Tiger Trap was a short-lived but important all-girl twee/punk-pop band from Sacramento, California. The foursome of high school friends Rose Melberg (guitars, vocals), Angela Loy (guitars, vocals), Jen Braun (bass) and Heather Dunn (drums) formed in 1992. They recorded a bunch of singles, an EP and one album, all on the legendary Olympia, Washington twee/punk label K Records.
The band’s name is, according to the fable, a reference to the first panel of the first strip of the mighty comic “Calvin & Hobbes”. It may or may not also be a reference to the brilliant first song on the final album by K Records boss Calvin Johnson’s band Beat Happening. All of the bands on K are a big family, so it would be more fitting for the Beat Happening story to be the real one, but I’ve heard the Calvin & Hobbes one a million times.
Despite enormous success in the indie world, Tiger Trap disbanded in December of 1993. Rose Melberg, who is pretty much indie-pop royalty, immediately went on to form Softies and Go Sailor. In Go Sailor, one of her band mates was Amy Linton (Aislers Set, and the incredible Slumberland band Henry’s Dress). Melberg also made a bunch of solo records over the years. These days, she’s in Vancouver heading up Brave Irene. That band has released just one EP, which one of my five favorite EPs of 2011.
The point is that Melberg makes a lot of records and I buy a lot of them.
Tiger Trap was one of my favorite records of the 1990s and it was in really heavy rotation at my house for a long, long time. Twelve songs. Thirty minutes. They’re all about heartache and heartbreak and jealousy. They’ve all got a combination of jangly guitars and lo-fi noise. They’re all a little more bass-y than they really ought to be. They’re all simultaneously hard and soft. Sweet and bitter. They’ve all got middle eights. They’ve all got crazy hooks. They’re really just edgy bubblegum pop songs.
I’ve often said that the Best Coast album Crazy For You was better when the year was 1993 and the album was Tiger Trap.
It’s hard to pick a “favorite” from Tiger Trap, but this is one that I like a lot.
“Supreme Nothing” by Tiger Trap
Apart from the things that I already said, I’ve always been a big fan of Melberg’s voice. It’s really warm and soothing. Like a cup of cocoa. Maybe it’s cool and soothing like freshly squeezed lemonade. Either way, it’s like something that’s awesome to drink. And reminiscent of childhood.
Tonight’s song is like a lot of the other songs on the album. It’s about having unrequited feelings for someone, and the frustration over that.
I got things to say to you, but like you really care
You make me into nothing, floating in the air
Supreme nothing, oh yeah
If you haven’t listened to your copy of Tiger Trap in a while, I suggest that you dust it off right now and spin the whole thing. You won’t be sorry. If you don’t have it, you can get it from the K Records shop here. Unfortunately, the cassette tape is sold out, but they have plenty of CD copies. Get it tonight.