Home Video are Collin Ruffino and David Gross, transplants from the
misunderstood landscape of New Orleans, now living in the brooding
brownstones of Brooklyn, New York. Here they revel in a self-created world
of references to Edward Gorey, Massive Attack, The Brothers Quay, Smashing
Pumpkins, and a dusting of Chopin, references that they have been
collecting for nearly ten years.
The first Home Video song came to them in the dead of winter, the blizzard
of 2003. As the piling snow erased the landscape outside his window, David
huddled over the warm vibrations of an analog synthesizer creating the
simple loop that first inspired their minimalist sound. The fear and
anxiety of New York's atmosphere at the time had eaten its way onto the
pages of Collin's tattered notebooks and became their confessional style
of lyrics. Underlined by a thumping, bass-rich beat, the pairing of the
two worked well and the song evolved into "Melon," the first Home Video
song created and the closing track on the album. Inspired by their new
philosophy, other songs quickly followed and the band sent out demos.
Originally discovered by Warp Records, the label released Home Video's
first two EPs in 2004, both packaged in sleeves illustrated by Collin's
dark, Gorey-esque drawings. That You Might, a 10" single, immediately
picked up considerable attention in Britain from BBC Radio 1 and the NME,
while the five song Citizen EP earned the band a feature in Rolling Stone.
In 2006, New York based Defend Music released their debut full length, No
Certain Night Or Morning. Grammy-nominated DJ Sasha picked two of the
songs from this album to remix for his recently released Involver 2, which
also included reworked songs from Thom Yorke, Ladytron, M83, and Apparat.
As electronic-rock producers and performers, they record everything
themselves, then adapt it live into a full on rock show with live drums
and hypnotic visual projections. After sharing a bill in London at the
start of Home Video's first European tour, Blonde Redhead were so
impressed that they invited the band to support them for three weeks of
shows in North America. Since then they have opened for such diverse acts
as Justice, Yeasayer, Flying Lotus, Pinback, Colder, Radio 4, and His Name
Surrounded by the trend-infested-quick-high of the New York music scene,
Home Video are slow-burning pop that will invade your dreams and memories
It was a whirlwind 2010 for the 22-year old MillionYoung, who is known in his everyday life as Mike Diaz. After self-releasing the "Sunndreamm" e.p. for free at the end of 2009, Diaz released the"Be So True" e.p. to much critical acclaim, including an iTunes Digital Download and a 7.6 from Pitchfork. Throughout 2010, MillionYoung toured the Midwest and East Coast multiple times, including several shows during SXSW and CMJ, with Brooklyln Vegan covering his sets in NYC. MillionYoung finally hit the West Coast in December, recording sessions for KEXP, Daytrotter and Yours Truly along the way. Having spent the year developing his live show, MillionYoung now plays with a dynamic full set-up, including a bassist, drummer, and Diaz himself on keys and guitar.
At the end of 2010, The Guardian UK named MillionYoung one of their best "New Bands of 2010." Now MillionYoung is ready to take on 2011 by releasing their first full-length through Old Flame/Rix Records on February 15. The Line of Best Fit wrote a great review of the album, saying "Replicants explores further and asks more questions of itself than most albums. It finds itself in dark alleys, smoke-filled dancefloors or on sun-drenched beaches. From start to finish the album progresses at a tremendous rate, assimilating styles and sounds, moving through the knee-high water created by its own wash at speed." Broward Palm Beach New Times wrote an in-depth review and interview with MillionYoung, praising, "Replicants definitely comes across as a more mature artistic statement, but it's never stodgy, retaining the loose, breezy feel of Diaz's early works. The difference lies mostly in the execution, perhaps a product of the band's growing confidence as a live entity. But Replicants also reveals a broader musical vision, with Millionyoung no longer relying exclusively on retrofitted synth sounds but also incorporating touches of classic rock, dub, and Motown into the mix."
Replicants is an album of the truest form, progressing from gentle electronic jams at the beginning to full-on pop songs in the middle to a fantastic dance pop explosion near the end. It's an electronic pop record, with influences ranging from Prince and Michael Jackson to Aphex Twin and Spritualized. Replicants is a conglomeration of styles and sounds blending into one build-up of a great album.
Tiny Victories is Greg Walters and Cason Kelly. Their debut EP dropped Feb. 28.
So here’s where the band name comes from (or so they tell me): Greg and Cason were walking down the street in Brooklyn when they saw this guy scraping graffiti off his front porch. Somebody wrote “F— You” on his house. He had this gleam in his eye, like he was getting even with the universe in a small way. “All right, everybody, today is mine.” And Greg’s brother Doug, who was with them, turned around and said: “So what are the opposite of tiny defeats?”
For me, that’s what this music is about: small moments of redemption, amplified. It’s got the spirit of a marching band at a funeral. It’s a party at the end of the world, and you can’t help but join in.
It’s a big sound for just two guys. In their live show, they play electronic music with an array of samplers and gadgets and live drums—no laptop. They’ll sample crowd noises with a microphone during the set, process it live, and weave it into the songs. Their show has an uncommonly organic, improvisational feel for electronic music. I’ve seen crowds completely change when Tiny Victories takes the stage.
If you ask Greg and Cason about it, they’ll tell you every song is an experiment. Each uses a method they’ve never tried before. It’s a process that’s impossibly complicated—they’ve tried to explain it to me, and I just nod my head and stand back.
Once (after a long night of drinking) Greg put it this way: “We make simple songs out of complex pieces.” Take a melody that works on an acoustic guitar. Then orchestrate it with samples that have been reprocessed beyond recognition—like the sound of trash being thrown into a Manhattan dumpster. They sampled that one afternoon, then ran it through a gazillion effects and turned it into a backbeat you can hear in the ending of Get Lost.
I first found out about these guys last year, back when I had a job booking bands in Brooklyn. I’d scroll through hundreds of bands looking for something new, something that stood out. And then I came across these two. It was suspiciously great music.
They formed the band in 2010 after meeting in Brooklyn. Cason moved there from Athens, GA, and spent his early 20s doing social work with inner city kids. Greg, born in DC, moved to New York after six years as a foreign correspondent, covering a war (Russia-Georgia) and two revolutions (Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan). If you ask them to tell you a story, get ready for a crazy one.
Those Of Us Still Alive is their debut album. But these songs don’t sound like a band’s first effort. They have the confidence and consistency of a mature project. It’s an album about how the outside world might not be as bad as it looks, or maybe it is. And it’s about ghosts that won’t shut up.
–Timber Wolf Brooklyn, New York January 2012