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Tiger Saw - Blessed are the Trials We Will Find


Quietly disturbing slow-core from Dylan Metrano and his Tiger Saw. Lazily drifting melodies turn eerie when the constant repetitions become haunting structures, and the whispered vocals keep questioning whether the stories they tell are grounded in reality or dreams. Juliet Nelson shares vocals with Metrano, and the duets between the two are among the finest moments here. Subtle use of instruments like cello, viola, air organ, e-bow, and baritone guitar add depths and nuances to the deliberately monotonous proceedings. Some of the tracks are improbably beautiful -- the instrumental "Aili" being a particularly fine example -- and even though a couple of the tracks merely drag along, offering little in the way of either movement or intensity, this is a promising album that any fan of Low or even Cowboy Junkies would be well-advised to check out.

Stein Haukland



It's late summer, and you and your hip friends decide to head out to an end-of-summer barbeque on the outskirts of town, thrown by some people you knew in high school. You pile into your friend's new convertible and head out into the moonlit night, taking in all of the summer hums of grasshoppers and locusts as you cruise into the timeless night. Your shotgun-riding friend pops in a new CD and the car silences. Everyone in the car quickly pass glances, as everyone begins to notice the graceful sky, filled with countless stars and fireflies. Is it a car commercial, or the perfect setting for Blessed are The Trials We Will Find?

The members of Tiger Saw aren't trendy, Nick Drake-lovin', Volkswagen-shilling ad execs. They create their own visual landscape in "How to be Timeless Tonight" by capturing the simple beauty of feeling infinite on a quiet summer night. Juliet Nelson and Dylan Metrano match up for a breathy chorus, while an unobtrusive organ soars under their voices. "How to be Timeless Tonight" picks up at the point when the kids in the Volkswagen commercial decide to skip the party and continue listening to the music.

Deliberately contemplative and melodic, Tiger Saw pass effortlessly through twelve tracks of beautifully arranged songs. Whereas other slow-core groups often shy away from full and lush arrangements, and prefer the stripped down setting for their quiet tales, Tiger Saw embrace cellos, violas and organs to enhance their sound. "Dreaming of Leaving" is a wonderfully orchestrated instrumental that weaves sounds in and around the listener, as soaring lines from the viola wrap around the listeners' ear, leading them into a dizzying array of sound.

Blessed are the Trials We Will Find balances the group's unblemished musical talents with sincere and succinct lyrics. Shining with graceful harmonies and delicate strings, Tiger Saw create a tone and mood that people have long forgotten: cruising with friends, feeling infinite. And perhaps best of all, they're not trying to sell you anything.

- Melissa Morris



Massachusetts-based Tiger Saw deliver a superb indie-rock album with their second album, Blessed are the Trial We Will Find. It is everything it should be: fun, intelligent, quirky and interesting. Tiger Saw's cerebral approach paints hopes with rich texture, further refined by sparse arrangements. A natural beauty results. Sonically and lyrically, Tiger Saw is ready to challenge your expectations.

Tiger Saw moves away from conventional rock attitudes as much as possible. This album suggests a return to the pre-"alternative rock" world of classic indie rock. Their loping songs are always charming. A delicate touch characterizes their style. With dreamy overtones (all the rage among hipsters these days), Tiger Saw remains emotionally direct. You get the sweetness without the sappiness.

The title track starts the album with force (phrased to almost recast the Del-Vikings classic "Come Go With Me"). Actually, the entire first half of the album is a monumental success. Tiger Saw never wavers. Dylan Metrano is the ringleader of the band and writes all the lyrics. His folk songs turned lullabies are sedately precocious. Falling somewhere between underdogs and heroes, the group forges ahead. Their harmonies keep them a step ahead of predictability. A psychological focus makes the songs timeless and modern. The calculated hesitation is profoundly memorable.

Blessed are the Trial We Will Find is in many ways reminiscent of the Raincoats, the Velvet Underground's third album, or Low. While you can trace influences, Tiger Saw's sound is unmistakably their own. Twinged with heartfelt sentiments, Blessed are the Trial We Will Find begs to be heard.

The album's only flaw is that by the end it gets too complacent. This only becomes an issue looking at the album as a whole and is not the fault of any particular song. It seems like it will run out of steam about three-fourths through. The pace remains so constant throughout that some more up-tempo passages seem lacking. Fortunately the album finishes strongly, with the momentarily dark instrumental "Aili" and the smooth "If Ever You Have Slept on an Island."

