Interviews and Features
Reviews-Plausibly Wild/Wildly Plausible 7″
Reviews-These Things Are Facts LP
Reviews-Turn Down The Guitars split 7″ with Hurry Up Shotgun
Reviews-Karl Rove: Courage and Consequence
What’s Up! Magazine 10/06/2011, Feature interview by Brent Cole
Sometimes, you just come across a band you love. The music is good, and the band is full of cool musicians that make you dig their music even more. Bellingham, meet Oakland’s Victory and Associates. For those that don’t already love them, you will.
Brent Cole: Can you give me some background on the band – how long have you been together? How did you get together? What bands have you guys been in?
Conan: Victory and Associates started playing in early 2010. Everybody in the band has been playing for years in other bands, the most known of which for Bellingham are probably my old bands the short lived Mount Vicious and longer lived Replicator. These Things are Facts is our first full length record, after a 7″, a split 7″ with Hurry Up Shotgun and a compilation appearance. TTaF is accurately categorized as a “get things done” kind of record, it’s a raucous and intense rock and roll affair that has the interesting twist of being a generally positive, motivationally theme. Although we curse like sailors in regular life, there is no profanity in the songs. The idea was to create a fantastic rock and roll band that eschews the cliche and excess of the rock idioms that we all enjoy, play it as honest and as hard as we can, and write some awesome feel good music that doesn’t make you feel bad.
(full version here)
Platon Mag, Interview with Jean-Michel J. Audoubert
In a way this is a concept band, Victory and Associates… it’s in the name, we’re loosely affiliated with success. A lot of the songs with this band are coming from a very sincere place and I think that throws some people off, they immediately are suspicious or think that it’s corny. What we’re trying to do is write stuff that uplifts, kind of a “get tough, get through it” kind of scenario. Some folks get it, some don’t. It can be frustrating that people are constantly looking for a catch or an angle. The angle is that we are trying to make powerful, uplifting rock music. We aren’t a freaking Christian band, we aren’t posi-core, but man… it’s damn rough out there, I don’t know if you’ve noticed? There are hundreds of thousands of bands that write and have written love songs, and there’s a proud history of bands pointing out problems, especially in punk rock. Ok, ok, I get it. And I’m not saying we haven’t or won’t do that, but right now it’s not the mission at all. A lot of bands are almost interchangeable, and that’s a shame. Bottom line: We’re not trying to bring the bummer, we’re trying to do something different, and it’s happening whether people like it or not.
1/27/2010 – Bands of Courage and Consequence, East Bay Express, by Rachel Swan, interview with front man Conan Neutron.
Neutron also formed a new band, called Victory and Associates. Thus, he got to contribute an anti-Rove ditty of his own, entitled “Lies and the Lying Liars That Sell Them” (a spinoff of Senator Al Franken’s new book). Victory and Associates will perform its first show on March 18 at the Hemlock, several weeks after Courage and Consequence hits the streets.
Out-of-towners Victory and Associates set up next and took to it with vigor. Featuring ex-members of a number of popular bay area bands including Mount Vicious, Victory and Associates kept things loose with anthemic good time punk rock party jams. Frontman Conan Neutron is a flashy showman, and used his high energy to stir some life into the room over V&A’s weighty riffs. The band is currently on the road promoting its inclusion on the anti-Karl Rove compilation “Courage and Consequence: The Unabridged Audio”, and also has a 7” on the way featuring their fist pumping tune “Party Savior”.
03/19/2010 – SF Examiner, by Shannon Corr
The Hemlock in San Francisco has been host to some of the best shows this photographer has ever seen. Victory and Associates and Hurry Up Shotgun kept true to this fact.
