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Greyhounds spend more money per year on 180 Gram gatefold vinyl than they do on food. “These Things are Facts”
Buy tickets here, $8 advance, $10 day of.
I was introduced to Victory And Associates through their friendship with The Poison Control Center, and I can see why the two bands get along. There are definitely some similarities in their sound, but they also differ greatly in attitude and philosophy.
These guys, hailing from the bay area, go for the throat at every turn. The vocals and guitars are very aggressive, which honestly was a problem for me at first. On my initial spin through These Things Are Facts, I found it a bit overwhelming. It’s a loud record, and I couldn’t make everything out with my ears ringing. Luckily I always listen to an album a few times before reviewing it. As it turns out, Victory And Associates have a lot to say.
Once I got into it a little bit, and let that inner-skate punk in my soul (maybe that’s where it is) come out and play, things started sounding different. For starters, does anyone else think that Conan Neutron’s voice sounds a little like Fred Schneider’s? No? Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, these guys have a lot more going on than a “Rock Lobster.” Beneath those crushing guitars lay some pretty good lyrics that take on issues above the normal heartbreak and angst. For instance, on the song “Can’t Eat Prestige,” Neutron sings:
Well the war is over, the fight was fixed
a campaign to make you poor, while they stay rich.
This isn’t the last chapter, i’m turning the pages back
we’ve been defending too long, let’s plot a counter attack
You just, live life like you’re under siege
you can’t pay bills with praise, you can’t eat prestige
I’ve been down so long, I stopped making up jokes
I’d need some investors to get up to broke
and it’s like: 1,2,3,4, they declared a class war
and all we declared was bankruptcy
I love the little snapshots of influences the band doles out randomly as well. Sometimes you’ll hear a little AC/DC, then Van Halen, and a bunch of other little things that last for about two or three seconds. And they make them all sound exactly as they should, like a band building on those that came before. The guys that make up Victory And Associates obviously have a good working knowledge of the music that shaped them, and it’s always nice to pay tribute.
Speaking of the band, man they’re good. I mentioned Conan, who sings and plays rhythm guitar, the band also has Shane Otis, who plays some blistering leads, Evan Gritzon playing bass in a tough genre, and Mouse Menough delivering percussion at 128 bpm. They’re a bit more punk than I usually get into, but I find myself enjoying this record more and more with every listen.
What I really want is for them to come out to Chicago and do a show so I can see them live, because I assume their set would be amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to indie rock shows that are mellow, but a show that can pump a ton of energy into a room can be life-altering (see: Titus Andronicus). So please, I’m begging you Victory And Associates, come out to Chicago!
Do yourself a favor and pick up These Things Are Facts when you get a chance. The official release party isn’t until September 16th, but you can listen to the whole thing and purchase it here. I would recommend “Can’t Eat Prestige,” “You Can’t Stop The Signal,” “Get Tough, Get Through It,” and “Home Is Where You Hang Your Hope” as the top songs to get you into the album.
Great site and great review, thanks Music.Defined.
Check out this incredible review of TTaF from the ever awesome Stripwax
This week, Jeff heads out to Los Angeles to talk up Victory And Associates shiny new elpee These Things Are Factswith two of his favorite little characters, Spike and Blondie.
Jeff: So Blondie, did you two swipe yer sister’s car and drive up to San Francisco to catch a Victory And Associates show?
Blondie: Nah. Her car is a dumpster with an engine in it.
Spike: We’d get about as far as Pasadena with that thing. Maybe.
Jeff: Well… good. I was worried about you doods getting arrested. You know what the deal here is, right?
Blondie: We’re gonna talk about These Things Are Facts by Victory And Associates.
Spike: And then yer gonna buy us beer.
Jeff: Yes. We’re gonna go over the elpee track by track but no, I’m not gonna buy you beer. So, this thing opens up with a freaking ANTHEM called “Get Tough, Get Through It.” What’d you guys think?
Spike: Rocks. Rad.
Blondie: It’s fast, dood. I jump around a lot to that one. I’m really glad I sell all my Ritalin instead of taking it cuz like, I probably wouldn’t feel this one, y’know? It rocks.
Jeff: It really sets the tone for the entire elpee. Victory And Associates is such an appropriate name for this band… the common theme through the majority of these tracks is all about overcoming obstacles, and yeah, this one is quick and razor sharp. It’s a great opening track. So the next one is “You Can’t Eat Prestige.” What’d you think?
Blondie: Baller. And the guitars are total baller.
Spike: I thought the singer was saying “You can’t eat crisp cheese.” That’s not what it is?
Blondie: Dood. No. Like, the whole point of the song title is, you gotta get paid at some point. It’s cool that people like stuff that you do and they talk about stuff that you do, but like, you can’t live off of that.
Jeff: And the song itself is again talking about battling the odds, but this time from a particularly working class point of view.
Spike: I wish it was “crisp cheese.” I’m still gonna sing it that way.
Blondie: “Brothers Doing It For Themselves” is another one where, that thing you were saying about getting tough and getting through stuff…
Jeff: Yeah. This one is kind of a DIY fight song, and the whole DIY ethic requires a lot of getting tough and getting through stuff. You guys ever heard Public Enemy? This title reminds me of “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”.
