Seven years ago, Valley formed by accident when a local studio double booked them. This Toronto based alt-pop quartet of Rob Laska, Karah James, Mickey Brandolino and Alex DiMauro just released an EP called Last Birthday.
“Last Birthday is about unconditional love whether it’s romantic or platonic. We all have that person in our life that we would pick up at the airport at 4am without hesitation. The person that could sleep on your couch when times are tough. Maybe you don’t have to speak every day, or distance keeps you apart… regardless, they are a constant in your life until your last birthday.”
Their 2020 EP sucks to see you doing better (which has some of the coolest cover art, in my opinion) and their 2021 EP Last Birthday have to be two of my favorite alternative pop releases in the past two years for a few reasons.
One, Valley does a fantastic job with the juxtaposition in their song writing. If it’s a happy song, it has sad lyrics. If it’s a sad song, it has happy lyrics.
Two, as they explained, they don’t have set rules or roles when it comes to their songwriting process. They all have a part. For example, Karah could come to the studio with a song idea, Mickey adds a part, and Rob adds a part. Valley shared that this is such a special thing and they are so grateful that they are able to create together and learn from each other in this way.
Three, they have a wonderful team of visual creators. As I said before, the sucks to see you doing better EP artwork is fantastic because of the camera angle, length, colors and visual aspects of the “squished face”.
Their recent music videos, especially the brand new music video for cute “Cure” are visually amazing as well (more on that video below). Valley shared that their team does a fantastic job at not only bringing ideas to the table, but being able to take Valley’s “mess” of ideas and make something visually beautiful by it.
Four, the quote that Valley shared about the relationship between these two EPs, “‘sucks to see you doing better’ and ‘Last Birthday’ are connected in a way that has really become apparent to us since having the time to listen over and over and reflect. They complement each other thematically and emotionally… both EPs personally represent our growth as best friends, navigating being in a band while dealing with real life shit. If ‘the sucks to see you doing better’ EP was a person, they’d be wearing compassion, heartbreak and mental health on their sleeve. ‘Last Birthday’ is another perspective on those same feelings with a few breakthroughs. Analyzing our past from the other side of the glass.”
Five, last but not least, their most recent EP Last Birthday is the start of something new for them. It’s the start of a longer story and it represents a sense of growth as musicians and as individuals. Not only are the seven songs on this release amazing, they are all unique in their own way. The timeline, background, and creative process of the songs on this EP are something to talk about.
If you’re looking for just one song on Last Birthday to listen to today, make it track one, “Oh shit… are we in love?”
Track four on the EP, “ain’t my girl,” is a seven year old song. It’s one of the first songs they ever wrote. When they were at a cabin working on the Last Birthday EP, they came across “ain’t my girl” and went “holy crap guys how did we not put this out… this has to be on the EP.”
Track six, “SOCIETY,” is a song that they first wrote in 2019.
Along with this EP showing the complete timeline of Valley as a band, a lot of this EP had to be written over Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though this may not be the ideal setup for some, it opened up the opportunity to work with and get input from a variety of individuals in the United States and other parts of the world. Valley shared that these Zoom sessions are the main reason on how they came up with the songs “1999” and “Cure.”
Track three of the EP is Valley’s single “Cure”. On the same day as the Last Birthday EP release, Valley posted the official music video for “Cure.” Featuring your favorite band members riding around town, saving music one instrument at a time, Valley breathes us back to life with this video.
Watch the official music video for “Cure” here:
And yes, it’s been confirmed that there is a song called “Last Birthday” coming at some point. Valley shared that if they were to die tomorrow, “Last Birthday” is the song they would want everyone to hear. It’s one of their greats.
To celebrate the Last Birthday EP release, Valley on an Instagram post shared, “When we started this band 7 years ago, none of us could predict the extraordinary impact we would make on each other’s lives. The first time we made music together felt like we had arrived. We didn’t know what the destination was per se, but we knew it was never-ending and that we were assigned a purpose in life and a commitment to each other. Our “why” remains the same as it did from day 1, which is simply to live with intention and try to make a dent in the universe. How lucky are we that the short time we’re here on this absurd floating rock, we can spend it putting melody and lyrics together and sharing that with anyone who is willing to listen. Please enjoy Last Birthday, water her, feed her, and crack a window if you leave her in a hot car. This era has only just begun and to answer your question…yes there is a song called Last Birthday. Everything will soon make sense.”
“Get ready to cry,” Valley shares about their future songs and projects.
Valley is hitting the road soon with their friends in COIN. They’re quite excited to be back out on the road, they shared. They missed everything. From checking out local restaurants and coffee shops, setting up for the show, and, of course, the moment right before going on stage with the lights down, the pre-show ritual, and more will be back soon.
From October 26 to November 21, the bands will be visiting a variety of cities like Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Austin. There’s a chance they might be coming towards you. View the complete list of dates and buy your tickets here: http://www.thisisvalley.com/#tour