This was the first show for Victory and Associates but old hat to the players involved. Comprised of ex-members from Mount Vicious, Replicator, Ned, Ghost to Atom, Radio Crimes, My Sunny Disposition – you get the picture. These fellows are no stranger to the rock. This is yet another project for frontman Conan Neutron who, on the heels of releasing the anti-Rove compilation Courage and Consequence: The Unabridged Audio, must have had one more thing to get off his chest. And that he did. Victory and Associates have all the flavors of the best anthemic rock while leaving behind the synthetic lyrics and sophomoric dressings that usually go along with such song writing. The song Thousandaire tells you with unabashed mockery, “you may doubt my success but baby I’m a thousandaire. Millions can bring the bummer but man I could hardly care. I am not much for preaching but lethargy’s a sin. Don’t just prepare to lose you must prepare to win”. Couple this with big crowd pleasing guitar riffs, smart drumming and an urge to fist pump and you get a resounding win all around. If Cheap Trick got into a car crash with Danzig while listening to the song Kids in America, you might end up with Victory and Associates.
Victory and Associates: These Things Are Facts!
There is a bit of a nautical theme that runs through Victory and Associates’ album, These Thing Are Facts! These references to shipwrecks and staying afloat speak volumes to the band’s approach. It’s not just about surviving, but thriving, even when the resources available don’t lend themselves to easy success. In the face of such limitations, it makes the wins, however small, seem miraculous. The optimism of these songs would be anthemic, if it weren’t so constantly threatening to fall apart and that’s just right.
The wins on this album can be attributed largely to the band’s youthful confidence and reckless ambition. They are pushing their talent and their tools to the limit, taking their sound to the brink of where it falls apart and sometimes just beyond. When they can find that sweet spot, as on “Not Returning”, where the singer relates the story of leaving home over the stretch of guitar strings and the swirl of feedback. Musically, it displays a Replacements-style hookiness; lyrically, a Modest Mouse nothing-to-lose howl.
The band displays a definition of success where ambition and process trump results. The approach varies, ranging from Rancid-style call and response to a more traditional guitar jangle chorus followed by a solo. The constant is a reach to be deeper, richer, and fuller. There is an acknowledgement, followed by a rejection, of their limitations. They would rather fail ambitiously than succeed under less challenging conditions. It is an attitude and a state of mind, working best when coming from that least understood place in the gut. In fact, the low points of the album “Brothers Doing it for Themselves” and “Turn Down the Guitars” fail, in large part, because they are too on the nose, trying to explain their ethos and abandon in terms that are too direct.
The songs aren’t reactions to hurt and unfairness, but declarations of independence. While they work as assertions, they don’t, lyrically, take aim at anything too specific and, as a result, don’t hold too much emotional weight. They are stretching themselves thin here, testing the limits of their talent, seeing what they can get away with. It’s an attitude that runs parallel to the Occupy Wall Street mindset. It’s not so much whether your voice is heard, so long as you speak. These Things Are Facts Is about talking the talk. Say something enough and it will become true.
MP3: Victory and Associates “Not Returning”
Victory and Associates — THESE THINGS ARE FACTS lp [Seismic Wave Entertainment]
Okay, first fact: journalistic ethics requires me to divulge up front that I am biased about this album. Not only is singer / guitarist Conan Neutron a friend of mine, but I participated in the Kickstarter fundraiser that made the existence of this album possible. Second fact: even if these things were not true, I would happily sing the praises of this swell, swell band. (I contributed to the Kickstarter fund because I was already a fan of the band and knew they were going to make something worth hearing.) Third fact: the band is a quartet from Oakland, CA who play a loud, bracing form of pop-rock that draws equally from the wells of punk, indie-rock, and classic rock to craft memorable, anthemic tunes that are every bit as catchy as they rock hard. Fourth fact: the guys in this band have all been playing in rocking live bands for some time