In Service of the Villain

by Your Team Ring



After the release of Homelife, Gabriel was introduced to the music of UK-based Richy Midnight through underground film director Joseph Huertas. When Gabriel heard Midnight’s “Boyz Here” he knew had at last found someone suffering from the same strain of multi-tracking syndrome. Gabriel made an ecstatic overseas phone call begging Midnight to work on the new album already in progress.

The result is In Service of the Villain. The new album pits Walsh’s folksy strummings and incantations against Midnight’s pixeled out pianos and digital croon. With talented musicians from New York and northern England they have created an album that is truly experimental, yet highly listenable.

A specter of spiritual servitude thematically looms over the album: the post-apocalyptic waiting room in the Incredible String dub of “The Final Broadcast” or the tale of the indentured boy in the vocally overloaded “The Debtor’s Son.” The Villain reveals himself in riddles in the title track: “I’m the mind of the reader when the story begins to fail….” The album rallies against him later in the shuffling Gnostic anthem, “Failure of Design,” and resolves the relationship on a quietly triumphant note with the offering for the oracle – “Farewell Code Owl.”

"Like a siren in some lonely sea, it beckons you to venture forth, offering up everything you have in reserve, and the mental lap dances that the absurdly richly layered mixes proffers are exhausting. The textures are as unique as a cloudy days sky and the studio mastery at once is lo-fi in its simplicity but is richly pixilated with poignant remarks of sound engineering genius."

"There are songs that sound like the Beatles stepped out of their graves, but on the other hand there's just soundscapes, strange and almost frightening. And even the pop songs end up in a little nightmare sometimes. Fascinating album, far beyond everything I've heard"

-Emo is dead

"YTR doesn’t have to try to be cool. Gabe and co. is cool. Cool enough to expose brilliant hooks without shame, nor compromising all things "indie". There are few records that sum up "indie" like this one. In that sense, I wouldn’t hesitate to lump Your Team Ring and Guided by Voices in the same sentence. I’m compelled the most by Walsh’s incredibly eclectic approach and his ability to “rob” from so many influences without allowing you to recollect where his inspiration came from."

-The Black & White

"The music itself is beautifully orchestrated and psychedelically choral with moving swells and parts. It’s both loaded and light at the same time. Wandering, experimental and full of dreamful, swirling imagery, this piece of work is as rich as independent, low-budget music comes."

-Left of the Dial

"It’s an odd mix of 19th century aesthetic and 21st century design, like a time-warped vaudeville troupe recording in Abbey Road Studios."

-Lost at Sea (9 out of 10)

"In Service of the Villain is certainly an album of ingenuity; it combines extremely original ideas with a distinct accessibility. Trust me; you'd be doing yourself an injustice to ignore such a strangely wonderful album."



released January 1, 2004

Your Team Ring is

Gabriel Walsh – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synths,
Tapes,Mandolin, Harmonium, Psalter, Recorder,
Percussion, Glockenspiel, Ghopichand


Richy Midnight – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Tapes


Tom Barrett – Drums, Percussion
MaryJane Chapman – Vocals
Kevin Fay – Vocals, Percussion
Stephen Connolly – Saw, Vocals, Guitar
Tim Dedman – Vocals
Nicolas Franklin - Vocals
Jason Merritt – Slide Guitar
Erica Walsh – Vocals
Dane Johnson - Percussion
Patrick Hambrecht – Samples



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Your Team Ring Brooklyn, New York

Your Team Ring is Gabriel Walsh's recording project, featuring Richy Midnight active from 1992-2005.

