Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Valaska's "Natural Habitat" Album Review

I have to preface this post with a short statement. When you're doing music journalism, you get a lot of opportunities to review different albums and shows. Not all of them are quite your style or things you would necessarily listen to or tell your friends excitedly about. So far I've tried to keep my personal website (though I do other work) limited to things I can sincerely talk up, because this isn't to make money or gain recognition for things I don't believe in. Besides getting my style of writing out there, I love helping bands and musicians who I really feel deserve it.

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And on that note, Valaska blew me away. When I first checked out the songs that were available online, before I heard the album, I was pretty impressed. I liked their sound; it was very soft and melodic, and definitely the type of music I often listen to. When I got the album, I started playing it and I couldn't stop. I literally could not stop playing it on repeat, for days. DAYS! I couldn't believe what a gem this album was and that I hadn't heard about this amazing band sooner.

When I found out that it was one guy, I became even more impressed. Multi-talented Dave Valdez definitely gives one-man bands a run for their money on this incredible album that he created with the producing and engineering help of Copeland's Aaron Marsh. I can only imagine the levels his music would rise on a live stage with a full band.

I've recently gone through a couple of hardships and I'm constantly looking for music which helps me get through painful experiences. The actual quality of the songs aside (which is stellar), each one hit home with me. From the first song, On the Surface, which reminds me a little bit of old DCFC and a little bit of City and Colour, to Golden Age, which made me reminisce Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips. In Voids and Natural Habitat took my heart with their profound lyrics and especially soulful vocals.

Every song had something to offer, and while a couple of them reminded me in part of other bands' music, Valaska has its own sound which is distinct and memorable. This alone stood out to me, after listening to so many bands and artists over the years that blend together in a fairly acceptable, but forgettable manner. I'm always looking for bands that not only have a great sound, but who sound different and aren't afraid to make the music they want to make, and seem to have a passion and love for doing so. I personally think that you can feel that love for music in a musician or band's songs, and that makes the listening experience so enjoyable. While Valaska certainly deserves recognition in the indie world, I would be surprised if it was long before they get signed.
Natural Habitat Cover Art

I smiled, I swooned, and I cried. (YES, music makes me cry, okay?!) I have never fallen in love with a band so quickly. It's safe to say that this is my favorite album of 2013, if not in the past year altogether. So right now I put my reputation on the line (as I do with these reviews) and genuinely tell you that you're missing out if you don't have this album. If you know what's good for you, buy it as soon as you possibly can. Time is ticking. You are losing valuable listening time. Seriously, if I haven't sold you yet, check out the adorable album art. How could you possibly say "no" to that cute face?

If you want to check Valaska out, you can do so on Facebook, their website, Bandcamp, and Twitter.


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