now; they are not even remotely neophytes at the at the art of fucking you gently in the ear, and their collective dedication to the fine art of winging it in front of drunks has only sharpened their already formidable playing skills. Fifth fact: they write really good songs, primarily uptempo anthems with titles like “Get Tough, Get Through It,” “You Can’t Eat Prestige” (probably my favorite track on the album), “Brothers Doing It For Themselves,” “You Can’t Stop the Signal,” “Mistake Museum,” and “Home Is Where You Hang Your Hope.” They even manage to sound upbeat with tremendous sincerity without coming across as naive geeks (a monumental sense of humor, merely hinted at in the satirical titles, certainly helps). Sixth fact: They are an irony-free band. Humor they have in spades, but they really mean it, and while they don’t take themselves all that seriously, they take their music (and, to an equal degree, their responsibility to their fans and supporters) seriously indeed. Seventh fact: if you buy the vinyl version, you may never make it to the second side because the first side is so awesome that you’ll want to keep it playing it over and over. (When you do eventually flip the record over, you’ll discover that the flip side is just as good.) Eighth fact: There are no bad songs on this album, a rarity in this day and age. Ninth fact: The packaging for the LP version of this release is exceptional. We’re talking 180-gram translucent red vinyl housed in a full-color gatefold sleeve and an accompanying full-sized booklet with amazing photos, lyrics, and liner notes. Tenth fact: Did I mention that Mackie Osborne (that would be the wife of Melvins guitarist King Buzzo, fool, the woman responsible for their memorable album graphics) did the amazing cover art? Eleventh fact: You can preview the entire album in streaming format (and buy it in vinyl or download format) at their Bandcamp site. Twelfth fact: my cats, who have much better taste than I do, approve of this album. Thirteenth fact: if you can’t enjoy an album this awesome (in both sound and packaging), then there is something wrong with you, and you should maybe, like, I don’t know, look into that or something, all right?
Victory and Associates Is a Rock Band, Not a Law Firm — and Celebrates Its New Album Tonight by Ian Port, Sf Weekly 09/2011
Google the phrase “Victory and Associates,” and you’ll find at least three exact matches: a professional recruitment firm in Dallas, a marketing and public relations outfit in Tampa, and a fiery rock ‘n’ roll band from the Bay Area.
The band comes up first — but even if it didn’t, the fact that this bunch of irreverent punk-inclined rockers managed to coin a moniker so perfectly satiric that it is actually the name of square businesses elsewhere is pretty impressive.
That kind of sly irreverence is exactly what we’d expect from Victory and Associates, an outfit that matches anthemic rock with punk energy and sharp-tongued critiques of materialism, narrow-mindedness, and other unfortunate but common traits of American life in 2011. This formula is employed with great proficiency on These Things Are Facts, a new album whose release the band will celebrate tonight at S.F.’s Brick and Mortar Music Hall.
Guitars and drums drive Victory’s music relentlessly forward with the ferocity of post-hardcore, but its songs are tempered with a pop-punk band’s ear for melodies. Lead vocalist Conan Neutron has a muscular shout that lands somewhere between boisterous and empathetic, introspective and ready to pounce, depending on the song. And unlike a lot of punk-leaning rock records, most of the songs on These Things Are Facts actually sound different from each other. Opener “Get Tough, Get Through It” is motivational fist-pumper; “You Can’t Eat Prestige” is a snarling, sarcastic taunt; and later on in the album, “Not Returning” meditates on leaving behind a constrictive hometown before exploding in the choruses. The only song that really falls flat on the album is downtrodden closer “Home Is Where You Hang Your Hope,” whose lyrics carry a bit too many cliches.
Still, through most of these 11 songs, sheer speed and sharp dynamic changes — along with potent singalong hooks — keep the momentum contentious and fun. These Things Are Facts is a smart, energetic listen — punk rock at the heart, but not too serious to throw down a soaring chorus or flashy guitar solo once in a while. It’s good enough to make us wonder if maybe that band name isn’t satiric after all.
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?
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.