Spike: Don’t know ‘em.
Blondie: Are they old?
Jeff: Public Enemy? Yeah, but their stuff holds up really well. I’ll play some for you sometime. Next up,“Doubtbreak.”
Spike: Yeah. Another fast one with some rad guitars!
Blondie: Another one I like to jump around to!
Jeff: Ok, the guitar interplay is what I like best here. Another band you guys maybe haven’t heard of: The Libertines. “Doubtbreak” opens up just like I remember some harder, faster Libertines tunes. We’ll dig out some Libertines too so you can hear what I’m talking about. Alright, so “You Can’t Stop The Signal” is next…
Spike: Total rock. With pirates, right? Spazzy loud guitar and drum bashing pirates.
Jeff: Definitely something happening on a ship. And that Victory theme comes up again:
“There are other stories, but this one’s ours/We shall not falter we will not cower…”
Blondie: You really like that, huh?
Jeff: The positivity these guys generate? Oh, hell yes. Especially with all the self-pitying crybaby rock bands that are out there.
Spike: Dood. Emo bands. All I can hear is their eyeliner, weeping awa.
Jeff: Later, you doods need to explain emo to me, cuz I don’t know what it is.
Blondie: Spike can probably tell it better.
Jeff: Ok, cool. Now, “Funundrum.” Heh heh. Thoughts?
Spike: HELLA FUCKING BALLER.
Blondie: Spike, like, c’mon. Calm down.
Jeff: He’s right though.
Blondie: It’s ok if we say stuff like that?
Jeff: In this particular case and this particular song, I’d say it’s a dead-on comment.
Blondie: HELLA FUCKING BALLER!
Jeff: Yeah, it’s like listening to an explosion. Best track on the elpee, I’d say, and man, it’s got East Bay written all over it. The Fleshies, Dead Kennedys… its right about here where Victory’s singer Conan Neutron made me think of Jello Biafra.
Spike: Jello Biafra, that’s a cool name.
Blondie: So is Conan Neutron. I’m picturing a dood the size of a Gundam wearing, like, a labcoat with a test tube in his clenched fist.
Jeff: Next up is “Not Returning,” which takes some weird turns. It starts out sounding like… geez, I dunno, like Lene Lovich new wave but ends up in a guitar power overdrive.
Spike: I like that he got out of his town in the song. Like, I can totally relate. I like Los Angeles, but dood…
Blondie: Our neighborhood blows balls.
Spike: Big, hairy balls.
Blondie: “I left my hometown because of cultural toxicity/I needed more than liquor stores and cable tv…”
Spike: I feel that. Throw in a few crackheads outside the liquor store and I totally feel that.
Jeff: Again, this is what I love most about this record — the consistent messaging about overcoming the shit. And you guys, I have to think that these songs were written with guys like you in mind, you know? This song, and a lot of these songs are saying “You don’t have to put up with the bullshit and you can do something about it.”And guys, it’s true, you don’t have to feel like victims. Get tough, get through it, and get out if you need to. Someday you will.
Jeff: “Noises, Voices, You” says the same thing.
Blondie: With some more rad guitar, dood.
Spike: They need to get that shit on Guitar Hero. Seriously. That crazy squealing solo in the middle? Whoa.
Jeff: Ok…“Mistake Museum”?
Spike: Rad name for a song.
Jeff: You know what I like most about this one? The way they salute Police Teeth toward the end with that “little bit higher” chorus.
Spike: Police what?
Jeff: Police Teeth. Let’s make them the first thing we listen to later on. Yer both gonna love ‘em.
Blondie: Truth though… I’ve been skipping over ”Mistake Museum” to get to “Turn Down The Guitars (’11).”
Spike: Yeah, they don’t turn ‘em down at all in that one.
Jeff: And the closer: “Home Is Where You Hang Your Hope.”
Spike: They got tough.
Blondie: They got through it.
Spike: It’s not like the, ummm… rock-est thing on the record.
Jeff: Yeah, I’d say it’s the closest thing to a pop song.
Spike: But I see what yer saying about what, like, what all of the songs seem to be about… getting through stuff.
Blondie: And hope.
Spike: Yeah, hope. Like my Mom hopes all the time she spends on video poker down at the AM/PM will pay off someday.
Blondie: Not THAT kinda hope! Hope in yerself, not in, you know, luck or whatever.
Spike: I know, dood. I think she needs to listen to these songs.
Jeff: Play ‘em for her some time.
Spike: She’s too old. She won’t like it.
Jeff: Think positive, little dood. It catches on. Besides, she can’t be older than me, cuz I’m OLD! Are we recommending this fine new elpee from San Francisco’s Victory And Associates?
Blondie: HELLA YES.
Spike: Yer really not gonna buy us beer, huh?
Victory & Associates – These Things Are Facts (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
:rowdy but melodic indie rock from San Fran featuring the former singer of Replicator (blast from the past there…); this is a West Coast sound filtered through matter-of-fact, Midwestern mannerisms (dig that alliteration) not unlike The Hold Steady: (buy vinyl)