Miniature Tigers' sound was forged in the bedroom of frontman Charlie Brand, only to quickly outgrow the space, with the band soon finding itself on stage, in the studio and signed to Phoenix's Modern Art Records in short order. Brand's lyrics – a mix of deeply personal insights and playful references to the disparate cultural artifacts that have informed his existence – and effortlessly constructed indie-pop arrangements have made fans in his native Phoenix and beyond. They stretch to Los Angeles, where he reconnected with drummer, collaborator and fellow charter member of the band Rick Schaier while living in Hollywood, and far beyond thanks to the Internet, which it seems people are into these days.
Miniature Tigers' debut album "Tell it to the Volcano" runs the lyrical gamut, taking inspiration from and referencing TV's Lost (which rates a Dharma Initiative sticker on Brand's acoustic) as easily as it probes the joy and heartbreak of Charlie's own life, while managing not to take itself too seriously. Brand wrote the album while on the lam – not from the law, but rather from a relationship he described as "brutal." He left Phoenix to clear his head, landing in Los Angeles and collaborating with his friend Rick to complete the long-gestating album. It was his catharsis – with cannibals and volcanoes stepping in for the real-world problems that had both beset and inspired him. In the end the album represents Charlie's effort to codify, examine, and ultimately move past a 2-year stretch of his life.
Charlie and Rick are joined in their live incarnation by friends and collaborators Lou Kummerer on bass and Lawrence Hearn on lead guitar and keyboards, for performances that seem to give equal time to playing songs and intra-band joking. They aim for a controlled chaos aesthetic that eschews "auto-pilot" at all costs.
In an effort to further confound the expectations of those around the band, they chose to have their video directed by someone who had never helmed one before…or at least never an authorized music video. The band tapped "Yacht Rock" creator JD Ryznar to direct their video for Cannibal Queen in the hopes he would recreate the magic of his wildly popular Internet video series. Ryznar quickly assimilated the band's aesthetic and turned in a video equal parts "Weird Science" and "Frankenstein," to the band's delight.
"Tell it to the Volcano" is currently available on iTunes, as well as a limited-edition letter pressed CD package and on vinyl at shows and via the band's web site. They'll be touring through the winter of 2009, when the album will find its way to stores through an official retail release.
With Ben Folds
2/11/09 Wed Princeton NJ McCarter Theatre
2/12/09 Thu Baltimore MD Rams Head Live
2/14/09 Sat Philadelphia PA Electric Factory
2/16/09 Mon Pittsburgh PA Club Zoo
2/17/09 Tue Toronto ON Kool Haus
2/18/09 Wed Ann Arbor MI Michigan Theatre
2/19/09 Thu Cincinnati OH Xavier University
2/21/09 Sat Columbus OH LC Pavillion
2/22/09 Sun Knoxville TN Valarium
2/23/09 Mon Asheville NC Orange Peel
2/25/09 Wed Durham NC Durham PAC
2/26/09 Thu Charleston SC N Charleston PAC
2/27/09 Fri Atlanta GA Tabernacle
3/1/09 Sun Charlotte NC Ovens Aud
With Dear & The Headlights
3/2/09 Mon Seattle WA El Corazon
3/4/09 Wed Boise ID The Venue
3/5/09 Thu Salt Lake City UT Avalon Theatre
3/7/09 Sat Denver CO Marquis Theatre
3/8/09 Sun Omaha NE Sokol Underground
3/10/09 Tue Minneapolis MN Triple Rock
3/11/09 Wed Iowa City IA Picador
3/12/09 Thu Chicago IL Reggie's Rock Club
3/13/09 Fri Columbia MO Mojo's
3/14/09 Sat Tulsa OK The Marquee
3/15/09 Sun Dallas TX The Door
3/17/09 Tue San Antonio TX Rock Bottom Bar