Some may remember me posting about Victory and Associates and their campaign to fund their debut record through the Kickstarter program. Thanks to the good people out there that threw a few bucks their way it was a success and come the beginning of August you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy of These Things are Facts. If any remember the Party Savior single that they released and I posted about awhile back, then you might be familiar with the sounds of the band, but if not…well then you’re in for a treat, that is if you’re looking for an album that is filled with nothing but non stop sing along rock.While the band prides themselves in creating rock for ya know…the sake of rocking out…it’s always seemed to me that they also strive to put together songs that would work exceptionally well both on record and in a live setting. It’s hard to sit here and listen to These Things are Facts and not wish that you could be crammed into a small club or bar somewhere seeing these tunes being cranked out live. The songs simply on record, more often than not, achieve their goal of having me unconsciously turning the volume knob up gradually further and further. By the end of it I’m pretty much hitting obnoxiously loud levels that I am sure people near me aren’t necessarily happy about. But then again, maybe they are? Being as upbeat and surprisingly motivational as it is, I’d actually be disappointed if they weren’t. Victory and Associates however aren’t setting out to be rock stars by any means, despite combing through decades worth of riffs and rock staples to incorporate into their sound. Nah, this is more about getting up there, getting sweaty, getting people moving, and having a damn good time while doing so.Those interested in picking up a copy of These Things are Facts can do so by checking out their Bandcamp page where they have it available for pre-order on LP or CD. Obviously digital downloads are set up to go as well. Enjoy!
Damn. Another soundtrack to summer. I totally slept on this band and I’m totally honored to be able to post a review of this album. Victory and Associates are a bay area based indie rock band. The 11 songs on These Things Are Facts are a tight and catchy style of indie rock that’s not afraid to rock out with the best of them. I hear influences ranging from Built To Spill to Weezer and some of the bands currently being put out by latest flame records such as Police Teeth and Trophy Wives. Victory And Associates definitely deliver the goods with These Things Are Facts. Highly Recommended!
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)
The fine people at single piece slate have struck again, making vinyl records happen lovingly handcrafted in their shop, I imagine like a fine piece of New England furniture, or like a 7″ Amish collective, working only in the traditional ways of records, ignoring all technological advances…this time they’ve cut a split featuring Victory and Associates and Hurry up Shotgun who were nice enough to send 7Inches one of these clear, thick slabs of vinyl.”Turn Down the Guitars” is the title of the rack from V&A and I know what you’re thinking, “But that goes against everything these guys stand for!”, and you’d be right, turns out this is a protest song against the sound guy at every venue telling them to turn down the most important element in their arsenal. Hilarious lyrically
he’s not horsing around / its a constant standoff / that’s the reason this song features the bass / no reverb is needed
but then they composed the track to take it one step further, punching in bursts of guitars over mostly bassline, finishing with some over the top Eddie Van Halen soloing. What I can appreciate about these guys beyond the punchy power chords, and frontman Conan Neutron’s (name, perfect) attitude, is that they’re going for broke every time, like Hot Snakes, that massive post-punk energy – the all out party time rock, loud as hell…obviously that’s why they run into trouble with the man trying to bring them down! At the risk of alienating future venues they want you to know they want to rock god dammit! Any band would appreciate this, and should be covered on personal mix tapes and passed around back stage at Bannaroo.
The Hurry Up, Shotgun track “Paths” is dishing out an aural beating of funk-punk, a mix of complex repeated guitar melodies, that progressive bassline and interlockign percussion all off on it’s own…which right away takes me back to the days when I still respected Red Hot Chili Peppers and their combination of styles I hadn’t ever come across before. Borrowing across genre’s, taking their own idiosyncratic parts from everything. I guess you could even go further back with combination’s that Fishbone or Bad Brains pioneered. The energy is similar, and you can hear the decades of rock that came before it in the changes. They don’t ever let up with this completely bizarre core rhythm and frantic, almost metal vibrato vocals. It all comes down into a slow melodic power drone to take the track out on the metal side of things. These two have played together on local bills and this split single brings both of their comparably intense performance styles in friendly competition with each other.
Victory & Associates and Hurry Up Shotgun, Turn Down the Guitars/Paths. Lofty concepts undergird this deceptively simple split seven-inch by two of the Bay Area’s grittiest garage bands. Hurry Up Shotgun provides screamy, dueling-guitar rock in its song “Paths,” while Victory & Associates favors catchy riffs and asymmetrical rhythms. Victory singer Conan Neutron’s voice falls somewhere between a chant and a yowl.
