Tiger Bomb slings garage pop and rock in stellar fashion, and its debut album, “Uproar,” is 14 rip-roarin’ gems.
The Portland-based band, which has several shows with other bands at venues around town this spring, is Chris Horne (The Brood) on lead guitar and vocals, Lynda Mandolyn (Fabulous Disaster) on rhythm guitar and vocals, Andrea Ellis on bass and drummer Jessica Smith. (BTW, on the next rainy day when you have time to kill on the interwebs, let yourself go down the rabbit hole with The Brood and Fabulous Disaster.)
On one hand, I don’t want to feel the need to identify Tiger Bomb – or any other band – as all female. Other than the exception of “boy bands,” all-male bands are never described as such – not U2 or The Beatles or Aerosmith. But sometimes it does feel necessary to point out when bands are made up of all women because we still live in a world where female artists are not given the same opportunities as their male counterparts, not to mention the issues of harassment, abuse and disparity in radio airplay that female artists contend with. (For proof, check out the social media account Book More Women, which takes festival posters and removes all the male acts to show the alarming disparity, like The Epicenter festival in North Carolina, which has just 9 percent female acts.)
But raging against the machinery of the sexist music industry and celebrating the excellence of an all-female local band are not mutually exclusive, so let’s go back to why Tiger Bomb is worthy of your time. Its sound is tight but not too tight. The songs have crazy good hooks, and although I’ve listened to “Uproar” exclusively through headphones at my desk, on the first warm day of the year, I’m taking it on a drive around town with the windows down and volume turned way up. “Uproar” is a fine frenzy of garage rock verve, and the songs flow into each other in a way that keeps the listener fully invested and engaged.
“Uproar” opens with “Baby Come On.” “Hold me close/hold me tight/hold me till you feel all right,” sings Horne while playing a blistering electric guitar. Ellis’ bass is through the roof, and Smith’s drums are downright explosive. Mandolyn’s backing vocals provide the knockout punch to make this the perfect choice to kick off the record. And once Tiger Bomb has its claws in you, it’s not letting go for the 39 minutes of “Uproar.”
Here’s the video for “Baby Come One”
“Constellations” is my current favorite with the lines “Running through the dark/hiding in your constellations” atop a steady, infectious beat. “Scared of Heights” also jumps out with the sonic urgency of a high-stakes game of pinball. “Uproar” closes with “One Thing’s For Sure,” a song dripping with longing and infused with punk rock fervor.
“Uproar” (Dionysus Records) was recorded and mixed at Acadia Recording Co. in Portland by engineer Todd Hutchinson, producer Richard Julio and Tiger Bomb. It was mastered by “Slaughter” Joe Foster (My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain) of Poppy Productions at The Diving Bell Lounge in Glasgow, Scotland. The fantastic album art is by Lisa Petrucci.
Here’s a rundown of a few upcoming Tiger Bomb shows, and also be sure to follow the band on Facebook for the latest news.
8 p.m. March 30 with When Particles Collide. Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland, $7 in advance, $10 at the door, all ages. baysidebowl.com
8 p.m. April 12 with A Deer Horse and Billy Midol. Sun Tiki Studios, 375 Forest Ave., Portland, $7, all ages. On Facebook.
8 p.m. June 15 with Xander Nelson and Mirth. Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland, price TBD, 21-plus. portlandhouseofmusic.com