thinks they are copying Rush, that is not the case at all. In fact, even though they are highly influenced on this release, the Tiles actually have a different kind of feel to their music. One interesting note is that while many different artists that make guest appearances, seven to be exact, Alex Lifeson himself (from Rush-no kidding!) does appear on the second track “Sacred And Mundane.” Terry Brown (producer and sound engineer) approached Alex about making a guest appearance on the album. After listening to some of the new material, Alex liked what he heard and decided to take him up on his offer. So, before Rush went out on their last Snakes And Arrows tour, Terry went to Alex’s studio and the two of them worked painstakingly to produce the magic one hears on the track. The band was so impressed by the amount of work Alex put into the song, they said it was beyond and above the call of duty. What else can you expect from a musician from Rush… come on now, really!

The band Tiles has been around for some time now, since 1993 to be exact. This is their fifth studio album, not to mention one live recording. The Tiles are a Detroit, Michigan-based band and its members are Chris Herin (guitars), Mark Evans (drums), Paul Rarick (vocals), and Jeff Whittle (bass). This quartet can surely create some special music, which fans of Prog-Rock will enjoy.

The album consists of eight phenomenal compositions, plus a bonus track that will be on the initial pressing only. Besides Alex Lifeson doing his magic on “Sacred And Mundane,” there is vocalist Alannah Myles on “Back And Forth,” Hugh Syme playing keyboards on “Crowded Emptiness” and “Passing Notes” (the bonus track), and guitarist Kim Mitchell on “Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds.” The band also had a few other friends join in to contribute their talents: Sonya Mastick on percussion, Matthew Parmenter on keyboards, plus a vocal cameo from Nate Mills.

“Hide And Seek” is the longest track on the album at 8:31 minutes and probably the most intense stylistically. Arrangement-wise, it's probably the most difficult to play with all the time variations and changes throughout -- a true Rush type composition if there ever was one.

Fly Paper is fresh, creative, intriguing, lyrically emotional and powerful, musically impressive and talented, and incredibly suitable for today’s world. This quartet has done something unique here and it's definitely worth picking up and giving it a listen. If you love Prog-Rock or Prog-Hard Rock with some subtle Melodic undertones here and there, or if you are a huge fan of Rush, then this is a must. Put it on your list at once! - George Fustos


Tiles: Fly Paper

Country Of Origin: USA
Review Date: January 2008

A truly unique band, ‘progressive’ in their motives of technical tendencies, but 100% hard rock all the way. Now on album number five, Detroit’s Tiles has shown growth, and on their last record, Window Dressing, there was this expansion of production that really showed what the band could do outside of their tight power trio + lead singer groove (which included ‘epic’ tracks). But now, Fly Paper has brought the band back to basics, and there are no complaints, as they still play the infectious melodies we have always loved them for.

Featuring Terry Brown (Rush, Fates Warning) behind the board as the producer, Fly Paper is devoid of the overzealous use of keyboards or long improvisations for more sensible precision that focuses on music that ‘rocks out.’ Opening the record is the compelling “Hide in My Shadow,” where the semi-staccato lead guitar plays up against the high string acoustic six string attack – leading into this grinding, in-your-face tune that sets the tone for the rest of the record; other cuts such as “Back & Forth” (feat: Alannah Miles), “Markers,” & “Dragons, Dreams, & Daring Deeds” (feat: Kim Mitchell) follow the same hard rockin’ formula with the grittiness playing against smoothed out melodies. The acoustic “Crowded Emptiness” is one of the few songs to features keyboards (played by cover artist Hugh Syme) and is reminiscent of what could be a long lost tame Porcupine Tree cut, while aggression is put in full force with “Markers.” Another tune of note on Fly Paper is the furiously sophisticated & heavy “Sacred and Mundane,” which features a very special guest that added a personal touch to the Tiles classic, and even with Alex Liefson’s presence, this is by no means a Rush rip-off, it’s a Tiles tune front to back.

