Posts Tagged ‘Minor Victories’

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May 10th, 2018 is a date that many indie music fans will never forget. It is the day we learned that Frightened Rabbit front man Scott Hutchison said goodbye to the world. Unfortunately, we never got the opportunity to say thank you for being the best friend we needed in our most difficult times. He did, however, leave one last parting gift, which he crafted with his brother and fellow Frightened Rabbit Grant Hutchison and siblings Justin Lockey of Editors and James Lockey of Minor Victories. Together, the four formed the super-sibling rock band mastersystem. Their one album, Dance Music, is, well, a modern-rock masterpiece.

Opener “Proper Home” leaves no doubt that Dance Music is meant for cavernous rock halls. The stormy fervor of “Notes on a Life Not Quite Lived” is the closest thing to a Frightened Rabbit track on the record. It roars like a full-throttle engine that spews reverb-heavy dueling guitars and propulsive percussion. Scott’s lyrics are poignant and heavy, as he sings of “lessons learned”, being “lost in a deep abyss”, and finding “hope in hopelessness”.

The final album by the late, great Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, this side-project with members of Editors, Minor Victories  took his brutal and introspective poetry into gnarlier terrain to create something much like its Sega console namesake: simple, free of frills, nostalgic, and yet weirdly futuristic at the same time.

Frightened Rabbit, Editors and Minor Victories combine for maximum heavy riffage. For more: Debut album released 6th April 2018 on Physical Education Recordings

Mastersystem go full bore The Pogues with a heavy dose of A Place To Bury Strangers on “The Enlightenment”. As Grant’s militaristic drumming leads the way, Scott poignantly tackles his own existence and purpose. A similar introspective tone percolates on “Must Try Harder”, which wails with the ferocity of Smashing Pumpkins in their prime. A moment of brief reprieve occurs on the pulsating, politically-driven “Teething”. Meanwhile, a more melodic approach is adopted on the grungy “Bird is Bored of Flying”, which highlights Scott’s philosophical songwriting style. As his band mates quietly rage, he smartly confronts people’s obsession with wealth. He hollers, “We all want fire until it starts to burn”.

The album’s peak, though, is “Old Team”. It is a song for the underdog and all seeking to “get it right”. The Hutchisons’ trademark fervor is brilliantly meshed with the signature Lockey scorching depth, resulting in an epic anthem. It’s a fist-pounding, tear-down-the-walls number that will have people yelling, “Nobody fuck with me!”. These words seem apropos for Mastersystem, who unleash a sonic fury reminiscent of the great alt-rock bands of the past. It’s an LP that is among the very best rock outputs of the year and one that rivals the very best of the ’90s.

Dance Music is out April 6th via Physical Education Recordings,

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Image of Minor Victories - Orchestral Variations

Ninor Victories – Orchestral Variations

This summer, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey and his brother James came together to release their debut album as Minor Victories. Currently in the midst of a run of live shows throughout Europe, the band are pleased to announce their utterly stunning instrumental interpretation of the self-titled record, entitled Orchestral Variations.

What better way to hear the gorgous backdrops and impeccable arrangements behind the brilliant Minor Victories album than by hearing the instrumentals all on their resplendent tod. Soaring strings, beautifully poignant interludes and heart-breakingly serene segues. A fantastic companion piece for those who enjoyed the first, and a truly stunning stand-alone for those who didn’t.

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Ty SegallOrange Color Queen

Ty Segall has made whole records that wrestle with realities — fighting against some, pulling mightily to bring others into being. Of late, he’s thrown up his hands and donned clown shoes, dancing merrily in the dual role of oppressed/oppressor! His hands aren’t any more or less dirty than anyone else’s — but amidst the thunder and the chaos of the ongoing storm, he’s looking for the eye within.

The new self-titled record — the next record after Emotional Mugger, Manipulator, Sleeper, Twins, Goodbye Bread, Melted, Lemons, and the first self-titled album that started it up in the now-distant year of 2008 — is a clean flow, a wash of transparency falling into a world that needs to see a few things through clearly, to their logical end. It’s got some of the most lobe-blasting neckwork since the Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse (from way back in the long, hot summer of 2012), but it also features a steep flight of fluent acoustic settings, as Ty’s new songs range around in their search for freedom without exorcism, flying the dark colors high up the pole in an act of simple self-reclamation.