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Track Name: In Service of the Villain
In Service of the Villain
I’m the mind of the reader when the story begins to fail
I’m the shame of the breeder whose bull is no longer male
All you pride makes the wine on which I thrive
All you hide writes my deeds into the skies
I’m the tune of the whistler whose street lamp has grown dim
I’m the dream of the fever whose vision is golden and grim
All you pride makes the feast on which I thrive
All you hide moves my seed into the skies
I’m the joy of the marksman who’s backfired his last gun                 
I’m the notes of the spokesman who’s forgotten the gist of his pun
I’m the flame on the altar who’s consumed your only sons  
Track Name: The Final Broadcast
Waiting for the airing of the end
Crouched we await the final broadcast of our fate
Baring the excess, unknown the success of its load
Peel apart your chest, the color of the blood will let us know
The new race is starting now! 
Track Name: Damaged Goods
You’re still alive to our surprise, the card is turned, the well is burned
There’s scars where your glasses were, they’re wearing through to see anew
And now we’re caught between the tides                  
Grounded, sinking 
You’ve been drowning with style
You’ve been starving with a smile
You’ve been bleeding like a child until now
You’ve been falling from the Ferris wheel since birth
It’s over now, let damage take its worth
It’s not too late to snip them back, the ghosts who pushed you till you snapped
Who’d ever thought you’d choose this way to go?
And now we’re caught between the tides
 Grounded, sinking
Track Name: Failure of Design
All that is shown creates a prison for the known
It’s a failure of the tombs, so rise from the bed of lies
And we’re biding our time waiting for the light to shine
It’s a failure of design, so rise from the bed of lies
Last night I dreamed I was dying, drowning in the deep
Just then a voice of the dead came and pushed me from my sleep
All that can grow lives only to bestow a script to an unwatched show so rise from the bed of lies             
Last night I lived an unknown life of somebody else
A tourniquet, a border and the pictures on the shelf              
They all will fall away.
We are so alone, so terribly ingrown
And the separate can’t atone, so rise from the bed of lies
Track Name: Tie Me to the Crown
I once gypped the resting crowd, can’t keep my eyes off the ground           
Tie that monk to the ground, to the crown
I salute the waves that stand still
I want to be saved, so tie me to the crown
Her sandals fall down to me
Athena has no shame that’s why we’ve called her:
Auntie for the day, queen of place!
Hold that monk right down and chain right to the crown
Track Name: Smiles Wide
He must have been a sight, watching himself as he broke the mirror
It must have been a fight to then know himself from the mind of the seer
I don’t mean to pry, but his reasons why     
They remain inside while we pretend and smile through it   
And now that you agree, I’ll ask you to dine when you’re through with your dinner
I’ll even bring him tea, though he’s the one with his thumb on the trigger
Smiles wide, but please don’t ask me why
Track Name: Read Like a Frozen Foundling
Unveiled, in March we swallowed
The nails that pebbled the hallows    
To clear the carriage path that draws you near
And I may be there, the owls be prowling
I’m sure you’re aware that your blood is howling                   
A buried young man with hopes of sprouting that line from your book
Read like frozen foundling                 
Unknown the help from the villain
It shows the fire that’s been hidden
Track Name: The Debtor's Son
Clap your hands, I will fetch your flask
Pound your fist, you command the task
And I live to serve, a debtor’s son,  my fate
I will fill your cup and you will knock it down
Falling to the ground, spilling its ring like your bell does sing
To call me to your side, in night you cannot hide
A wife more than a son, it’s the legacy I won from my father’s losing hand 
I am the man for demands
Only kept alive to slave till twenty-five
Only dream I keep is that you’ll die in your sleep
I will fill your cup and you will knock it down
You will raise me up as a child bound
Your final interest found within my sleeping gown falling to the ground
Track Name: Murderers Among Us
And now it’s far too late for us to take the bait and face the night again
Watch them closely and they’ll truly burn you from this town
The sound they make does take the cake, they’ll nail your ear to the ground
Half-breeds half-willing to die 
Changing saints lusting to buy
The quills they’ve stolen from you, the low they’ve beaten you to
Watch them closely and they’ll truly burn you from this town
The piper’s charm may cause you alarm, but the snake’s the least of your concern
They may kill you twice, but even this may not suffice
Track Name: Farewell Code Owl
Farewell my dear code owl, you’re the streetlight and the moonlight
Farewell my dear code owl, you’re the footpath to the temple
You’re the harvest and the slaughter
You’re the meaning and the water
Farewell my dear code owl, you’re the streetlight and the moonlight
You’re the veil of the woman who has lost her way, who is locked away, who has found a way to the other way
You’re the sunlight and dream of the golden forest, electric water
You’re the pencil and the paper
You’re the shouting and the rattling
You’re the answer and the tempting
Farewell my dear code owl, you’re guidance of the system which is unplugged, which is unfed, which is now down, which is now gone