What? Emerging from a curious indie-rock-meets-new-age fog, located somewhere between Enya, Bright Eyes, and Air, the Republic Tigers debut this week with Keep Color (out May 6), an excellent collection of acoustic guitars, backing ooohhhs and aaahhhs, sailing keys, and frontman Kenn Jankowski’s hushed vocals, all covered in a ethereal, smooth production. And album opener “Buildings & Mountains” is an apt mission statement, with its digi-filtered instrumentation, sputtering progressions, and otherworldly transcendence. Tune in and — in the word’s of Enya — “sail away.”
Who? Kansas City-based quintet the Republic Tigers — the first signing to new Atlantic Records imprint Chop Shop — comprising Kenn Jankowski (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Adam McGill (guitar, vocals), Ryan Pinkston (guitar, keys, vocals, percussion), Marc Pepperman (bass, keys, accordion), and Justin Tricomi (drums). Catch the band on tour this spring with Tally Hall, and this summer warming stages for Nada Surf.
Fun Fact: Considering the band’s use of computers in its music, it’s no surprise the quintet have an affinity for video games. According to a spokesperson, the Republic Tigers are religious gamers, playing Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, and Ninja Gaiden 2 nonstop. And you can play along! Frontman Kenn Jankowski’s Xbox Live gamer tag: eekswoknaj.
Now Hear This: “Buildings & Mountains” (DOWNLOAD MP3)