The many guests on this record added to the diversity and it’s the ‘balls to the wall’ stance that keeps the record filled with hard rock gusto. Fly Paper is further proof that Tiles has profoundly set their own existence in the world of rock and roll, whether it be progressive rock or heavy metal, this quartet executes a melodic stance that so few bands have been able to create, being one of the true innovators of hard rock over the past decade; it is time that the world takes note.
- Tommy Hash


Tiles: Window Dressing

Magazine: Aardschok (Holland)
June 2004

Translated from Dutch by Al Grabenstein

About two months ago, Inside Out re-released the first three Tiles CD’s, along with several bonus tracks. “Window Dressing” is the latest work of this American quartet. The group is usually compared with Rush, and that is not all that far-fetched when you listen to strong titles such as “Remember to Forget” and “All She Knows.” Yet during the past 10 years, Tiles nevertheless has developed a stubbornly diverging sound, and for that they deserve tremendous respect. The music is very melodious, appropriately progressive, yet certainly also tantalizingly steady because of its strong guitar play. The opening number, Window Dressing, which clocks in at a full 17 minutes, reflects precisely what Tiles stands for. This song has a peppy beginning with heavy guitars; a middle section with genuinely progressive, sparkling vocals by Paul Rarick and beautiful acoustic guitar passages; and becomes towards the end wonderfully intense again. Other top pieces are the beautifully crafted “Capture the Flag,” with guitar contributions by Kim Mitchell (ex-Max Webster) and the melancholy “Tear-Water Tea” with Matthew Parmenter (Discipline) on violin. Further, this album includes three instrumental pieces, among them the experimental “Stop Gap.” For a finale, Tiles have the long artful piece “Spindrift” in their back pocket, which is striking because of its almost hypnotic guitar work. Hugh Syme (among others with Arena) was responsible for the artistic design, and he also performed keyboards on “Slippers in the Snow.” Terry Brown (among others with Rush) was the producer of the CD. If you are considering purchasing this disc, then it deserves the recommendation that you choose the special edition. That is because it includes a bonus CD with eight live songs, recorded during the 1999 European tour, which Tiles did as a warm-up for Dream Theater.
- Joost Holey


Tiles: Fly Paper

Country Of Origin: USA
Review Date: January 2008

A truly unique band, ‘progressive’ in their motives of technical tendencies, but 100% hard rock all the way. Now on album number five, Detroit’s Tiles has shown growth, and on their last record, Window Dressing, there was this expansion of production that really showed what the band could do outside of their tight power trio + lead singer groove (which included ‘epic’ tracks). But now, Fly Paper has brought the band back to basics, and there are no complaints, as they still play the infectious melodies we have always loved them for.

Featuring Terry Brown (Rush, Fates Warning) behind the board as the producer, Fly Paper is devoid of the overzealous use of keyboards or long improvisations for more sensible precision that focuses on music that ‘rocks out.’ Opening the record is the compelling “Hide in My Shadow,” where the semi-staccato lead guitar plays up against the high string acoustic six string attack – leading into this grinding, in-your-face tune that sets the tone for the rest of the record; other cuts such as “Back & Forth” (feat: Alannah Miles), “Markers,” & “Dragons, Dreams, & Daring Deeds” (feat: Kim Mitchell) follow the same hard rockin’ formula with the grittiness playing against smoothed out melodies. The acoustic “Crowded Emptiness” is one of the few songs to features keyboards (played by cover artist Hugh Syme) and is reminiscent of what could be a long lost tame Porcupine Tree cut, while aggression is put in full force with “Markers.” Another tune of note on Fly Paper is the furiously sophisticated & heavy “Sacred and Mundane,” which features a very special guest that added a personal touch to the Tiles classic, and even with Alex Liefson’s presence, this is by no means a Rush rip-off, it’s a Tiles tune front to back.

The many guests on this record added to the diversity and it’s the ‘balls to the wall’ stance that keeps the record filled with hard rock gusto. Fly Paper is further proof that Tiles has profoundly set their own existence in the world of rock and roll, whether it be progressive rock or heavy metal, this quartet executes a melodic stance that so few bands have been able to create, being one of the true innovators of hard rock over the past decade; it is time that the world takes note.
- Tommy Hash


Tiles: Presents of Mind

Country Of Origin: Germany
Review Date: April 1999
Traslation: Al Grabenstein

The four gentlemen from Detroit can play and place great emphasis on interesting arrangements. This is called prog rock and, to be sure, prog rock of the calmer kind in the style of Enchant or Soul Cages. Tiles are rather nondramatic; instead of excessive bombast, there is a slightly mystical atmosphere and lots of acoustic guitars, even violins and banjos. The second line of influence is based on solid hard rock riffs, although this is not a headbanger album. Rather, the emphasis here is on atmosphere and harmonies. Of course, there is a lot in this album, the songs include a mass of details, yet at times lack a certain tension. In certain areas, what is intended to sound absolutely progressive and classy comes across as Dream Theater scale exercises, however, this does not happen very often.

