Published on April 29th, 2015 | by Joe-Lou0
Have you ever been to The Sweet Valley?
“Sweet Valley is a Bermuda Triangle-like place, where cannabis crumbs, spilt beer, record dust and that mysterious shit you had to blow out of game cartridges all collect as if pulled by some gigantic junkyard magnet. Sweet Valley is a blood pact between two brothers, Nathan (of Wavves) & Kynan Williams, gone awesomely off the rails. Welcome to Sweet Valley, hi. You can be sure of nothing here. ” – Sweet Valley’s Bandcamp Bio
I stumbled into the Sweet Valley about six months ago from a Com Truise related list on Youtube. That was the gateway drug to their album: Eternal Champ. At first, while listening passively at work, it felt like a fresh Nintendo themed O.C. remix, but about halfway through the album I had to take a break to really soak this stuff in. The depth and range on this album is absolutely incredible. The beats are often catchy but don’t shy away from some more technical fills. The samples jab in pop culture clips that keep things lighthearted, while the occasional vocals allow the sound to turn a bit more human and vulnerable. Despite it’s borderline incoherent lyrics, the track Stone felt really personal to me.
Eternal Champ is a wonderful mishmash of all my favorite things: video games, drum machines, and silly movie clips. This should be your first taste.
Next up, we have the album SV. It was released in 2013. This album was a bit ahead of its time, setting the bar for what I consider “good trap music.” This means it uses really hard kicks that change in pitch to create the bass line, as well as generous amounts of claps and ridiculous snare rolls. SV is a sharp, aggressive album that pushes a very ballsy EQ-mix. The bass in tracks like Turbo GT will absolutely crush your sub-woofer. If feels like everything in this album is compressed enough to crack your car windows. That sort of force feels absolutely awesome.
You can expect the occasional Sega Genesis sample to sneak in before each drop, but the later half of the SV album takes things in a new direction.
The track, Jet Speed, makes me extremely anxious. Almost to the point where I have difficulty listening to it. Shortly after the effect has worn off, Land Crusher picks things back up with an over the top constant bass rumble. Finally, they cap things off with a spacey trip called Cosmic Design.
Cosmic Design a perfect lead in to their latest EP titled So Serene.
This 27-minute long epic feels like the two brothers were trying to challenge themselves. Things are just as dense as ever before but a lot of care has been given to the structure of each section. Previous efforts had more of a DJ, cut and glitchy composition. Conversely, So Serene takes it’s time. Slowly building up arpeggiators and stacking layers when the time is right. Its a very cool change of pace but I still wish there were individual tracks to jump through. 27 mins straight is a bit of a commitment, but I promise it’s well worth your time.
So Serene finishes off with what I consider one of the best ever “found recordings.” At the 22:40 mark there’s an old radio call-in from a man who’s convinced the aliens are just about to take over Earth. He’s having a panic attack and is terrified that he will soon be arrested by the secret services for making his final call into the station. This radio drama is backed by a low-fi Twin Peaks-style progression that creates eerie and haunted feel. Most of the work by Sweet Valley feels a bit tongue in cheek, so I’m sure this ending was not meant to be taken quite so seriously. But god damn, I sure felt heartbroken the first time through!