The construction and destruction of his chosen realities has, until now, been a luxury Ty has rightfully reserved for himself, striping overdubs together to form the sound — but for this new album, he entered a studio backed by a full band — Emmett Kelly, Mikal Cronin, Charles Moothart and Ben Boye — to get a read on this so-called clarity. This leads to a new departure in group sound, as well as some of the most visceral and penetrating vocal passages yet heard from Ty Segall.

“Freedom/Warm Hands” puts the “sweet” back into suite; “Orange Color Queen” is a supreme moment of tenderness; “Talkin’,” a roots-infused truth-attack. “Papers,” looks behind the doors of Ty’s process; “Break A Guitar” is a brutal fun-fest pitched to the back of the house. Ty Segall keeps you guessing, bracing your skin with a welcome astringency, seeking to stem the bleeding with chunks and splashes of guitar, tight beats, audio-verité toilet smashes, a Wurlitzer electric piano in a jam, blazing harmonies, and LOTS of songs to sing. There’s no concept beyond that; finding the right places to be is a momentary thing. Ty Segall is the sum of his songs — and about getting the free. The free to be!

Another self titled album? Who are these crazy fools? They’re Ty Segall, that’s who and they can do exactly as they wish if they keep churning out rocking classics like these. Much more punky than sludgy, with more in common with early Pixies than their more recent output. Driven, rocking and absolutely essential.

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Horse Thief  -Trials and Truths

Two years after their widely feted Bella Union album debut Fear In Bliss, Oklahoma quintet Horse Thief have created another surging, crafted beauty in Trials and Truths. The record’s unified feel still contains many contrasting elements, sounding both panoramic and nuanced, intimate and anthemic and vibrant and contemplative, while frontman Cameron Neal’s lyrics range from the confessional to the metaphorical as he surveys the passing of time. For Trials And Truths, Oklahoma quintet Horse Thief reunited with producer Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver).

Image of Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

With the release of their second album, Celebration Rock in 2012 the band embarked on what seemed like an endless world tour, performing over 200 shows in over 40 countries, and played their final show in support of Celebration Rock in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2013. They would not perform live again for three years. Their third album, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, was written clandestinely in Vancouver, Toronto, New Orleans, and Mexico City. It was (mostly) recorded at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, BC (Fall of 2015), with one song, “True Love And A Free Life Of Free Will”, recorded at Golden Ratio in Montreal, QC.

The title, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, comes from a passage in the novel A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce: “He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life.” Like their prior albums Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock, the album is 8 songs. This is because 8 songs is the standard template for a great rock n roll album. Like Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock, the album was sequenced specifically for the LP. On Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, side A (songs 1-4) and side B (songs 5-7) each follow their own loose narrative. Taken together as one, they form an even looser narrative, with the final song on side B (song 8) acting as an epilogue. If Celebration Rock was the culmination of something, then Near To The Wild Heart Of Life can be considered the beginning of something else.

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Arcade Fire  –  The Reflektor Tapes

The Reflektor Tapes is a visually stunning and hypnotic documentary about the making of Arcade Fire’s hugely successful 2013 studio album Reflektor by director Kahlil Joseph . The film received its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary captures recording sessions, live performances and the band’s time in Haiti, a country with which they have a long-standing relationship. The second disc in the set features Arcade Fire’s full length live concert from Earl’s Court in London on 6th June 2014 during the Reflektor tour, which perfectly complements the documentary.

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Cloud Nothings are back with ‘Life Without Sound’, the follow up to 2014’s ‘Here And Nowhere Else’, on Wichita Recordings.

