New Music To Know: In the Valley Below Make Moody Pop Inspired by Power Ballads & Phil Collins

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Shannon Carlin
Shannon Carlin Shannon is an associate music producer for
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The first time Angela Gail saw her future In The Valley Below bandmate Jeffrey Jacob play the guitar she was blown away. It was at a small show in L.A. that Gail just happened to be checking out and as she watched, she imagined what it would be like to work with him. A few years later the two, who were eventually introduced through mutual friends, were sitting in a recording studio trying to write a song together.

“It was really hard and the songs really sucked,” Gail admitted to about their first writing session, which did not live up to her prior daydreams. “Neither one of us was used to writing with people. We were both a little shy and it seemed liked it was really not going to work.”

The two decided to take a break and just talk about their vision for the band, which just so happened to be the same. Gail and Jacob both wanted to make music they liked listening to. And what they both liked listening to was a mix of power ballads and Phil Collins.

Gail knows that some people think Collins is kind of lame, but she questions how you can hate on the man who wrote a song like “In The Air Tonight,” which is both a karaoke staple and a very honest confession from someone going through a divorce. “I think just his songwriting,” Gail said when talking about why she loves Collins so much. “Just how catchy the songs are, but how well he can tell a dark story and still get people to sing along.”

The duo’s 4-song EP, Peaches, is both dark and dreamy with songs that tell stories of sex, crime and religion. Not necessarily radio friendly topics, but the two have a knack for tucking these subjects within a well-produced melody. And their catchy, but vaguely worded choruses, just like their old pal Phil, have the ability to get people singing along.

On the EP’s title track the two trade barbs like, “You’ve been drinking all week, baby, that’s all right” and “You’ve been tearing me apart in the dead of night,” over a moody, goth pop-leaning melody. The song eventually ends in a truce, with the duo singing sweetly in unison, “We won’t live too long/ So let’s love for one song.”

Gail and Jacobs–who also plays guitar–spend most of their time singing together side-by-side and technically both hold the lead singer position. “A lot of bands will do a duet here and there, but being inspired by power ballads we wanted it to be all that way,” Gail explained.

For their live show they even designed a single mic stand that holds two microphones so they could be as close as possible when they perform. “It was kind of accidental,” Gail said of their creation. “I think it stemmed from the fact that I always played an instrument in the band and I’m getting used to not having something to stand behind. The stand is like a shield. It’s there to protect me.”

It should also be noted that along with designing their own mic stand, the crafty twosome also brew their own In the Valley Below beer, which you can now purchase through the band’s website. “We have many kinds of brews,” Gail said proudly.

In between home brewing and collecting vintage prairie dresses that she can wear onstage, Gail says she and Jacob are gearing up for the release of their as-yet-untitled debut, which will come out next year. The singer’s dream is that Collins will hear the record somehow and be so impressed that he’ll have to work with him. To make this wish come true, Gail admits she is willing to go to any means necessary to get their music to him.

“We’re trying to track him down,” Gail said. “We might get arrested, but it would be worth it.”


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