Posts Tagged ‘Valley Queen’

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Valley Queen“My Man” It’s a band of distinguishable characters, and that is no exception when it comes to their main vocalist, Natalie Meadors. She seems to be the glue that holds the manic energy together, even though she is jumping on speakers and dancing around too. Her sultry vocals weave in and out of the pounding guitar lines, with an onstage confidence that is incredibly enrapturing. You can’t help but watch as the frantic chaos on the verge of total collapse manages to hold on, and you feel the catharsis of just letting go and getting swept away..Valley Queen invites you into their overwhelmingly sensory environment, where to dance and move will cure any temporal blues

Veteran and established artists dominated the music scene this year. Look at all the “Best Of” or “Favorites” lists, and newcomers barely occupy them. One band, however, was able to crack through this nearly impenetrable wall. It sure helps that Valley Queen‘s debut album, Supergiant, is a contemporary indie-rock classic.

The record is highlighted by a holy trinity that would rival any one-two-three combination in history. “Supergiant”is indie-rock perfection. It is anthemic yet gritty, rocking yet euphoric with front woman Natalie Carol’s siren-like vocals cutting through the blazing melody. Like Big Thief’s and Angel Olsen’s grandest anthems, “Chasing the Muse” commences delicately before slowly growing into a face-melting, titanic rocker. The emotional roller coaster “Ride” completes the trio, filling every space with searing guitar riffs and Carol’s bone-chilling delivery.

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Beyond these three are other stellar tracks. Autumn-like touches a la Fleetwood Mac filter through “Bedroom”while a calm, summertime atmosphere percolates on “Carolina”. Jubilation erupts on the short but blazing “Boiling Water”. On the other side of the spectrum, the tender and stripped-back “Gems and Rubies” is stunning at its floor and incredibly engrossing at its ceiling. This is also another way to describe Supergiant, which is flawless. It is a transcendent piece of emotional indie rock that reminds us music can be anthemic, beautiful, moving, and powerful.

Supergiant is out on Roll Call Records,

Band Members
Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Mike DeLuccia – Drums

Silver Lake Home. Shot by Megan McIsaac.

Check out Valley Queen from Los Angeles performing their song “Black Hole”. This live performance was filmed at The 5 Spot in East Nashville, The LA outfit has been around for fewer than five years, though listening to their music, you might think your vinyl-junkie friend picked one of their records out of a pile next to Fleetwood Mac and Hendrix. They have a classic Southern grit that makes you crave a sweet tea. They have defined their sound with a bluesy twang on guitar, driving thump on bass, and a soulful Southern vocal in singer Natalie Meadors.

Band Members
Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Mike DeLuccia – Drums

Valley Queen have been described as Neil Young meets Florence Welch. That’s fairly apt description as lead singer Natalie Carol has a powerful and beguiling voice. But as I’ve always said, having a great voice is one thing; lots of people have great voices. But give me a great writing and a ripping band as well, and then you’ll have my attention.

And that’s what we have here now. “Supergiant” came together as the band fractured at a point with two members being replaced. As the band grew, Carol attempted to persuade bassist Shawn Morones and drummer Gerry Doot to join her and Neil Wogensen to record the album. She wanted that chemistry back and while Morones came back, Mike DeLuccia grabbed the seat behind the kit.

Mission was accomplished. This album is where the whole is greater that the sum of its parts. Everybody knows their role and the band weaves Carol’s Americana-inspired vocals with some crunching, fuzzy indie influences. The band is constantly setting Carol up and her voice is almost chameleon-like throughout; always hitting the right note. She’s got a bit of Neko in her in that regard. The title track, Chasing The Muse and and the closing track Highway Pearls are among the highlights.

I was a fan of their EP but they have really upped their game here.

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Band Members
Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Mike DeLuccia – Drums

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The full-length debut from Los Angeles-based band Valley Queen, “Supergiant” takes its title from the most massive and luminous yet fastest-burning stars in the universe. “The song ‘Supergiant’ is about how we’re all made up of the same stuff as stars, and I liked the idea of tying the whole album together with that metaphor,” says Carol. “It takes all the drama you hear on the record—the aggressive, chaotic moments, and the more beautiful or quieter moments—and puts it all into a more galactic perspective.”

