Title Fight

Title Fight

Tigers Jaw, Pianos Become the Teeth, Single Mothers

Fri, November 30, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$12-$14

Sold Out

This event is all ages

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Title Fight
Title Fight
Musical trends come and go, but the bands who stick around are the ones who eschew whatever’s popular in favor of playing the music that’s in their hearts—and Kingston, Pennsylvania’s Title Fight are a perfect example of this. Originally formed in 2003 by guitarist/vocalist Jamie Rhoden and the twin brother duo of vocalist/bassist Ned Russin and drummer Ben Russin when the trio were barely teenagers, Title Fight started as a way for these young kids to explore their burgeoning love of hardcore. But after adding guitarist Shane Moran in 2005, something funny happened: Their tireless practicing eventually transformed them into one of the most exciting hardcore acts in recent memory.

After releasing a handful of EPs and 7-inches as well as performing shows all over the world, Title Fight began attracting attention from fans and labels who were captivated by the way the band managed to put a modern spin on the melodic hardcore sound pioneered by acts like Gorilla Biscuits and Lifetime—and in 2010 the members of Title Fight dropped out of college in order to tour full-time with acts such as New Found Glory, Four Year Strong and H20. It was also around this time that the band entered the studio with Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand guitarist Walter Schreifels who agreed to produce the band and promptly drove down to Northeastern Pennsylvania to help them prepare to record their highly anticipated full-length debut Shed.

“The cool thing about Walter is that when we came to him he told us he doesn’t produce a lot of records because he’s a full-time musician himself, so he only works with bands he really likes and hearing that was a huge compliment because he’s one of our biggest inspirations,” Ned Russin explains. “We were really up front about the fact that we wanted to feel in control with our music so he really just let us do our thing but came up with some helpful suggestions without trying to transform us into something we aren’t,” he continues when asked about Schreifels’ role in the process. “He came down and stayed at Ned and Ben’s parents’ house and we just hashed it all out in Jamie’s parents’ basement.”

From there the band headed to Philadelphia to record Shed over a grueling two-week period at the legendary Studio 4. However all those long nights paid off as Shed sees the band implementing various subgenres that range from old-school hardcore to aggressive punk rock that make these twelve energetic anthems instant classics for a new generation of listeners searching for music that inspires them as much as Title Fight were inspired by their heroes. “We wrote the last record when we were in high school and since then
we’ve dropped out of school, seen the world and had life experiences that are all reflected here,” Ned Russin explains when asked what it’s been like to sacrifice everything to make Shed a reality.

From the Hot Water Music-esque power of “27” to the old-school feel of “You Can’t Say Kingston Doesn’t Love You,” Shed is also a remarkably varied record that proves hardcore doesn’t need to be formulaic in order to be powerful. “The most important thing is that this is a Title Fight record,” Ned Russin summarizes, ”we’re not trying to pose and be anything we’re not.” Moran concurs adding, “we’re not a surface level band, we’re the kind of act who likes to dig a little deeper and we’re really interested in learning about the history of punk and hardcore to find the stuff that really speaks to us on a personal level.”

Speaking of personal, Shed also features some of the band’s most heartfelt lyrics to date—a fact that is largely due to the life-changing experiences the band have endured, both good and band since their previous recordings. “This album was a lot more collaborative from a lyrical perspective and instead of being about girls, it’s about real life situations,” Ned Russin says. “Throughout the past few years my grandmother passed away and my dad had reconstructive heart surgery so a lot has been on my mind and Title Fight has always been a great release for me to get out what’s bottled up inside,” he continues. “We just tried to be as sincere as we possibly could and write songs about what was important to us at the time.”
Ultimately this sentiment has always remained at the core of Title Fight and it’s one of the reasons why so many fans have gravitated toward the band’s music despite the fact that they don’t have any fancy costumes or onstage gimmicks. “I think we have a unique dynamic because we can always play a hardcore show with our friends in a basement but we can also play a show with more commercial bands on a larger scale and be accepted in both situations,” Moran explains.

“We’ve been a band for seven years and this is the first time we’ve had a recording that’s longer than seven minutes long,” Ned Russin adds. “The last year has been a crazy ride but the whole time we’ve always stayed true to the fact that we’re not trying to be anything we’re not,” he summarizes. “We’re four friends that play in a band together and we would still be doing this whether we were playing to five people or five hundred of them.”
Tigers Jaw
Tigers Jaw
Tigers Jaw’s penetrating melodies remain more contagious than an airborne virus and the harmonies give us those sweet, sweet roller coaster highs. The buzz of the guitars sets our blood boiling, the rhythm section pounds a hypnotic beat through our skulls and the familiar warmth of the keys wash over Spirit Desire in waves of fuzzy sound. Still, none of it would sound so memorable without the band’s subtle restraint and its ability to create tension and excitement in such a short amount of time. The songs on this 7-inch never pull their punches – they just keep you guessing when and where that knockout uppercut will land. Maybe the reason why Tigers Jaw impresses me so much is not for the qualities it shares with the previously mentioned touchstones but rather for the way it circumvents conventional notions of indie, pop and and punk while still keeping the proceedings high-energy, instantly engaging and a just little bit raw. It’s a skewed yet timeless approach to songwriting that makes the anticipation of whatever they do next that much more intense.
Pianos Become the Teeth
Pianos Become the Teeth
Pianos Become The Teeth are many things but they aren't the type of band that are simple to describe. Correspondingly if the Baltimore, Maryland, based act exploded on the scene with their 2009 debut Old Pride and gained national attention with 2011’s The Lack Long After, their third album Keep You sees them taking a brave step forward to craft a musical statement that truly transcends genres. "There's still the same amount of passion and energy inherent in this record, it's just presented in a different way," frontman Kyle Durfey explains— and that undying desire to push, challenge and redefine the band's musical limits is what makes Keep You the type of record that grows more revealing to the listener with each listen.

Obviously the biggest difference between Keep You and Pianos Become The Teeth’s previous albums is Durfey's approach, which sees him trading the throat-gutting screams of the band's early releases with cleaner, more intelligible vocals. However anyone who has followed the band's trajectory—specifically the song "Hiding" from their 2013 split with Touché Amoré—can trace the way the band's sound has evolved from a melodic hardcore act to a group who create heaviness and weight via raw emotion instead of distortion "I took a less unbridled approach to the songs this time around,” Durfey explains. “That’s what I felt the songs called for and in my heart it matched the tone of the record.”

Pianos Become The Teeth—which also features guitarists Mike York and Chad McDonald, bassist Zac Sewell and drummer David Haik— began writing Keep You in 2012 while during a tour with Title Fight. When they got home the group took a writing expedition to a cabin owned by Sewell's family in Taylors Island, Maryland, where they came up with the songs "Say Nothing" and "Lesions." "We knew Kyle was planning on singing on this album so we wanted to be able to create something musically that would be beneficial for him to do that," York says. "We paid attention to detail a lot with these songs but not in the same way that we had done in the past in the sense that instead of putting a bunch of cool parts together, we really tried to focus on the songs as a whole,” he adds.

In order to capture the band's creative vision this time around they decided to work with producer Will Yip (Circa Survive, Braid) during a month long recording session in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. "Will was just such a positive force to be around and he really helped us embrace what we were trying to do," Durfey explains. "I definitely learned a lot about my own voice and gained a ton of confidence in the process." York concurs adding, "Will knew what we were going for atmosphere wise; I realized we were making something that we loved but Will took that vision and made it more than we ever could have expected."

Musically Keep You is an expansive statement that is defined almost as much by what the listener hears as it is the dramatic space that hangs between each note. For example, when Durfey sings “you can’t be everything you want to be before your time” on the cathartic, slow build “Late Lives” the same can be said of the fact that the band had to spend eight years playing together in order to get to the point where they could write music this layered and deliberate. "I love a song like 'Late Lives' because instead of a lead riff there's intertwined riffs and David doesn't even hit a snare drum until two-and-a-half minutes in," York explains. "Alternately 'April' and 'Old Jaw' are more straightforward that anything we've ever done structure-wise but if you let yourself fall into the groove of the song you'll appreciate it in ways that I don't think have ever been possible with this band.”

That's not to say that these songs don't feature the virtuosic musicianship the band have built their name on, it’s just recontextualized into more moody and haunting compositions such as “Repine” which features atmospheric strings, an instantly contagious chorus and a tribal rhythm that solidly roots it. Lyrically Keep You deals with familiar concepts like mortality and communication in an intensely personal way that's also remarkably relatable in its honesty. "If I had to boil down the overall theme of the album it's about things you want to say to people but you can't for some reason whether it's because they're not in your life anymore or they've passed away," Durfey explains. "It still ties into our other records but it's where I'm at now, which is still morose but not being completely destroyed by anything anymore.”

That inkling of hope is expressed when Durfey sings, "your wick won't burn away" (“Repine”) or muses, "I say it all when I say nothing at all” (“Say Nothing”), conveying that memories live on after the physical bodies that embodied them have faded away. "I think it's a musical growth not a departure," Durfey summarizes when asked how he views the album. “We’re more proud of this album than anything we’ve ever done in the past,” adds York. “I’m just so excited to be able to share it with the people who have supported us for so long because I think it’s a really exciting next step for the band in every possible way.”
Single Mothers
Single Mothers
Montreal by way of London band Single Mothers has made a compelling case for how red flags, stacked odds and strike outs can somehow inspire a collective recklessness to keep at it. Known for their dangerously explosive live show and the palpable tension that bleeds into their music, the band has ran through 9 members since its inception in 2008, and has broken up countless times. However, after disbanding in early 2011 the band quietly posted their final EP online. It achieved a cult following and inspired the band to reform the following year. Pairing feral punk with rock 'n' roll sensibilities, Single Mothers has accepted that all their trials, tribulations and tensions have not only gotten them here but have motivated them to work even harder. And, if that's to be believed then a ton of wrongs can lead to a right.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123