Blessed are the Trial We Will Find is full of incisive personal statements. This is an album to get excited about. It sparks something deep down. This might not be an out-and-out classic but it comes close enough to note. Tiger Saw can't be ignored or forgotten. They have proven a key band to keep an ear trained on.

Austen Zuege



Tiger Saw seemly follows in the footsteps of other "slow core" artists. One man (Dylan Metrano) has a vision; he tries to put that vision into practice… but has a hard time finding a band that shares in his vision. In the beginning, Dylan had a problem finding musicians willing to conform to the style of music in his head. The band saw its members go in and out in turnstile fashion, until a line up was finally nailed down. The band, now in its third year, has finally put out a proper full length (Tiger Saw had a self-released album in 1999 titled "How to Be Timeless Tonight"). The album strikes me as a throw back to the early days of the "slow core" movement. Instantly, I’m reminded of bands like Galaxie 500, Spain and early Low. The Galaxie 500 reference is very clearly heard on tracks like the opener, and title track, "Blessed are the Trials We Will Find." A song where the wavy guitars push through the reverb and delay, and the vocals are placed in short burst. The influence of Spain can be heard on most of the tracks, but it might not be as noticeable as the Galaxie 500 comparisons. Tiger Saws’ sound is just as much formed around mellow jazz as that of Spain. "Aili", one of my favorite tracks, is heavily rooted in jazz, but that can be easily overlooked because of the presents of a beautiful cello line. And thoughts of early Low come to mind when you hear the bass lines, and duel male/female vocals in tracks such as "Experience" and "Stall The Night". Although the duel vocals are featured on most of the album, it doesn’t feel like they are lifting the whole idea from Low. Juliet (Nelson) and Dylan’s vocals seem to fit together in a completely different way from that of the married couple of Low. Dylan more whispers the lyrics rather than singing, and he also has a way of making the songs seem like they were formed around a poem instead of lyrics around some music. Overall the album conveys a subdued feel, with heartbreak and loneliness being common themes. With those themes rapped around sparse melodic wonderment… well, it’s an album I find myself liking more the more I listen.


All Music Guide

Whether Tiger Saw's Dylan Metrano and Juliet Nelson are an item is anyone's guess, but their band's hushed, melancholy sound, lovely boy-girl harmonies, and overly ponderous lyrics so clearly recall other slowcore couples like Low's Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker or Ida's Dan Littleton and Elizabeth Mitchell that romance would seem an inevitable element of the equation. Luckily for Blessed are the Trials We Will Find, the music isn't nearly as clunky as the album title — though plainly a product of their influences, Metrano and Nelson possess voices that complement each other beautifully, and the songs' plaintive melodies and spectral arrangements would do early Low and Ida records proud. If and when Tiger Saw will evolve to create records of comparable beauty and grace as their inspirations remains to be seen, but Blessed are the Trials is a good start. — Jason Ankeny



As a genre, slowcore at it's best has always been a beautiful lesson in musical patience and restraint, and Tiger Saw's Blessed are The Trials We Will Find is no exception. Uncomplicated by extraneous playing or over-orchestration, the ten songs on this Kimchee Records release are direct and simple, seemingly too much so for a listener to even take notice, but one soon finds these songs live in their subtleties and longevity, not in their immediate impact. The harmonies of Dylan Metrano and Juliet Nelson carry Metrano's romantic lyrics with a detached whisper, creating an emotionally complex balance between pure artistic expressionism and calculated song craft. Similar to other slowcore bands with both male and female singers, such as Damon and Naomi, Low and Ida, their voices reflect more of a universal sense of emotion than the songwriter's personal turmoil. Songs such as "I Keep My Misfortune", rely on an everyday language of loss more than any poetic inovations, with lyrics such as it's opening lines "Tonight we start over / Tonight we start anew / You wish I could be different / And I wish the best for you". This isn't to say the lyrics are a weakness, rather they keep the songs from burdening the listener with the emotional responsibility of the singer's experience and instead let the listener appreciate the story of that experience from a safe distance. E-bowed guitar, viola and cello add touches of texture and harmony to the largely guitar and vocal based sonic landscape, with minimalist bass, drums and keyboards in support. Only the uninspired performance and painfully poor sound quality of track eleven, "Carefree", keeps Blessed from being a gorgeous and powerful album that should be listened to straight through in one sitting.