With the album finished and ready to be released into the world, it’s now easier for Carol to take a step back and be philosophical but there were moments when it almost seemed like Supergiant would never come to light.

The first iteration of Valley Queen formed not long after Carol moved to L.A. and crossed paths with Neil Wogensen through the local music scene. With Shawn Morones and drummer Gerry Doot later joining the lineup, the band named themselves Valley Queen in a nod to the region where ancient Egyptians buried their deceased matriarchs. They released the singles “In My Place” and “High Expectations,” as well as 2017 EP Destroyer to widespread critical acclaim. The band also supported artists including Laura Marling and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down on tour. Musically and creatively, they were in a place they never dreamed of.

As the band’s profile grew, so did days on the road and time spent away from home. Any touring band will testify to the intensity of togetherness, tight finances, being away from significant others, physical exhaustion, unhealthy diets and habits, etc., but they were doing what they loved and it was resonating with people. The band had found their own magical pocket musically but, ultimately, the strain was too much for Morones and Doot who left the band after years on the road. They were replaced with session musicians and the band continued to win fans and play bigger rooms, but the chemistry that Carol had come to depend on was gone.

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The growing success earned them a record deal—a dream finally coming to fruition—but Carol was unable to find the creative cohesiveness she knew she needed to make the record. “I wondered how to record the record. I believed in myself but I had also believed in the people around me. I write these songs in solitude but Valley Queen is not my solo project. I thrived in the collaboration. I came back from these new tours feeling creatively depleted, like something important was missing.”

Carol knew ultimately what needed to happen. Like a parent knowing what’s best for their child, she understood that Valley Queen was more than lyrics and sessions musicians. It was about people, chemistry and the relationships that created such a powerful musical force to begin with.

“I knew nobody else could record this record with me but our original line up. They had grown into the arrangements, had a personal understanding of what the songs were about.” Doot couldn’t rejoin—the strain touring had put on his newborn baby and wife was too much for him to reconsider—and Mike DeLuccia came forward, which was a godsend. Then Carol called Morones. The time on the road had strained their relationship significantly and there was healing that needed to happen. After long discussions and sharing, they all decided it would be worth the risk to try to create this album and tell the story of what had happened. Two months later, Valley Queen was in the studio.

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Carol reflects, “Recording the album was a transformative experience for the band. It certainly trod the ground of the past, the difficulty and disappointment we had faced. But moving through and completing the project brought with it a sensation that the chapter was over. All of us will always be in process, we will always be learning how to better work with each other and ourselves. But a power was created in actively choosing to meet with that process.”

The result is Supergiant, produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Fool’s Gold, Nikki Lane, FIDLAR). Not surprisingly, the album emerges with raw production and relentless intensity. It’s a record that could not have been made any other way, each member bringing their own creative force and energy to every song. It’s about self-exploration, not just as an individual, but also as a collective whole.

“It can be really painful and isolating to go through something that doesn’t really look like anybody else’s experience but your own,” Carol says in reflecting on Supergiant’s intensity. “But ultimately that’s part of the beautiful orchestration of being alive—instead of trying to go around that experience, you need to go fully into it. I think that’s the only way to get a deeper understanding of who we really are.”

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Band Members
Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Mike DeLuccia – Drums

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Valley Queen! The LA-based band, fronted by Natalie Carol, released their 2017 Destroyer EP to widespread critical acclaim, with the track “Stars Align” even named one of Top 50 songs of the year on NPR’s All Songs Considered.

When asked what this album is about, I’ve gone mute. The bulk of the songs on this record were written over the past two years in my bedroom, backyard, or plucking away in the back of the van on Neil’s old Japanese guitar and headphones. I realize now a lot of the songs were written in fever dreams, fits of aggression, hot anger, ecstasy, longing, quietude.
In the experience of falling in love, going on tour in very seedy situations, being broke and in debt, self doubting, the band Valley Queen breaking up, the band Valley Queen getting back together, the guitar has always been sitting there for me to pick up and hammer out the inner reality of the external situation. We’re still here, and Supergiant tells you why.
I’m still as lost as ever, no conclusions have been made, no greater wisdom to impart – but for now, this is all I have.
What ecstasy. What a ride.  “Supergiant” is now live 

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Announcing Supergiant – July 13th on Roll Call Records

Valley Queen front woman Natalie Carol leads a band reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and My Morning Jacket with evocative vocals. Neil Wogensen (Bass & Vocals), Shawn Morones (Lead Guitar & Vocals) and Gerry Doot (drums), enrich the songs with energy, excitement and emotion.
In 2016, the band released the singles “In My Place” and “High Expectations” on Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records to wide acclaim, and have played lauded shows at an array of venues,
Pranav Trewn from Stereogum praised that Valley Queen has “never sounded better than they do on “In My Place,” and Bob Boilen from NPR’s All Songs Considered believes that “Valley Queen comes from the Neil Young school of great music.”
March 2017 marks the debut of Valley Queen’s premiere EP, featuring their newest songs produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Nikki Lane, Fool’s Gold, FIDLAR). The songs show the band’s sonic evolution since their first release, and will set the stage for an exciting year to come.

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Valley Queen are,

Natalie Carol – Vocals/Guitar
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Gerry Doot – Drums

Valley Queen comes from the Neil Young school of great music. The LA outfit has been around for fewer than five years, though listening to their music, you might think your vinyl-junkie friend picked one of their records out of a pile next to Fleetwood Mac and Hendrix. They have a classic Southern grit that makes you crave a sweet tea. They have defined their sound with a bluesy twang on guitar, driving thump on bass, and a soulful Southern vocal in their singer. The latest tease of the band’s long awaited debut album portends the Los Angeles quartet finally realizing their full potential. They’ve never sounded better than they do on “In My Place” — especially vocalist Natalie Carol, has a real powerful voice, and the band’s folk pop has gained comparisons to Fleetwood Mac .She wrestles with the wreckage of her faith and self-perception while anxiously considering her own youth “floating on great expectations” and “choking on grand illusions.”

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Six years ago, Valley Queen’s front woman Natalie Carol drove to Los Angeles on a whim, looking to expand her musical horizons. After a lonely and frustrating year, she was on the verge of returning home when she happened upon an acoustic jam session where she met guitarist David Donaldson. Carol was immediately reminded of the comfort and friendliness of her Arkansas roots; the perfect environment for musical creation. She could hear traces of her hometown influences in his riffs: Zeppelin, Duane Allman, and Muddy Waters. The two began collaborating, exchanging ideas and drawing in other like-minded musicians. “It gave us all something to rest our heads upon, a musical family that became a home for us all,” says Carol. Today, Valley Queen is a hybrid of southern rock and Motown, with traces of 1970s canyon rock. “Carnival”, the A- side on their debut 7” produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, FIDLAR, Fool’s Gold), embodies these influences sings about creating a supportive artistic community in Echo Park. The B-side “Make You Feel” is a bluesy slow jam about young love.

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Natalie Carol – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Gerry Doot – Drums

Los Angeles’s band Valley Queen are releasing the “In My Place” b/w “High Expectations” single this Friday (8/12) via Canvas club Records. Singer Natalie Carol has a real powerful voice, and the band’s folk pop has gained comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, Florence Welch, and others. If you like those, you may dig Valley Queen too. “In My Place” hit the web recently, and we’re also premiering the track “High Expectations” in this post. Listen to both, and checkout the band’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert, in a earlier post. Their debut album is on the way too.

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Our Vinyl session in Nashville, TN

July 8th, 2016 introduced by Bob Boilen At first it was simply the voice that shook me. A band discovered in Austin, Texas, during SXSW,  Sean Moeller of Daytrotter told me he was recording a new favorite band and I should listen to this new band . The house/makeshift studio on Austin’s East Side was saturated with the alluring voice of Natalie Carol and her solid yet rattling Neil Young-ish band. That was my introduction to Valley Queen, and since then they have shaken the walls at a few venues around the country, one of which was here at this NPR Tiny Desk Concert. When this band, which has only put out a few singles on Bandcamp so far, came to the Tiny Desk, its members played like veterans. Valley Queen’s music is rich with nuance and depth, rooted deep in California country. They are working toward that debut record, and three songs they played at the Tiny Desk were unreleased. Here is an early glimpse of some growing talent.

For more information about Valley Queen, visit its website: http://www.valleyqueenmusic.com/

Set List:
“In My Place”
“Hold On You”
“Ride”