Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tiger Trap - International Pop Underground Vol. 36

Tiger Trap were like a shooting star, they burned brightly, but only very briefly. The band split after releasing one full length album, an EP and a few scattered singles and compilation tracks during 1992 and 1993. I first became aware of the band when they released a 7" single as part of K Records' International Pop Underground series. Two of the songs featured on the single ("Supercrush" and "You And Me") later appeared on their debut album, which is available for download from the usual sources, but a third track, "Hiding" did not.

Tiger Trap encapsulated many of the great things things that were going on in indie music in the early '90s; their sound was "twee" but not so much so as to be cloying, and it was balanced by a love of noise, fast tempos and serious hooks. The band, an all female group, also had a tangential connection to the riot grrrl movement with their inspired amateurism, even if they skipped the agit-prop politics.

Tiger Trap is probably best remembered today because of the involvement of sweet-voiced singer Rose Melberg who would go on to become a member of The Softies, Go Sailor and Gaze, as well as establishing herself as a solo artist. But I wanted to single out drummer Heather Dunn for praise, because I felt that her solid timekeeping was the glue that held the band's sound together. Amateurism in music can be a great, but a drummer who cannot keep time is almost never a good thing, and it's something that I felt held back many similar bands. Heather could keep time for sure, but she could do a lot more than that. I totally lack the technical vocabulary to describe the way Heather plays, but take a listen to the drumming on "Hiding." Heather seems to have an instinctive sense for where to place the beat to both keep the music moving and to develop tension within the song.

I saw Tiger Trap perform twice during their brief existence, and both times my focus ended up on Heather's drumming. I later saw her perform with Lois at a show in Toronto. I understand she also played drums for a re-formed version of The Raincoats.


Peter Hennig said...

Pete - Does that 'usual sources' link take me to the iTunes store?

I really enjoyed the times I saw Tiger Trap live and I have a memory of a show at Maxwells where Heather switched to guitar and Rose was on the drums--they rocked!

Pete Bilderback said...

Yeah, you won't find me linking to iTunes. It's available digitally from eMusic, Amazon and Other Music.

I don't think I saw them at Maxwell's, which is kind of strange because I don't remember passing up many opportunities to go out to Hoboken.

I did see them at a small college in Upstate New York. They played in the gym (no stage) and there were probably 20 people there (half of them from the car I came up in). It was awesome. Also, I believe I saw them at Under Acme with Heavenly and possibly Small Factory.

Seeing a band that lasted less than two years twice is not too bad, but I wish I had caught that Maxwell's show too.

fantom said...

"Hiding" however was issued on CD - on the International Hip Swing compilation....