The North Valley
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The North Valley

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Southern Rock

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If you’re bored, something must change. That’s the conclusion that the members of local rock & roll outfit The North Valley came to, anyway, when they realized they’d reached a crossroads in their music.

The North Valley—named for Davis County, whence the five musicians come—first came together in 2011, after their respective musical projects fell apart. “When all those bands broke up ... we kind of wanted to pick people that we knew we wanted to play music with,” says drummer Spencer Sayer. “It just so worked out that all of them had their bands break up.”

Already acquainted through high school and collaborating in other bands, the pieces of the lineup fell into place effortlessly. Their sound, however, didn’t come together right away.

Today, a North Valley show is two parts in-your-face rock circus and one part dance party, with a sound that’s nearly unrecognizable from the scrubbed-up country/folk style of the band’s early days. “At first, it started out like a much more of a softer—kind of like Wilco—band,” says bassist/vocalist Dane Sandberg. “And then we discovered how boring that gets to play live.”

After taking an honest stock of the band members’ diverse influences—ranging from metal to classic rock to indie rock—they decided to branch out and find a harder sound that was not only a reflection of their personal tastes, but also more entertaining for them to play live.

“We were all listening to stuff that was way heavier than what we played, so it kind of just got to this point where [we said], ‘Well, we could just play that instead, that would be more fun,’ ” Sandberg says.

The ultimate turnaround happened “when we started playing live,” Sayer says. “We went through a phase where we played a show like every weekend. And at the end of that, our whole sound was just based on those crazy live shows.”

The new direction resulted in a highly dynamic creative process, which was enhanced when two of the band members moved into a house together. Now, The North Valley live and write music in the same space.

While in the older days, making music was “more refined, like worrying about song structure and … constructing actual songs,” Sandberg says, “it’s just all jam-based now.” Guitarist/vocalist Spenny Relyea adds, “Me and Dane will write like a third of the song and take it to the band, and then we’ll all finish it together. It’s super collaborative.” The lineup is rounded out by Jon Butler (guitar) and Kramer McCausland (keys).

So far, The North Valley has released The Bad Habits EP—originally released as a demo in 2012—and a single titled “You Got That Straight Jake.” Their upcoming debut full-length album, Patterns in Retrospect, which was recorded live with Casey Romney and is currently in the final mastering and printing processes, will be out Jan. 10. The band members agree that while their EP—about destructive decisions, vices and relationships—isn’t an accurate representation of their live sound, the new album will capture that energy and immediacy. “It’s much louder, it’s much harder, it’s much gnarlier,” Sandberg says.

The Southern rock/Americana-tinged Patterns in Retrospect will include a mix of revamped older songs (“Drink Alone”) and brand-new tunes such as “Never Had the Money” and “Barbed Wire Tongue.” The dark track “There’s Something About Murder” stands out with its down and dirty beat, gritty vocals and wailing guitar.

After the album comes out, The North Valley will depart on tour in the spring and summer, so catch them on local stages while you can.

“Shows are fun and it means the world to us,” Sayer says. “Just come to shows. You don’t even have to buy anything, just come to a show. Just be there. Just dance.”

“Just dance and get drunk and scream at us,” Sandberg adds. “Throw tomatoes or something.” - City Weekly


With vocals that jump between tight group harmonies and raw howls, wailing guitars and a high level of energy that gets even the wallflowers up and dancing, every North Valley show is a no-holdsbarred barnburner. A hard-hitting concoction of Americana, blues and Southern-influenced rock, the quintet’s sound punches like a shot of straight Kentucky bourbon, complete with pleasant lingering burn. The band’s debut album, Patterns in Retrospect—released in January— showcases their versatility: They can blast their way through a riff-y rocker about murder, but also slow things down and bring the soul with jammin’ keyboard lines and almost wistful vocals. For the most part, though, The North Valley is here to raise hell. TheNorthValley. bandcamp.com - City Weekly


The North Valley are not afraid to leave it all on the table. They aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, either. That becomes obvious some 10 seconds into the first track, “Stones To Change,” which does its best “Tears of Rage” impression. I’m really impressed by the urgency and immediacy of the harmonies on this album. The second track, “You Got that Straight Jake,” showcases multi-layered and multi-faceted vocals that ripped right through the kevlar on my eardrums. The beat of the drums synched with my amphetamine-caked heart until I was begging for a murmur. I won’t say anything about their sometimes simplistic lyricisms because, in truth, it doesn’t matter. Concise, well polished and sure of itself, Patterns in Retrospect might be The North Valley’s best effort yet. –Taylor Hale - Slug Magazine


The North Valley consists of Spencer Sayer (drums), Kramer McCausland (keyboard), Dane Sandberg (base and vocals), Jon Butler (guitar), and Spenny Relyea (guitar and vocals).

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing these dudes for quite a few years now. I can still recall their very first show together as a band at Salt Lake City’s beloved Kilby Court. After falling in love with the scratchy, original version of their now remastered song, Drink Alone, I’ve been hooked ever since.

Whether you’re a fan of the music, you’re just in it for the greasy musicians, or if you’re at the show to have a couple beers, when The North Valley plays, you’re bound to have a pretty good time. Relyea’s folksy vocals melt your heart, while Sandberg’s harsher vocals break it and put it back together simultaneously. In-between harmonies and guitar solos, these boys are getting wild and making sure you’re doing nothing but the same. The North Valley is full of energy and talent. If you’re standing still by the end of their set, you’ve got a pretty big stick up somewhere it doesn’t belong.

After a year of hard work, they just released their first full-length album, Patterns in Retrospect back in January of this year. After listening to their small EP in my car for about a year, I was pretty excited to have some fresh, new songs to add to my daily routine. This album is straight up rock. It’s soulful, it’s heavy, and for some reason, I’ve never felt more at home. After a bad day, these boys could take any hate out of my soul and sew it into a pillow found on my grandmother’s couch.

I asked if I could sit down with them in their jam space and get a taste of where things happen. When I said that, Sayer just laughed. They’ve had to move twice this month and their new house is in shambles. He told me that if I really wanted to see where the magic happened, we might as well do the interview in their van. So here we are, standing on the street in front of the Shred Shed before their show, smoking cigarettes behind the van. - Ugly Magazine


Discography

2012 - The Bad Habits EP
2014 - Patterns in Retrospect

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Bio

The North Valley is a rock and roll quintet from Salt Lake City, UT. Quickly gaining popularity due to their raucous live show, they have found a welcome place in Utah's music scene. Nominated as one of the top 10 bands in Utah by City Weekly Magazine. They released their first full length album 'Patterns in Retrospect' on 1/10/14. They have played across the west coast and intend to keep playing across the country in 2015.

Band Members