Soft sell

By CAMILLE DODERO  |  January 13, 2006

Metrano started the project six years ago, after he’d split from his high-school band Hamlet Idiot, an indie-rock outfit “all about youthful enthusiasm” who recorded with Steve Albini in 1995. In California, where Hamlet Idiot broke up, Metrano scribbled mopy tunes, recorded on a four-track, and sent tapes to musician friends. And so over the years, Tiger Saw have consisted of any number of 40 different contributors; 14 musicians appear on Sing!, including K Records’ Jason Anderson (a/k/a Wolf Colonel) and vocalist/pianist Casey Dienel, a Scituate native whose first record, Wind-Up Canary, hits stores in March courtesy of Hush Records, the Oregon label that first put out the Decemberists.

Metrano promoted New Year’s Eve as a “special night” because it would be the last outing of what he’d dubbed the “orchestral” version of Tiger Saw. Nat Baldwin, a vocalist/upright-bassist with an eight-song EP on Broken Sparrow, would soon be leaving for an East Coast tour. Electric-bassist Sam Rosen would be heading out with him in support of his own project. Dienel just relocated to Brooklyn. And so Metrano envisioned Tiger Saw’s next live phase as various combinations of frequent collaborators/members: Juliet Nelson, a buttery-voiced cellist whose lilting higher-range harmonies play Mimi Parker to Metrano’s Alan Sparhawk; drummer Gregg Porter (also in Hotel Alexis and Unbunny); a slide-guitarist/banjo plucker who’s listed in Sing!’s credits as blindbanjodjim.

Sometimes on tour, Tiger Saw is just Metrano. And that’s fine with him. Most important, though, is making a Tiger Saw show one of the few places where a rec-room chorus of kids intoning the refrain “Oh, we have everything” (a proclamation from Sing!’s “For Adrian”) isn’t a spectacularly and selfishly American encomium to Manifest Destiny but a disarmingly gracious and gentle hymn about community. “Having those amazing nights in your living room, people huddled around, sitting on the edges of couches, and there’s a little bowl where you can put a donation on your way out. I just want shows to be special and be about the songs and that shared experience. And not just, ‘Hey, we’re opening up for Roddy Steamroller — whatever his name is.’ [That would be cock-rock joke Robby Roadsteamer.] I don’t want to be just a part of someone’s night out.” He also wants people to sing.

Tiger Saw + The Blind King + Hilken Mancini | Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass Ave, Cambridge | Jan 14 | 617.547.0759


On the Web

Tiger Saw:
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