Lead singer and guitarist Dylan Baldi maintains simple, admirable standards in quality. “A thing I like to do with all of my records is drive around with them,” the 25-year-old Cloud Nothings front man says. “In high school, I would listen to music for hours like that: just driving through the suburbs of Cleveland. And if it sounds good to me in that context and I can think of high school me listening to it and saying, ‘That’s okay,’ I feel good about the record. This is the one that’s felt best.”

‘Life Without Sound’ is the radiant fourth full length Cloud Nothings have recorded since Baldi began writing and releasing songs on his own under the Cloud Nothings alias in 2008. While its highly acclaimed predecessor, 2014’s ‘Here And Nowhere Else’, came together spontaneously in the little time that touring allowed, ‘Life Without Sound’ took shape under far less frenetic circumstances.

For more than a year, Baldi was able to write these songs and flesh out them out with his bandmates – drummer Jayson Gerycz and bassist TJ Duke – before they finally joined producer John Goodmanson (Sleater Kinney, Death Cab For Cutie) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas for three weeks in March of 2016. The result is Baldi’s most polished and considered work to date, an album that speaks to his evolving gift with melody while also betraying the sort of perspective that time provides.

Image of Allison Crutchfield - Tourist In This Town

Allison Crutchfield – Tourist in This Town

CD is 4-panel digipak, LP includes full album download. The debut full-length by Allison Crutchfield titled Tourist in This Town sonically pulls back the curtain on her life and places Crutchfield center stage, fully revealing her power, conviction, and grace. The Alabama native has immersed herself in music since her teenage years, forming notable bands such as P.S. Eliot and Bad Banana (both with her twin sister Katie of Waxahatchee). In 2012, she co-founded Swearin’—the band in which she would truly begin to formulate and understand her full potential as a songwriter—and in 2014, she recorded and released her first solo EP Lean In To It. Her debut album is an accomplished work that integrates her past musical experiences with a pronounced growth in arrangement and instrumentation.

Tourist in This Town was made at Uniform Recording in Philadelphia with Jeff Zeigler, who is known for his work with Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn, and Mary Lattimore, among others. His synthesizer collection and related expertise proved an alluring draw for Crutchfield, who had started incorporating synths into her work when she branched off into a solo career. “This record marked a sonic transition in the way I think about the element of space in music, and I attribute that mainly to Jeff,” says Allison. “His arsenal and knowledge of analog synths, along with his ear for spatial addition and subtraction within a song, really sculpted this album and impacted me artistically forever.” “Tourist in This Town is completely made up of heightened anxiety and became a clearly defined puzzle that I slowly put together over the course of a year,” says Crutchfield. “It’s a record about change— change of scenery, of partner, of band, of home, of friends, of outlook—and how that change can cause a temporary panic but ultimate triumph in most of us.”

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The remarkable thing about the Minor Victories self-titled debut album isn’t just the astonishing quality of the music produced but also the fact that the band members, as the sleeve notes point out – ‘never shared the same air.‘ Meaning that the album was created ‘remotely’ – ” by swapping ideas, songs, fragments and finished recordings via broadband connections.”  Given this way of working and the differing expectations ( ‘we probably didn’t start off with the same vision’ ) over what this collaboration should yield, the resultant album is a majestic, life-affirming triumph. ”

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Minor Victories, which features Rachel Goswell from Slowdive, Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai, and Justin Lockey of Editors (and his brother James), released their debut album over the summer — the kind of soaring, textural (electronic-tinged) rock you might expect from such a wonderful collaboration.

minor victories

Minor Victories are:

Justin Lockey
James Lockey
Stuart Braithwaite
Rachel Goswell

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Eponymous debut album from Minor Victories, a brand new musical collaboration formed by Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Justin Lockey of Editors, and his brother James. The freedom, the immediacy, the swapping of ideas and incredibly, the fact that all four members have barely spent any time together recording or writing only adds to the heart of the project. Minor Victories unveils the real essence of what a group of talented individuals unshackled by convention can attain. Contributions feature a spectrum of musical tastes that converge from various parts of the UK and US unveiling something beyond the original vision of any of the contributors that pushes new boundaries and new sounds into hitherto uncharted waters that are merely the first steps into the musical world of Minor Victories.