Victory and Associates come on strong with “Turn Down the Guitars,” a catchy lament any loud musician can relate to, namely the eternal running battle between bands who like to play at full volume versus sound engineers worried about preserving their precious PAs. Fronted by vocalist Conan Neutron and rounded out by four other Bay area dudes (all of whom have played, alone or together, in more bands than you can imagine), the band takes pride in whipping up songs that are upbeat and clever without being forced or sappy, and this one is perfectly in that vein, with an interesting arrangement and enormous amounts of energy. The Hurry Up Shotgun track, “Paths,” has a more idiosyncrastic sound; the first half of it sounds like a demented tribe of scattershot punks jumping around to bizarre rhythms along with a lot of shouting, but the second half sounds like slowed-down pop metal, like a radioactive isotope derived from the likes of late-era Husker Du. The single itself is an unusual artifact in its own right — lathe-cut in a limited edition of 100 and made of clear vinyl with no label (making it initially confusing to figure out which side is which, although it’s evident upon listening which song is which). The single version is worth owning just for the swell cover art (hit any of the links below to see for yourself). Both songs are available as downloads via the label or through iTunes, for those sad, sad souls unfortunate enough to not own a record player.
Party Savior/Thousandaire 7″
7 inches blog spot review
The guys from Victory and Associates sent their latest heavyweight gold single on Seismic Wave Entertainment. I love these heavy, thick singles and thick cardstock sleeves. It’s actually printed with a gold ink, not the orangey yellow pictured above, something about this gold and red looks like some kind of ska sleeve or ’50s smooth jazz…it looks like a casino. Maybe it’s just me.
What’s actually going on is crystal clear power pop punk. Catchy power chords and yelling choruses, about…what else? The party. Rocking out, throwing themselves into the riffs and harmonies, everyone’s doing their part. Part Les Savy Fav and part Hot Snakes, it’s scientifically proven punk rhythm and power chords, all at out of control speed.The A-Side,”Party Savior”. If there was any question in what direction they’re taking, then this is their answer. There’s a mythical character called the party savior who is going to turn this whole thing around, be prepared. It might just be Victory and Associates. It might be you…after hearing them. It all comes down to Conan’s vocals, it almost seems like he hardly needs instrumentation. In those moments where they break that frantic melody to keep the track shooting forward with just their harmonized voices and a kick drum, for that fake break, for a chance to kick it all off again. Did you forget how loud it is? They aren’t letting you off that easy. Their going to keep rocking you.
In “Thousandaire”, Conan sets the tone again just vocally, kicking the track off to great back and forth separated guitar riffs that explode together bringing, once again, their massive sound. There’s hardly a moment they pause vocally, if there aren’t multiple harmonies at any given time then someone is calling back in between Conan’s verse. It feels like they literally throw everything they can at the track, there’s no room for a guitar solo. You want to like a band that’s actually inviting you in to go along for the ride as opposed to being left out, fighting to understand what’s going on. I can’t help but picture this live and an audience being on board immediately. Prepare to win.
I could continue thinking about how to describe the energy on both sides of the single, but none of this is ever going to make a difference if you caught them live, they have to be converting fans everywhere.
One Mr. Conan Neutron has been plenty kind in sharing his various music projects with myself and the blog over the past couple years, which I am quite thankful for, being a fan and such. It was only a matter of time after the previous project Mount Vicious dissolved that there would be something new on the horizon. Sure enough the transition to another musical outlet was pretty much instant and with that I am glad to be posting a couple tracks from the latest in Neutron’s cannon Victory and Associates. Along with Neutron in the band are members Paul Miller, Evan Gritzon, Mouse Menough, and Shane Otis whom are all pretty much veterans of rock at this point having been in numerous bands themselves.
With that said, it’s probably pretty safe to assume that Victory and Associates is very much a rock band, and that would be correct. Over the years Neutron has moved steadily from one thing to another, leaving the noise/post-punk style of Replicator behind and shifting gradually towards to a purer rock sound. Mount Vicious was a rather noticeable change, however Victory and Associates takes the fun loving/good time party rock vibe even further and has come out as the purest effort yet. It sort of reminds me of a RFTC at times, obviously minus the horn section, however the energy and anthemic qualities are all there that makes this debut 7-inch from the band a fun time.