The brand-new EP from the Brooklyn disco-punk band is a rally cry against complacency that urges movement, reflection and self-exploration
You never forget your first.
Post-pandemic show, I mean. And I’m not talking about the just-the-tip action in late spring and early summer—the outdoors, seated, socially distanced, slip-a-straw-under-your-mask-to-safely-sip-your-Estrella shows (which, to clarify, I was still incredibly stoked on). I’m referring to the first real show back. The inaugural unmasked, unruly, no-holds-bar bonanza when we were once again granted the right to bear mouths, move freely about the cabin and live our lives less than six feet apart.
For me, that magical return to (near) normalcy was ushered back by TVOD. The band, accompanied by Darkwing, was the first headliner playing to a vaxxed-to-the-max crowd at Our Wicked Lady when they took the stage downstairs for their music-video release show for “Heaven”—a quite fitting title because that’s what the evening’s experience actually felt like. After more than a year of purgatory in the form of social and sensory deprivation, a roomful of people went balls to the wall celebrating what for those whose lives revolve around live music felt like the biggest milestone yet: the ability to cannon-ball back into a sea of sweaty strangers on a sticky floor and move as one ecstatic entity while a guitarist shreds within arm’s reach and a singer ricochets around the crowd and screams (+ maybe spits a bit) into our faces—
And there was no better band in Brooklyn to welcome us back than TVOD.
While I listen to plenty of music in my apartment and on the subway, and there’s no certainly shortage of algorithm-recommended artists whose records I’ve spun into oblivion without us ever occupying the same space or breathing the same oxygen, what really makes me fall deeply, totally in love with a band is their live performance. Enthusiasm is contagious, showmanship is a total turn-on and, simply put, there’s just nothing more magical than watching people do what they love, what they are clearly put on this bizarre little blue planet to do. And that’s very much the case with this band—in particular the mic-wielding madman Tyler Wright, whose destiny, whether due to nature or nurture or fate or fantasy, is without a doubt not just to make music but to get out there and perform it.
And you better believe the live fun didn’t stop back in May. After a non-stop string of summer shows that left a certain contingent of Brooklynites both brain and body dead, with tequila soda-soaked wardrobes and nearly noodle-like necks—a result of the requisite, though 100% involuntary head-banging, as evidenced by me here—TVOD is releasing an EP that allows us to finally sit with and truly (maybe even *soberly*) take in the tunes we’ve been singing and swinging along to for six months, and I truly could not be more proud or thrilled to premiere it here!
From TVOD, this is Victory Garden.
“The album was recorded by the band and some friends throughout 2020 at various studios around Brooklyn, NY,” Tyler told me of the EP over email. “It focuses on the pent-up emotions and frustrations that we were all dealing with during the pandemic. We wrote this album to encourage movement and self-exploration/reflection.”
Pressed into permanence in times of uncertainty, the songs on the album, brought to life when we were all existing in a mandated state of stagnation, feel like a form of rebellion and a rally cry against complacency: a rejection of capitalism, settling down, succumbing to despair and letting love fade away (among other things). And with lyrics ranging from cheeky to dark, earnest to angry, sweet to pretty fucking sad, it all proves that TVOD does more than bring a party—that, like the best punk music, there’s real meaning behind the mayhem and careful thought behind the chaos. That the band’s music has both bark and bite.
Ahead of the release, Tyler sent over some thoughts on the seven tracks, sharing a little bit of background and some intel on the inspiration behind each (which I paired with some of my personal favorite lines).
VICTORY GARDEN—TRACK BY TRACK:
Devil’s advocate // I’m not a lyricist // I just wanna tear it all down
“Wrote this one about the memories I have of when I first moved to New York City. I would aimlessly walk around Times Square and Union Square for like hours, before riding the L back to my apartment in East New York. I love to people watch and this song is kind of an ode to all those characters I saw during that time in my life.”
I’m free to live // Don’t smother me // Can I forgive? // I don’t feel so pretty
“This song is actually a cover by a band named Skinned Teen. They were this really cool all-female punk band from England back in the early ’90s! I randomly found the song one day and have been obsessed with it ever since. Go listen to the OG version! “
When there’s no hope // Greetings from HEAVEN
“This song is me just bitching about my day job and the pandemic. I wrote this when all anyone ever did was check the sick/dying count that the news was putting out. It’s definitely one of the darker songs on the album.”
Now take a look around // At the choices that you’ve made // And the trouble that you’ve caused // As you blew it all way
“The music for this one came about during one of the first snowfalls of 2021. We had all been getting a little friendly with a bottle of pinot and the bouncy melody of this song plopped out. The lyrics are about my desire to leave my hometown as a kid and my constant need to travel/be on the move. Lol I have a hard time sitting still!”
“Wells Fargo Bank Account”
All I want is to be adored by you // Held by you // Touched by you // Fucked by you
“During the first two weeks of the pandemic, I was completely unemployed and going crazy. I would sit in my room all day and write songs thinking that I would never be able to play them in front of people anymore. Couple that with the depleting numbers in my bank account and this song was born.”
Learn to accept it // Some things are permanent // It doesn’t need to be perfect // To make a difference // So let’s make a difference”
“Nicole and I wrote this one at her dad’s camp in Upstate NY. Our friend Devon was randomly talking about Victory Gardens and I became really fascinated with them. The idea that people would create these gardens of hope during times of such despair pulled my heartstrings and inspired me to create this one.”
Cuz I could never give, no I could never give you up // But maybe one day, maybe one day I’ll grow up // Cuz the money makes the world, but money makes the world go ‘round // Ah, too bad
“This is actually the first song I ever wrote for TVOD. Lol I actually wanted our name to be Wallmart, but the crew said that would be band suicide. It’s about how the U.S. is a typical capitalistic monster and it’s a cry for the people of our generation to change that.”
I’m rooting for the underdog // And the man inside the monster
“Another Nicole and I number. We wrote this one while we were falling for one another and living in a DIY venue called The Palace. The lyrics have to do with how I wanted to keep our relationship from ever fading away like my parents’ had. A lot of the lines in this are about me hoping that my traumatic past doesn’t rear its ugly head into our relationship.”
Victory Garden is out everywhere TOMORROW (which, by the way, is Bandcamp Friday). Spin that shit on repeat all weekend and don’t miss your opp to get in on that sweet, sweet live action at the band’s release show featuring quite the crew (Tyler, Nicole Sisti, Shaun Wong, Kate Black, Cade Weidenhaft, Jason Wornoff, Mem Pahl and Lyzi Wakefield) NEXT TUESDAY at Our Wicked Lady with a roster featuring some of the best live bands in Brooklyn: My Son The Doctor, Spite Fuxxx and Grand Army Reapers.
SO! Since I’m gonna go ahead and assume that your brain and body have at least partially healed since this shit show of a summer, whaddya say we go tear ’em up again, eh? This is gonna be a fun one. I’ll catch ya in the crowd—
For the band’s Best-in-Brooklyn takes, head this way.
Feature image (provided by the band): Jessica Gurewitz