The Valley – The Valley (Self-Released)

This six-song EP is The Valley’s first release since their 2005 debut (confusingly, also a self-titled EP). The group’s music remains heavy as hell and still has me wondering just how three people can produce such a thick sound. Influences include grunge groups like Mudhoney and Nirvana, but there’s also subtle hints of psychedelia (the Mellotron in “Come Down”), shoegazing (the warped guitar sounds on “Death Star Gunner”), ’70s stoner rock (twin guitar leads and cowbells), and a few Joy Division lyrics that found their way onto “Come Down”. As much as the influences are obvious, The Valley stake out their own territory with memorable songs and talented musicianship (especially drummer Jim Laws, who pounds away with such fury he must have to replace his kit after each rehearsal). Highly recommended.