Band of the Day

2012.04.16

Tiny Victories

Traditional song-craft infused with quirky electronic accents, and a healthy dose of cynicism
There’s more liquor in your glass and champagne in the back, and there are 50 dollar bills in the backseat of cabs.
lyrics from Mr. Bones

Band mates Greg Walters and Cason Kelly formed Tiny Victories in 2010 after meeting in Brooklyn, New York, where both currently reside. Originally from Athens, Georgia, Kelly moved to New York initially to do social work with inner city youths before joining musical forces with Walters. Walters meanwhile spent the better part of the last decade as a foreign correspondent for the war between Russia and Georgia as well as both the Ukrainian and Kyrgystanian revolutions. Their debut EP, Those Of Us Still Alive, was released in February 2012 on Bird Dog Records. Live, their manager David Teller also provides back-up vocals, synths, and samplers. Since the release of their EP, Tiny Victories has been touring relentlessly with stops across the United States with the likes of Hooray For Earth and Neon Trees.

Even though the band’s lyrics focus on the darker subjects of death, ghosts and general ennui, Tiny Victories crafts music that feels unexpectedly fun, uplifting, and energetic. Brooklynite musicians Greg Walters and Cason Kelly formed Tiny Victories in 2010 following two unrelated careers in foreign correspondence and inner-city social work, respectively. With an assortment of electronic instrumentation featured throughout the music, it would be too easy to classify Tiny Victories as electronic musicians and call it a day; but Kelly’s constant presence at his drum set —and the notable absence of a laptop in front of Walters— keeps the band categorically discharged. Grounded firmly in these human elements, Tiny Victories creates strong, straightforward melodies decorated with homespun electronic textures and accents. Tiny Victories’ debut EP, Those Of Us Still Alive, tempers cynical poetry with tangles of quirky synths, cleverly reinterpreted samples from every day life, and a heart beat of organic percussion. Take opening single “Mr. Bones,” which features Walters singing, “When I saw you/you were standing there on the sun/You were tired of feeling sorry for everyone/You said that there was nothing left that you could do/‘cause everything is getting worse and we are, too.” Reading this line might bum anyone out, but when Tiny Victories delivers a sad message on a bed of tickly synths with a driving, fist-pump tempo, the inclination is to dance rather than despair. Meanwhile, the lyrics of album closer “Get Lost” address spookier matters, discussing disgruntled humans dealing with their ghostly counterparts (“I just can’t focus with all you ghosts all around me!”). Instead of assuming the dark tone that the subject matter suggests, the song bumps along playfully to the pulse of a recurring chant (“Hey! Hey! Hey! Alright now!”) and a backbeat fashioned from a sample Walters took of trash being thrown into a Manhattan dumpster. I challenge you to listen to this song and not get it stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Whether sampling from every day life for a unique beat or lamenting it in their lyrics, Tiny Victories makes buoyant, nod-worthy music using a satisfying combination of traditional instrumentation and clever electronic accentuation.