- Jesse Perkins


The Scoop: A somberly soothing album about the in-between periods of love. Dylan Metrano’s fragile lyrics ask plenty of questions (the most indicative one being "Carefree, are you still in love with me?"). Juliet Nelson harmonizes with him, giving Tiger Saw a pleasant, familiar sound that reminds at times of Ida and Cowboy Junkies.

Highlight Track: The instrumentals "Dreaming of Leaving" and "Aili" are...well, it’s hard not to use the over-used word "lovely." And yet painful at the same time. Tiger Saw seamlessly blend strings (cello, viola) into their songs, giving them a weightier (and, in this case, more mournful) feel. Not a new formula, perhaps, but definitely a working one when done this well.

Honorable Mention: Metrano is at his best in "I Keep My Misfortune," a touching song in which he asks a departing lover to remember him as if their love was still true.



Here we have another release by Kimchee records. Contrary to the Geoff Farina release on the same label, Tiger Saw´s "Blessed are the Trials We Will Find" features eleven (real) songs, played by this band from Newburyport, which consists of up to six members. Tiger Saw´s music is liking drinking a warm tea after having spent an afternoon walking through snow covered woods, inhaling the fresh and cold air. It makes you feel warm inside. Tiger Saw use a broad range of instruments to create their sound, for example guitar, bass, drums, viola or cello. Furthermore most songs are sung by a female and a male voice, which go along together like spaghetti and tomato sauce do. If it wouldn´t sound as worn out I would say this is music to make love by (at least it is more suitable for doing so than Dan the Automators last album...). So if you like the newer stuff of Yo La Tengo you´ll dream along to lines like "if ever they knew you fell. if ever you have dreams to tell. then come in, come home." Not to forget that computer nerds will also find a video on this enhanced CD. So Tiger Saw is out to make everybody happy and satisfied. (by jan)


Dallas Music Guide

Like a fragile night alone missing the one you love, Blessed are The Trials We Will Find is a usually neglected gentle tug of the heartstrings. With a nod to other bands like Low, Red House Painters, and even late Velvet Underground, Tiger Saw have created a collection of 12 new songs that actually make you stop and feel something personal.

The band shows a sensitive and understanding insight, which is very refreshing in this day and age. With lyrics like "I'll wait outside/ I'll stall the night/ And when you cry/ I'll try to make it alright" in "Stall the Night", any lonely heart will easily be able to identify with the drowsy harmonies and weepy cello.

"Carefree", the second-to-last track on the album, is nothing more than a duet between Juliet Nelson and Dylan Metrano, a melodica, and barely a guitar. It is one of the most haunting songs I've ever heard, reminding me of depression-era music my grandparents used to listen to. Beautiful, simple, and heartbreaking; Tiger Saw somehow managed to pull off all three aspects without seeming obsessive over junior high poetry.

Like a familiar lullaby heard long ago, this album provides a certain level of comfort that seems familiar and surreal all at the same time. Perfectly suited for those who hold a flame for heartrending lyrics and unhurried melodies.

- Christina Comley


Privy Magazine

In the title track to Tiger Saw’s Blessed are The Trials We Will Find, vocalist Juliet Nelson voice floats in over a reverbed guitar crooning “Gone to bed, gone astray, gone haywire, going my way.” And we’re off. The band’s sophomore album, Blessed is the end of a breezy-summer twilight with the dual-vocals of Nelson and guitarist/lyricist Dylan Metrano, accompanied by a number of melancholic instruments, namely violin, cello, and organs dancing slowly across the landscape.

From the title track on, the music rarely breaks off from the same rhythm of deliberate and melodic. Instead of a quick-hitting thunderstorm of noise with crashing drums and heavy guitars, the music soaks in like a slow and steady rain. From "I Keep My Misfortune to Stall the Night," to the hypnotic "Stay," Metrano’s lyrics and Nelson’s liquid voice sway back and through the music. The sugary-little instrumental "Dreaming of Leaving" only furthers the point.

