“Sugar Buzz” by Tiger Bomb. Layout and graphic art by Mort Todd

Portland-based garage-pop and rock quartet Tiger Bomb released its second album, “Sugar Buzz,” on June 1, but if you want to hear the whole thing, you better have a record player.

The band made the bold move to release the album only on vinyl, meaning you won’t find it on streaming platforms like Spotify or Tidal. Many artists rely on streaming to make an initial impression on potential fans who they hope will, in turn, buy their music and attend their shows, but Tiger Bomb is thinking outside that model.

“It’s because we felt that downloads cut into the sales of the vinyl,” said lead guitarist Chris Horne, a Cape Elizabeth native and Portland resident, who loves holding an album in her hands and playing it on a turntable.

Because so much hard work, heart and soul was put into the making of “Sugar Buzz,” she wants fans to have something physical, which is lost on streaming platforms.

“The vinyl-only aspect not only makes it more special, but the limited press run makes it collectible as well,” she said. “Most of our fans are record collectors and music fanatics, and something like this is right up their alley.”

Five hundred copies of “Sugar Buzz,” a follow-up to the 2019 debut album “Uproar,” were pressed, and if you buy one, you’re sent digital downloads to the album’s two singles, “Tell Me More” and “Rave On Again,” which you can hear at tigerbomb2.bandcamp.com.


If those copies sell out, Horne said that the band and their label, Dionysus Records, might re-evaluate digital access to “Sugar Buzz,” and a CD could be made available.

Tier Bomb. Photo by John Keegan, Boston Groupie News

The four women in Tiger Bomb, formed in 2014, are Horne on lead guitar and vocals, Lynda Mandolyn on rhythm guitar and vocals, Amanda Ayotte on bass and Jessica Smith on drums. (Note: On “Sugar Buzz,” former member Andrea Ellis played bass and has since been replaced by Ayotte).

“Sugar Buzz” is indeed candy for the ears, minus the inevitable crash. Like a roll of Life Savers or sleeve of Smarties, “Sugar Buzz” offers many flavorful thrills over 15 jangly, crackling tunes, with bottle rockets of electric guitar licks and enough pop panache to make me want to put on some go-go boots and dance with the likes of Austin Powers on a shaggy rug circa 1966.

The album is already receiving airplay at radio stations around the globe, including in Norway, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada (not to mention the local radio show that I host, “Music from 207” on 98.9 WCLZ).

“Sugar Buzz” hooked me instantaneously with the opener, Horne’s “Astro Girl.” It’s a fun love song that mentions cosmic dust and gamma rays. “As we rock around the stars/Venus, Jupiter and Mars/We’ll launch a satellite of love across the world/I wanna be an astro girl,” sings Horne, while ripping it up with her electric guitar, a 1966 Fender Mustang.

“Stranger in Town,” also penned by Horne, is a brooding tune that tells of a dark soul that should be avoided at all costs. It’s a cautionary tale, packaged in a moody, punchy two-and-a-half minutes.


Horne’s current “Sugar Buzz” favorite is “He’ll Steal Your Love,” on which she plays the Farsisa organ, an Italian model. She describes the sound as “’60s cheesy.”

Mandolyn wrote and sings lead on the title track, which features the lines, “Your love is a sticky sweet/Your lips are good enough to eat/If you love some other one/What is it that we can do?” It’s a song about pining for someone that buzzes like the neon sign in a retro diner where the coffee is bottomless and the pie a mile high.

In a fun twist, a video game named after the band is coming out in about a week or so, thanks to a run-in Horne had with an old friend, Camden-based video game designer Jay Moores, when Tiger Bomb performed at the All Roads Music Festival in Belfast last month.

Keep an eye out in the app store and search for “Tiger Bomb.” The game features “Astro Girl,” and players, called Tiger Cubs, earn “force field energy” to combat interplanetary invaders and giants. The game ends when the song does, and your highest score gets saved for you to try to beat.

You can purchase a vinyl copy of “Sugar Buzz,” which will be shipped to you, for $28 at tigerbomb2.bandcamp.com.

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