Walk into the chain clothing store Forever 21 and you'll see mannequins sporting faded, high-waisted denim, a Nirvana t-shirt and a red lumberjack flannel tied around the waist. In vintage stores, old Pearl Jam shirts and grungy looking pants that are actually from the 90's are being sold for big bucks. This '90s nostalgia has crossed into the musical world.
Whether Title Fight's alliance with '90s culture was a intentionally timed plan or a stroke of synchronistic luck, the Pennsylviania-based punk band is in a position to blow up on the power of their late twentieth century influenced sound.
In the last five years, groups that started out playing pop-punk began transitioning to a '90s grunge inspired sound. Although Title Fight's bassist and vocalist Ned Russin denies it, the band's last album, 2012's Floral Green pushed that trend.
“We aren't the first band to do what we're doing or sound how we sound,” Russin says. “I'd say we do our own thing, but we have clear influences.” Jar, an album by fellow east-coast act Daylight also pushed the '90s trend and Balance and Composure just released their grunge-influenced album The Things We Think We're Missing. “I'm not taking credit for [Daylight's or Balance and Composure's] sound either, but I'm happy to be associated with bands like that.”
With music from bands like Jawbreaker, Texas Is the Reason and Sonic Youth influencing their sound, Title Fight considers their LP's to be the bare essence of their live shows. In the studio, the band decided to try something different and recorded the album straight to two inch tape with the help of producer Will Yip.
The band had longed to record on tape for a long time, but time and money constraints had always held them back. “We decided we were going to try it this time,” Russin says. ”
We had a lot of time booked we weren't really worried about the money aspect.”
The band uses a VCR recorder to make music videos, which creates a corresponding throwback aesthetic. These lo-fi visuals suit the songs perfectly. “We continued the vibe because we liked the style, and we just happened to have a VHS camera.”
Spring Songs, the latest EP from Title Fight, Is the bands most stripped down release yet. Released by Huntington Beach's Revelation Records, the band hopes the EP helps them get back to their hardcore roots.
“Revelation has been a label that completely defined my youth, and continues to define me in adulthood. It was an obvious choice for us to say yes,” Russian said. “It's really a dream come true for me to have the Revelation star on the record.”
Title Fight performs tonight at Glasshouse records and tomorrow at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz.