Monday Night Residency with In The Valley Below / The Mercy Beat

The Echo Presents

Monday Night Residency with In The Valley Below / The Mercy Beat

Soft Swells, Pillar Point

Mon, May 5, 2014

8:30 pm

The Echo

Los Angeles, California

This event is 21 and over

In The Valley Below
In The Valley Below
He’s from Memphis, equally steeped in Link Wray and Phil Collins. She’s a small town girl from a “mostly cold and cloudy town in Michigan”, who found her songwriting inspiration while living on a sailboat in the West Indies. Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail met in Los Angeles, playing guitar and bass, respectively, in a fuzz-box rock band, but the seeds of In the Valley Below were planted one night at SXSW, when they realized there was something special in the passion and chemistry they shared on-stage.

Vocalist Angela Gail puts it frankly: In The Valley Below make “mostly music that we would want to listen to.” The duo’s debut recordings are equal parts atmospheric and gauzy, with sharp hooks and sing-along choruses, inspired by faithful archetypes and dealing with powerful subjects like sex, crime and religion, as on the first single, “Peaches,” a celebration of mutual attraction and sensuality that Jeffrey jokes could just be about fruit.

The attraction between the two is palpable, but hard to define. For In the Valley Below, one plus one equals three, with Angela’s Americana folk-country and classic rock vibe melding with Jeffrey’s penchant for Anglo art-pop and heavy, Memphis-infused riffs into something completely different. The two wrote, produced, engineered and recorded their own songs in a home studio. Two of the 11 songs on their debut are mixed by the band, with the others handled by John Congleton [St.Vincent, David Byrne], Dave Sardy [Oasis, Band of Horses], Lasse Mårtén [Lykke Li, Peter, Bjorn & John], and Pete Min who also shared his studio for the recording of some vocals and drums. Angela and Jeffrey never even intended for In the Valley Below to be a performing band, so it turned out to be a pleasant surprise when the songs were so good they demanded to be played for people. A constant touring schedule, with appearances at festivals like Reading and Leeds in the UK, Rock en Seine in Paris, and a even a performance on the Late Show with David Letterman, In The Valley Below are paving their path. During days off, back home in Echo Park, CA, they make time to brew their own brand of beer, which may soon be available for purchase. And the rest, as they say…is mystery.

Filled with emotions from guilt to hope, and encouraging voyeurism, when they announce to their audience, “We are In the Valley Below,” they immediately invite us to join their communal world, one with no boundaries and whose limits are only defined by our collective imagination.
Soft Swells
Soft Swells
Soft Swells. Sure it’s a band name (in fact, it’s this band’s name), but it is also a surfing term. Tiny, easy to ride waves that beginners keep an eye out for to build their aquatic confidence up. But what happens when you outgrow those small waves? Do you stop surfing? Or do you step up and try to tackle the biggest waves the ocean has to offer? Tim Williams, the mastermind behind Soft Swells (the band) has been moving towards this moment for years now. Tim started Soft Swells in an effort to reach new heights, and over the course of a full length and an EP, the music has gotten more sophisticated, and the sound of the band has gotten bigger. So if the band’s previous work could be described as soft swells, than their new album Floodlights is like an enormous tidal wave from an action movie. Absolutely everything about the band has gotten bigger. Where once there was just Tim with the help of producer/keyboardist Dave Lynch and a lot of studio magic, there is now a fully formed band.

In a (successful) experiment to capture the fun and excitement of their live shows on record, Tim brought a motley group of wildly talented musicians together in the studio to lay down all the tracks. Most of the record was tracked by producer Dave Lynch (the other Dave Lynch) at The Electric Zoo in Eastbourne UK, with Soft Swells’ touring bass player and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Pappas at Tim’s side, and a guest appearance by resident UK drummer Phil Wilkinson (Jake Bugg, Brian Eno). As if that wasn’t enough, Misty Boyce (Sara Bareilles), Jonathan Visger (Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr) and Soft Swells’ touring guitarrist Kyle Frederickson all contributed their talents via satellite. Well, via email.

This impressive roster of personnel leaves Soft Swells sounding invigorated, like a whole new band. A big, stadium sized band to be exact. Drums shake, organs swell, guitars rock and vocals soar. This is no longer a band trying to figure out how to replicate the sound of their albums on stage, because they brought the stage to the studio. With Modern Outsider Records driving the release, the future of Floodlights looks long and bright. But Tim’s new air of confidence isn’t just due to the stellar lineup, but also because of his recent marriage to the love of his life, Sabrina, who is a constant encouragement to Tim to take chances, and to do what she knows he is capable of.

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth has said “once the music leaves your head it’s already compromised.” That’s fine if you feel like music is an entirely personal endeavor for the artist. Tim certainly doesn’t feel that way. “I don’t think a song or recording is completed until it hits someone’s ears… The experience is only complete when a listener gives their input – a smile, a foot tapping, a head nodding or whatever reaction a person has.”
Pillar Point
Pillar Point
Wrapped in vintage synthesizers, drum kits and dark slinking bass lines, Pillar Point pulses with an organic heartbeat beneath a warm, analog fabric.

When the vocals appear like an unhinged Ray Davies urging you to come dance, it's an invitation you can't refuse.

Take a sunset trip out to Pillar Point and feel love like a kick drum.
Venue Information:
The Echo
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California, 90026
http://www.theecho.com