Occasional breaks in the tempo peek in through the clouds such as the quirky little organ solo breaking up the middle of "How to be Timeless Tonight." Blessed is certainly not a sunny pick-me-up kind of album, but is a must have for times of wanting and heartache. By the time you’ve heard the album’s final song "If Ever You Have Slept on an Island," with its seven-plus minutes of gentle Cowboy Junkies reverb and wavy vocals- you’ll already be there when Metrano and Nelson beckon: “If ever you, restlessly. If ever you have watched the sea. Then come in, come home.”

- Jason Nark


Calamity Project

this is northampton, ma band tiger saw's second album, a well done indie-rock album. the band tends to drift away from the conventional rock aspect and instead delivering an unconventional, yet soft and dreamy sort of sound. the emotion put forth on this record isn't a re-hashed emotion like you get with your typical emo band or typical indie band. the emotions put forth on this record are a more unique and direct brand.

overall, this is definitely a record that is great to relax to. it has a lullaby like feel to it, and is a great quiet record that remains unique from it's start to it's strong finish.



Tiger Saw are from Newburyport, Massachusetts, or, at least, that's where they began. After writing most of their debut alone in Los Angeles, Dylan Metrano brought those songs home to Newburyport, where he found like-minded souls to help him bring those creations to life. In listening to their records, it seems he found more along the lines of kindred spirits who were lying in wait for this sound to come along. It is not a wholly original sound (are there any of those anymore?), as Tiger Saw play primarily slowcore music in the vain of Low or 27. But it is a new twist, as most songs possess a jazz structure, but a rock-like instrumentation. And it is a lovely listen. Blessed are the Trials We Will Find is Tiger Saw's sophomore release after their self-released 1999 debut. The songs found here will appeal to you because of their sheer beauty, and the strong ensemble that performs them. The duel-vocal syrup of Juliet Nelson and Metrano is a perfect complement to the instrumentation, mainly guitar and drums, but with occasional strings, organ, and even melodica thrown in for good measure. The thing that stands out the most, though, is Metrano's lyrics, which, thankfully, never seem to rest on one particular subject or genre. True, he does write of relationships between people more than once on Trials, but he also writes of being lost at sea, and of being alone. And you know instantly what he speaks of, and where he's been. It's that familiar in listening. The two instrumental tracks also show off the versatility of the band, and the comfortable way the have with their instruments. Also included on the CD is a video for a beautiful song called "Nightingale" that is quite well done. Check out Tiger Saw: you'll be glad you did. - Rob Devlin


Weekly Dig

Such is the stuff of dreams: hazy guitars and voices, stretches of cello and simple melodies. Such, then, is the stuff of the Boston-based group Tiger Saw and their new album, Blessed are the Trials We Will Find. Taking their cues from the minimalist grace of Low, Tiger Saw has created an album with no sharp edges; it's music as delicate as a china teacup, with beauty hiding in the empty spaces. Things move from wistfully slow to quiet pop and always seem like they could break out of the mold and explode midway-but never do. And that's what makes this band so nice; the listener is never roused from the honeyed drowsiness Tiger Saw induces. The only real flaw is that there can be too much of a good thing; more contrasts between songs would've staved off feelings of monotony, although that may well be the only stumbling block encountered here. Music for spooning, indeed. (Hallie Engel)



Tiger Saw goes for the emotion. The colleague's Kimchee artists or blending often the slow with the emo core, but Tiger Saw goes certainly for the slow core.

Very good worked out easy rippling listening songs which are beard by the voices from Juliet Nelson and Dylan Metrano. The total sound is not so minimal as example number one Low. There are many participated on the record who are responsible for extra "moods" with viol, cello, organs etc which complement the traditional bass, drums and guitar. They mixed the minimal from Low with the gloomy and fuller sound from for example Copenhagen.

A band to keep an eye on.

Tiger Saw gaat volledig de emotionele toer op. De collega's Kimchee artiesten mengen graag de slow met de emo core, maar Tiger Saw gaat duidelijk voor de slow core.

Zeer goed uitgewerkte kabbelende luister liedjes die gedragen worden door de stemmen van Juliet Nelson en Dylan Metrano. Het totaal geluid is niet zo minimaal als voorbeeld nummer één Low. Er zijn veel participeerders op de plaat die zorgen voor extra "stemmingen" met viool, cello, orgels etc die de traditionele bas, drum en gitaar bezetting complementeren. Ze mixen het minimale van Low met het treurige maar vollere van bijvoorbeeld Copenhagen.

Een band om in het oog te houden.


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