Pancakes & Whiskey Presents: Tiny Victories, Elliot & The Ghost, Journalism & Debbie Downer

Tiny Victories

Tiny Victories' debut full-length album, Haunts, is full of memories. People you used to know. Rooms where you lived, streets you walked down. The lover you haven't spoken to in years who still lives in your dreams. Because the past is never dead. It's not even past.

Sometimes music is memory. The emotional memory of a songwriter, distilled into a way of viewing the world. Some songwriters are cartographers, mapping an inner landscape of hope and regrets. Each song is an invisible city, populated by ghosts. That is the land, and these are the people, drawn on by Tiny Victories' songwriter and frontman, Greg Walters.

Tell your ghost to leave me alone—

I can't sleep no more in my own home.

The surprise is that Tiny Victories' music is often joyous, even celebratory. Synths and electronic squiggles crash against pounding beats in ecstatic, orgiastic rhythms. Lyrically, though, Tiny Victories' latest album is a compendium of love and loss. The contrast creates rooms of light and shadow (in "Scott & Zelda" or "Systems") or the oceanic catharsis of a party at the end of the world ("Austin, TX" and "This Revolution").

Haunts is a statement of purpose—and a point of arrival. The songwriting evolved in a more focused direction, with a tighter structure, building on a bedrock of experimental sonic architecture. Synth lines cut through through the dense underbrush of electronic soundscapes.

Tiny Victories' latest album was produced and mixed by industry veteran Alex Aldi (Passion Pit, Holy Ghost!) and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Yeasayer, Chairlift, Jay-Z).

Elliot & The Ghost

Elliot & The Ghost came together in 2013 in New York City. Having recently departed from Austin's teen outfit The Steps, singer William Thompson met drummer Daniel Edwards, guitarist Brett Giroux, and bassist Connor Jones. The band's very first performances were held in old Brooklyn loft spaces and scuzzy dives. Within a year's time the group was invited as direct support alongside Weezer, and has since shared stages with B.B. King, The Chain Gang of 1974, amongst many others. The band released their debut EP Is this Love in early 2014. The 5-song set was recorded in the bowels of Brooklyn in a cramped basement apartment. Their limited budget required the band to get creative, mic'ing a staircase to capture percussion, and convincing two clowns from the passing Ringling Brothers circus to contribute trumpet and trombone, all the while having to stop every 5 minutes to allow the rumbling trains to pass by. Artist Direct praised Is This Love as "a vibrant painting with sonic colors spanning Nick Cave-style cinematic musings, surfed-up post-punk guitars evocative of The Smiths and The Clash, and eerily danceable beats, the songs prove instantly magnetic. Still, descriptions don't do it justice. You've just got to let Elliot & The Ghost haunt you." Flavorpill lauded their "brand of Southern influenced pop-rock," and Gimme Shutter declared the disk as "mesmerizing." Similarly, CMJ applauded their "fresh, airy kind of surf-pop in the vein of early Rosebuds or the Shins stripped of cardigans and sent back to a dank basement to get a little tipsy and start all over."

While there is irony in a band calling themselves Journalism, don't confuse it with today's increasingly popular tongue-in-cheek cynicism. With their debut LP Faces (released March 4 on Dead Stare Records) Journalism frontman (and former journalism major) Kegan Zema investigates the very nature of being in a band.

The Brooklyn quartet's long awaited debut is an exciting record that blends boisterous indie rock, fuzzy krautrock, reverberating post-punk, and big hook-fueled pop songs to create anxious and contemplative art-pop that shines in the darkness.

Lush yet gritty, the tracks feature a pounding urgency that underscores the anxiety of figuring out just what the hell you're supposed to be doing with your mid-20's. "You're close enough but you can't taste it / 'Cause you're so bored from all the waiting," sings Zema at the close of the album.

$8.00 - $10.00


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