Paste welcomed Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins to our New York studio with open arms recently, knowing well that the pair behind emo-pop duo band Tigers Jaw nearly petered out for good after their warmly received 2014 record, Charmer.
It was then that Tigers Jaw unexpectedly shrank from a quintet to a duo in the wake of the sudden departures of guitarist/singer Adam McIlwee, bassist Dennis Mishko and drummer Pat Brier. Tour dates were cancelled, apologies were expressed, and it looked like the band might collapse before it could deliver on the melodious promise of Charmer.
So we were especially excited to have Walsh and Collins at the Paste offices to play three songs from their “comeback” album, spin, and talk a little about their new life as a two-piece. One obvious challenge was shouldering so much more of the creative process.
Read Paste’s review of Tigers Jaw’s spin
“It’s the first record that Ben and I did, just the two of us,” Collins said.
Added Walsh, “I had to write a little bit more for this record than on previous records, and I had finished four or five songs and just totally hit a wall. When you’ve written a bunch of albums, it’s tough to find new ways to generate material.”
A friend, Tom May of The Menzingers, suggested Walsh pick up the book “Writing Better Lyrics,” and it immediately flipped the switch for him. “Instantly I was thinking about things in other ways and generating stuff I probably wouldn’t have,” he said.
With a new batch of material and growing confidence, Collins and Walsh made their next startling move: to a major label. spin is the first release on Black Cement, a new imprint through Atlantic Records run by Will Yip, who produced Charmer and the new record. So even though Tigers Jaw have been making music since 2005, spin might as well be their second debut album.
Watch the new-look Tigers Jaw perform three songs from spin: “Follows,” “Bullet” and “Window”: