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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Tighten Your Belt with In the Valley Below; Throw a Wild Party

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It happens only a few times a year for me: I hear the first few seconds of a new song, fall instantly in love with it, and hope the chorus is as good as the first verse. Often times, a so-so chorus can destroy the makings of a perfect song. I couldn't fight that feeling (anymore?) when I first heard In the Valley Below's "Peaches." The hauntingly-beautiful rocking song captivated me right away, and the chorus just drives it home even more. Sorry Presidents of the United States of America, I have a new favorite "Peaches." I also have a new favorite recording duo so let's get to it.

In The Valley Below are a West Coast couple (Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob) whose musical styling blend better than a Jimmy Buffet margarita. With a magnetic, richly unique sound, the two are the most refreshing thing to happen to alt-rock and indie-radio thus far this year. Their full-length debut, The Belt came out yesterday, and I promise you my gushing is well aimed. I'm not alone. The Guardian actually compared them to Buckingham/Nicks. They may be right, I may be crazy. In any event, the duo's subtle energy (oxymoron very much intentional) was on full display at Primary Wave Music's Listening Room in New York City last week, where they performed two acoustically-electric (full of oxymorons today I am) songs off their LP. I should mention it's the first time "Peaches" was performed in this fashion. Anyway, the pair sat down for an unfilmed chat afterwords so let's jump right with the embeds below. Grab The Belt now, and watch it all unfold Below (capitol "B" intentioned...stop with the parenthesis). Videos filmed by Yale Goodman.

"Peaches" (Acoustic)

"Dove Season"

Interview - collectively answered by ITVB
This was the first time you performed "Peaches" stripped down like that. How'd it feel? I'd assume the song originated as raw as this?
"Peaches" was written on an acoustic guitar in a tiny studio apartment in Highland Park (a neighborhood in LA), but we had never performed it live in such a stripped-down setting. It's much easier to perform it with only acoustic guitar, even though we feel a bit naked.

It sounded great. The Belt is about to come out - heck it may even come out by the time this interview posts - talk me through the process to get from the EP to the full-length.
For us, it's about curating a selection of songs that fit together and make a cohesive album. We write a lot of songs that don't make the cut.

No smoke, the album's awesome. Moving right along, "Peaches" is the song of the year in my opinion - no matter how many times I hear it, I can't help but sing along and roll down my car windows. Sometimes I do both simultaneously. What's the origin of the song?
It started with the riff and the verses, then the rest just blossomed from there. We were both in a process of the struggle of heart and survival.

The Guardian stated that you both make for sort of a Nicks/Buckingham for the 2010s. I'd assume this would be music to your ears - well at least taking away all the drama those two had.
We are very flattered by the comparison, but I don't think we sound much like them. Unfortunately a lot of drama has revolved around us as well. As of right now, we're very happy together.

That's good. Like your music, your style have a distinct look and feel. Is this something you developed as you made music or is this simply what you wear?
You gotta wear something.

This is true... well to some. If you had to choose one duo from the past or present to tour with, who would it be?
Ike and Tina.

Good one. My last question should've likely been my first. When did you both realize the synergy of blending your voices TOGETHER?
We're still in the process of realizing our potential.

WILD PARTY
Like In the Valley Below, Wild Party is gaining a lot of alt-rock buzz and rightfully so. The Texas indie-rock band will drop their debut album Phantom Pop on Oct. 7, and if the first few songs off it are any indication, they're well on their way to considerable airplay and asses in venue seats. The band (vocalist Lincoln Kreifels, guitarist Lucas Hughes, drummer Cary LaScala, bassist/producer Ethan Kaufmann) are already a known commodity in the UK, where they toured with The Wombats, and have been gaining steam like mad in the states ever since. This year's string of performances at SXSW really put them on the proverbial map. Case in point: they're currently in the running for MACY'S/iHeartRadio Rising Star 2014 contest.

Earlier this month, the quartet performed a trio of their catchy songs for A-Sides, and sat down for a chat filmed by shootmepeter.com. Watch it all below, and jump aboard the bandwagon now. The wagon is coming, folks. It's almost there. You can almost see it. Wait, here it comes.

"Chasin' Honey"

"When I Get Older"

Chatt

* Wild Party also performed an exclusive version of "Outright" for A-Sides. Watch it here.

A-Sides "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its Top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve"based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week NO MATTER WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED (think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks, and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls, and -- most importantly -- the songs my two-year-old son gravitates toward by stomping his feet in approval. Yeah, you read that right. This weeks follows below (LW= last week's rank).

12. "Neverminders" (debut) - In the Valley Below
11. "Beware The Dog" (LW-11) - The Griswolds
10. "I'm Only Joking" (LW-7) - Kongos
9. "Shadow" (LW-6) - Bleachers
8. "From Eden" (debut) - Hozier
7. "Helter Skeleton" (debut) - Gaslight Anthem
6. "Another's Arms" (LW-10) - Coldplay
5. "Boom Clap" (LW-5) - Charli XCX
4."Get Hurt" (LW-1) - Gaslight Anthem
3. "Reverse" (LW-3) - SomeKindaWonderful (Watch them live on A-Sides here And watch their brand new video for the song below.)

2. "Do You" (LW-4) - Spoon
1. "Stolen Dance" (LW-2) - Milky Chance

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About A-Sides Music

Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Courtney Love, Air Supply, Birdy, Charli XCX, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Pharrell Williams, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, Gary Clark Jr., and more! A-Sides theme written and performed by Blondfire.