If you’ve been awake for the last 12 months then you have to be aware of the spectacular music scene growing from the Bay Area. Tidelands, Brilliant Colors, Handshake, Howlin Rain, Owl Paws, Fops and Rin Tin Tiger; to name a few. Some of the most original and attention grabbing sounds are coming from these bands as they scour California for influence and opportunities. Though the city is accepting, the bands aren’t letting up with an almost unrivaled passion for their art. At the forefront, at least in my mind, is the last on that brief, and probably missing quite a few (sorry!), list, Rin Tin Tiger.
I guess now is a good of time as any to come clean. My name is Greg and I am addicted to Rin Tin Tiger. Their self-titled release last year blew my mind with folk originality. Raw around the edges yet graceful in their delivery, the trio for San Francisco had me hooked on the first go-around; even being #7 on my top discoveries of last year. With that being said, it should come as no surprise that I had high hopes for the forthcoming Toxic Pocketbook. When I received it I stared intently wondering if it would change my thoughts of Andrew Skewes-Cox and the brothers Sullivan.
Like a best friend you’d come to know so well, I was unsure if we could rekindle that old feeling. Hesitantly I hit play and sat back.
An overwhelming relief came over me the moment “The Move Apart Parcel” counted in to harmonica dancing above cymbal driven heavy bass and acoustic guitar licks. From the first moments of the leading track to the final seconds of the last and title track, it is simply too easy to fall for Toxic Pocketbook.
Having found a fine balance between the swinging acoustic and the down-tempo infused harmonica ballads, this record is a keeper. Rin Tin Tiger’s ability to sound classic folk with a modern progressive style sets them apart from the pack. “Oregon Yard” is a moving example of how these gents can change tempo as Kevin’s original voice bleeds into “we could be just like that/Oregon Yard/Overgrown in the rain/yellowed in the sun/not pretending like we aren’t.” Fitting it is followed by “Birdsthroat.” The upbeat, bass- heavy rolling track gets your foot tapping and your body moving in a true-to-Rin Tin Tiger fashion. From simple (“Funeral”) to energetic screaming (“Loud Man”) there is something for everyone; something intimate and meant for just you.
If you’re not addicted to this sound then you’re not listening to it. If you’re not listening to it, then you need new friends because friends don’t let friends not listen to Rin Tin Tiger. Musicians like this are rare and their passion for their art is unparalleled. Do yourself a favor, get Toxic Pocketbook, get Toxic Pocketbook for a friend and spread the sound that will have you coming back for more again and again.