Although declared "one of the 25 best bands on MySpace" by Rolling Stone in late 2006, Miniature Tigers rose to wider attention with the release of their 2008 debut, Tell It to the Volcano. The band was founded by songwriter Charlie Brand, an Arizona native who avoided his state's sky-high temperatures by writing songs in his bedroom. The resulting material paired Brand's acoustic guitar with a wide range of pop influences -- the Cars' strut, Weezer's snark, Phil Spector's polish -- and Miniature Tigers soon inked a deal with Modern Art Records, a label co-founded by fellow Phoenix-based group Chronic Future. With drummer Rick Schaier, guitarist Algernon Quashie, and bassist Alex Gerber also on board, Miniature Tigers released the breezy Tell It to the Volcano in September 2008.
Between the cross-country tours that followed, Miniature Tigers found enough downtime to pull up stakes and move to Brooklyn, where Brand began writing songs that were more experimental than Tell It to the Volcano's acoustic-based pop. Members of Neon Indian and the Morning Benders were enlisted to produce the material, which was recorded in upstate New York and released in summer 2010 as Fortress.
In 2012, Miniature Tigers returned with the more '80s synth- and dance-oriented Mia Pharaoh. Two years later, they delivered the similarly disco and synth pop-infused Cruel Runnings, featuring production from Chris Zane (Walkmen, Passion Pit).