My introduction to TA was “Ghostfire” – played on my friend’s party mixtape. It’s on my mixtape here. After hearing that song I didn’t really dig into them further until about 3 years later. Man am I glad I did.
A three piece band with a standup “fatboy” bass, a clean, haunting guitar sound and drummer that keeps it all together. However the stand out for me with Tiger Army is Nick 13’s voice.
In 2011 Nick released his solo debut, and it was meant right from the beginning to be different from TA’s rawer, punkified sound. The solo debut is a tip of the straw hat brim to roots Americana country of the 1940s and 50s.
I was so incredibly excited to hear this solo album because as you’ll hear in the collection of TA songs I’ve selected below, I wanted to hear how he would take the country version of Tiger Army and really make it 100% true hillbilly. I have to say I was a little disappointed. The more I step back from the album (and my disappointment) I realize that Nick made the purest, exact era 1940s album you could possibly make. The problem was I think he was so emulating the style he admired that he forgot to put his unique stamp on it. The stamp of his voice, his “IT”. I think sometimes an artist needs to make the kind of record Nick ended up making - - the total authentic tribute. But I, personally, am looking forward to his second solo record – which I anticipate will blend in a better way the essence of the old with the essence of Nick 13’s tattooed inner Chris Isaak.
But let’s step back and enjoy the best (in my opinion) of Tiger Army – and the 3 best songs off Nick’s solo album (2011).
Track listing (click for larger view):
- Afterworld – this song will hit you right off the bat to hear the “IT” I’m talking about with Nick’s vocals.
- All Alone – the best song by a country mile on Nick’s solo debut. Gold.
- American Nightmare – Misfitsesque
- Cupid’s Victim – The TA version. He also re-arranged this song on the solo debut. This version is one of my top 5 favs for TA
- Ghost Of Memory – My second favorite by TA. So goddamn good.
- In The Orchard – I’ve said it numerous times on this here blog that this is my favorite song of all time, any band, any genre.
- Incorporeal – heartache present in the voice
- The Long Road – this song would fit nicely on Nick’s solo country album. You see why he needed this outlet. This is the kind of song I see Nick doing on the next N13 solo. Roots – with his stamp.
- Spring Forward – Top 5 for me. Let’s call it my 3rd favorite. Aweeeeesome.
The show flier I “made” after seeing Nick 13 on his solo U.S. tour. Great backing band with him for this tour, including steel pedal guitar legend Lloyd Green (played with Johnny Cash) and Guana Batz bassist Jonny Bowler from the UK.