Overall, "Presents ..." holds appeal through beautiful melodies and interesting parts more in the tradition of classical prog rockers than as hard "artful-heavy metal-fleet fingers."

- Christof Leim


Tiles: Fence the Clear

Review Date: April 1997
Reviewer: Brian McCollum

In a genre often snubbed for its selfish flash, Detroit's leading progressive rock band clicks into black-belt grooves that rely more on clever interplay than on lonely chops-wielding. Not to say that instrumental prowess isn't a priority: There's plenty of indulgence on tunes such as Another's Hand, which pops with a lengthy lick-swaping jam. But more typical is the precisely layered Gameshow, in which wide, shimmering guitars ride lockstep with carefully calculated drum lines, and bass figures bounce underneath like pinballs.

With massaging by longtime Rush producer Terry Brown, the 10-track album sparkles with a thick-but-untangled mix that gives each sound a discrete home. Top tracks include the straight rocker Beneath The Surface and the furiously tight closing epic, Checkerboards. - Brian McCollum


Tiles: Presents of Mind

Country Of Origin: Germany
Review Date: April 1999
Traslation: Al Grabenstein

The four gentlemen from Detroit can play and place great emphasis on interesting arrangements. This is called prog rock and, to be sure, prog rock of the calmer kind in the style of Enchant or Soul Cages. Tiles are rather nondramatic; instead of excessive bombast, there is a slightly mystical atmosphere and lots of acoustic guitars, even violins and banjos. The second line of influence is based on solid hard rock riffs, although this is not a headbanger album. Rather, the emphasis here is on atmosphere and harmonies. Of course, there is a lot in this album, the songs include a mass of details, yet at times lack a certain tension. In certain areas, what is intended to sound absolutely progressive and classy comes across as Dream Theater scale exercises, however, this does not happen very often.

Overall, "Presents ..." holds appeal through beautiful melodies and interesting parts more in the tradition of classical prog rockers than as hard "artful-heavy metal-fleet fingers."

- Christof Leim


Tiles: Tiles

Review Date: May 5, 1996

Virtuoso rock musicianship is a dangerous trade to ply these days, with a half-decade emphasis on crusty technique still rearing its head. But as one of the top acts in a burgeoning underground prog-rock scene, Tiles nimbly avoids the garbage heap to dish up nine hi-fi and--dare we say?--grooving tracks. On this debut disc, the band's glistening production is some of the best studio work you'll hear on an independent release, and the performances stay smart and slick without wallowing in artsy. Guitarist Chris Herin's bright, assertive licks echo early '80's Alex Lifeson, and ground a stellar ensemble effort.
- Brian McCollum


Tiles: Tiles

Review Date: May 5, 1996

Virtuoso rock musicianship is a dangerous trade to ply these days, with a half-decade emphasis on crusty technique still rearing its head. But as one of the top acts in a burgeoning underground prog-rock scene, Tiles nimbly avoids the garbage heap to dish up nine hi-fi and--dare we say?--grooving tracks. On this debut disc, the band's glistening production is some of the best studio work you'll hear on an independent release, and the performances stay smart and slick without wallowing in artsy. Guitarist Chris Herin's bright, assertive licks echo early '80's Alex Lifeson, and ground a stellar ensemble effort.
- Brian McCollum


Discography

(2012) Tiles: "Off the Floor" (Live) - Standing Pavement.

(2008) Tiles: Fly Paper - Inside Out Music (Worldwide).

(2004) Tiles: "Window Dressing" (Regular & Limited Editions) - Inside Out Music (Worldwide).

(2004) Tiles: "Presents of Mind" (Special Edition Reissue) - Inside Out Music (Europe).

(2004) Tiles: "Fence the Clear" (Special Edition Reissue) - Inside Out Music (Worldwide).

(2004) Tiles: "tiles" (Special Edition Reissue) -
Inside Out Music (Worldwide).

(2000) "Presence In Europe 1999: Board Tape/Live Bootleg Collection" - Standing Pavement.

(1999) Compilation (2 Tiles Songs): "Magna Carta SixPack" - Magna Carta (N. America)

(1999) Tiles: "Presents of Mind" (Original Release) - Magna Carta (N. America); Inside Out (Europe); King Records (Japan); Rock Brigade (S. America).

(1999) Compilation (1 Tiles Song): "Rock Brigade Metal" - Rock Brigade (So. America).

(1998) Compilation (1 Tiles Song): "Pick of the Litter" - HM Magazine.

(1997) Tiles: "Fence the Clear" (Original Release) -
Standing Pavement (N. America); Inside Out (Europe); Teichiku (Japan).

(1997) Compilation (1 Tiles song): "Motor City Riffs" - WRIF FM / Harmonie Park.

(1995) Tiles: "tiles" (Original Release) - Polydor (Europe); Teichiku (Japan).

(1994) Tiles: "tiles" (Original Release) - Standing Pavement (N. America).

(1994) Compilation (1 Tiles song): Z-Rock's Best of Detroit Stuff - Serendipity.

Photos

Bio

Hailing from the fertile Detroit music scene, T I L E S features Chris Herin (guitar), Jeff Whittle (bass), Paul Rarick (vocals) and Mark Evans (drums).  Formed in 1993 on the heels of a production deal with Gene Simmons of KISS, T I L E S has developed a structured-yet-spontaneous compositional style that blends the adventure of progressive rock with an aggressive hard rock edge. 

T I L E S has released five studio albums worldwide and recently commemorated their 20th anniversary with a pair of live recordings, “Off the Floor 01” & “Off the Floor 02”. The band has worked with renowned producer Terry Brown (Rush, Fates Warning) since 1997 and celebrated artist Hugh Syme (Aerosmith, Rush) since 1999.  Their breakthrough third album “Presents of Mind” received praise from drummer Mike Portnoy who invited T I L E S to tour Europe with Dream Theater in 1999.  Over the years the band has been nominated for several Detroit Music Awards in the Best Rock Album category and 2008’s “Fly Paper” album features a guest appearance by guitarist Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Now, after eight years…, T I L E S returns with a vengeance by delivering the mesmerizing 2-CD magnum opus “Pretending 2 Run.”  Clocking in at over 96-minutes, “Pretending 2 Run” is an ambitious and richly crafted song cycle spinning the tale of a man blindsided and disillusioned by betrayal.  Brooding and expressive, T I L E S explores the dark subject matter by blending stylistically diverse musical elements.  Lyrical string arrangements, haunting choir performances, ambient textures and lush vocals co-exist with thundering drums, weaving bass lines and an army of guitars to create a vivid experience that delivers the story’s emotional journey from isolation to redemption.  

T I L E S teamed up again with producer Terry Brown – and with mastering by Grammy award winning engineer Peter Moore, “Pretending 2 Run” boasts a powerful and detailed sonic landscape.  Complementing the dramatic and multi-layered storyline is Hugh Syme’s striking and surreal imagery.  Featuring a lush 28-page full-color booklet, the design and packaging for “Pretending 2 Run” is an elaborate and stunning work of art.

Lending their talents to “Pretending 2 Run” is an extraordinary collection of special guest musicians: Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs), Adam Holzman (Steven Wilson Band), Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Kim Mitchell (Max Webster), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Kevin Chown (Tarja Turunen, Chad Smith, Paul Gilbert), Max Portnoy (Next to None), Matthew Parmenter (Discipline), Mark Mikel (Pillbugs), Joe Deninzon (Stratospheerius) and other notable guests from the Detroit area… 

Destined to be on the radar of Prog fans everywhere, “Pretending 2 Run” is a distinctive presentation framed in the grand traditions of progressive rock.  Clearly and unmistakably T I L E S, but infused with a more expansive sound as the guest artists propel the band into new directions sure to please fans old and new. 

Over the years T I L E S has regularly performed throughout the Midwest and Northeast USA - and performed at notable progressive rock festivals across the country.  The band has shared the staged with many notable acts including Dream Theater, Kansas, Judas Priest, Blue Oyster Cult, Steve Morse and many others. 

T I L E S endorses Mesa/Boogie, Elixir Strings, Aquarian Drumheads, Eden Electronics and Ken Smith Basses & Strings.

Band Members