This Saturday, Feb. 2, Minneapolis rockers Kiss the Tiger will host a release show at Icehouse, with special guests the Smokes, in celebration of the band’s second full-length album Let Me Bleed. Fans can expect Kiss the Tiger’s mix of classic, punk, and grunge rock on this new release…with a bit more finesse on the production end. “It’s cohesive but it’s not all the same thing,” said Meghan Kreidler, the five-piece’s frontwoman.
The band originally formed under the name Yours Truly, with Kreidler and her partner, guitarist Michael Anderson. After an initial member shuffle and subsequent Craigslist search, the pair enlisted the band’s current lineup of Jay DeHut on drums, Paul DeLong on bass, and lead guitarist Andrew Berg.
Kiss the Tiger’s first, self-titled, album came out in 2016, and having had a few years to refine their sound and feel more comfortable in the studio, they have the confidence to create a more polished studio album. The record fuses the ’90s grunge rock and pop Kreidler was raised on with a classic rock swagger the other members know well. (DeHut and DeLong are also members of a Queen tribute band that Anderson manages; and DeLong and Anderson, who grew up playing together in Northfield, shred in a Springsteen tribute band, Tramps Like Us.)
Kreidler explains that on the new album, “you have songs that are a little more punky, songs that feel a little more classic rock and more in the vein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and then we have songs that are a little heavier and grittier. I think we’re just kind of exploring the whole scope of what rock and roll can be and trying not to get stuck playing one type of thing.” Overall, the record sounds tighter and less hurried than the band’s first release. Let Me Bleed takes its sweet time oozing, and the lyrics are clear, compact, and drawn in bold strokes.
Kiss the Tiger have honed the mechanics of how they want to operate as a unit, with Kreidler’s sometimes taunting, sometimes dreamy vocals pitching the album forward. The dynamic singer sounds at once spontaneous and deliberate, like she’s performing a set of light-footed fight moves.
The album’s title recalls the Rolling Stones’ 1969 release Let It Bleed. The “me,” according to Kreidler, signifies gaining ownership over one’s own pain and experience. “If you take it a step further,” she wrote in an e-mail, “it can also be interpreted as a feminist statement as well (take that interpretation as far as you like).”
The album’s timely themes range from personal to political. On “Immigrant Song” the environmental and social consequences of the present political administration’s fixation on borders is lamented; “Front Page Face” details a crisis of meaning in the media, and “Bad Boy” ominously chastises those men who abuse their positions of power. “No one ever told you no,” Kreidler groans.
The snappy “Bully,” serves as a warning of Biblical proportions: those who have bullied will soon find themselves stripped of the things they stole from others. “Sooner or later all you have is gone and the truth’s revealed,” Kreidler portends in a snarl.
On Saturday night, vinyl copies of Let Me Bleed will also be available for purchase because, according to Kreidler, vinyl encourages listeners to engage with the arc of an album in a more intentional way. But Kiss the Tiger are most comfortable onstage, and Saturday’s show at Icehouse will showcase that immediate sense of improvisation and engagement.
Kreidler says, “I like to engage with my audience in a way where they feel like they’re a part of the live performance and we’re not playing music at them, but they’re actually the vital part of the equation that makes the live experience.”
She’s also currently rehearsing the role of Rosalind in the Guthrie Theater’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. In an e-mail, Kreidler described Rosalind as “a doer, fast-thinking, creates a space for herself in a male-dominated world out of her wit, intelligence, and bravery…if there is a better way to describe what it’s like being a woman navigating the music world, I don’t know what it is.”
Kiss the Tiger are set for a 331 Club residency in April and a tour in May. Any new music videos? Kreidler hints that late spring/early summer may see another visual released, perhaps with some martial arts elements. Stay tuned.
Lydia Moran is a music and arts writer in Minneapolis.