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New LP from Valley Latini employs sad cowgirl vibes and Colombian cloud forest aura to overcome heartbreak

Still frame from "Rosas" music video directed by Ana Maria Hernandez. If you prefer to skip straight to the interview with Valley Latini (and who can blame you!) scroll down past the music videos to the jump.

If you’ve never been to a cloud forest before you should add it to your bucket list asap and no I’m not taking about the forest moon of Endor because who needs a bunch of tribal teddy bears dry humping your leg especially when you can visit a cloud forest right here on Planet Earth namely in Colombia—located less than an hour due west from Bogota and due south-by-southeast from Medellin—where you’ll find a vast expanse of rolling peaks and valleys nestled in the West Andes known as Valle de Cocora named after an ancient Quimbayan princess whose name literally meaning “star of water”…



…a fittingly uncanny image for the uncanny landscapes of Valle de Cocora where Heaven and Earth seem to collide with vaporous clouds rolling down from the heavens and blanketing the valley’s cliffsides and majestic wax palms soaring into the sky as far as 200 feet (by way of comparison LA or Miami palm trees top out at around 50 feet) like magic beanstalks sprouting up from valley clearings with the trees’ solitary nature only underscoring their towering profiles and truly it’s the most magnificent, surrealist natural scenery I’ve ever laid eyes on something like a Fernando Botero landscape come to life…

…and yeah I know what you’re probably thinking but don’t worry The Deli isn’t about to switch over to becoming a travel blog even if that’d no doubt be more lucrative, i.e. lucrative at all, but instead I’m sharing this recollection of Valle de Cocora as a useful point of comparison to the music of Bogota-born-and-raised-up-until-her-early-teens singer-songwriter-guitarist-keyboarist-programmer-producer Valley Latini who subsequently did stints in Texas and Tennessee before settling in New York City and who just released her first full-length record Attention Lover last Friday…

…seeing as the album gives me a similar “uncanny valley” vibe as those Colombian cloud forests about 2,500 miles from where I sit now with Valley’s etherial-oft-upper-upper-register vocals floating across the songs’ sonic landscapes like a sheer gossamer veil but delivered with a vertiginous, sensuous assurance not heard perhaps since Jane Birkin paid breathy homage to “La Décadanse” while grinding her hips against her forever-dishelveled twenty-years-her-senior songwriting-genius-lover Serge Gainsbourg’s, erm, serge...

…except her vocal delivery is less “Gallic cool” than “Tropical heat” trapped in an urban heat bubble and much like the cloud forest’s enveloping fog that forms when high pressure and low pressure masses of air come into contact with one other in perfect equilibrium and likewise there's a simlar alchemy when Valley’s airy vocals come in contact with the earthy "dark pop" side of her music—e.g., close-mic’ed vivid guitar strumming and buzzing pulsating synths and programmed “Dembow” type beats slowed down and blunted out to the point where they sound like dancehall riddims on promethazine—which you can hear in distilled form on track four “Black River” to take but one good example…

…or check out the next track “Romona Dolly” to sample the other side of Valley Latini’s musical spectrum, a waltz-time acoustic guitar ballad that comes across like a campfire-side psych-folk revisionist-feminist Spaghetti Western title song and it’s never quite clear whether the listener is meant to feel melancholy or sensuality or hallucinatory dislocation from her music but heck why not jump into all three states of being at once if not more…



…and maybe that’s why Colombia’s Valle de Cocora represents a sixth of the world’s biodiversity (!) with its rich array of tree sloths, llamas, peacocks, pumas, roosters, mountain tapers, and hummingbirds making themselves at home alongside the other species (including the endangered spectacled bear that is the only remaining bear species native to South America) seeing as how meteorological extremes (or emotional extremes) often result in a certain biological fecundity…

…and speaking of fecundity Valley Latini’s music is, by nearly any metric, sensual as heck (promise that’s the last time I’ll use that word in this review and I mean ‘sensual’ not ‘heck’!) in an inclusive, body-positive sense, an impression only heightened by Valley’s self-directed and co-directed music videos whether it's the pole-dancing skills on display in “Ask Me Why” and “Rosas” (joining forces on the latter track with her fellow Colombian-born, New York based compatriot Slic who was profiled here a couple months ago) or the playful, satirical stop-motion animation of “Tu Y Yo”…

…which draws upon a collage of Valley’s own heaven-and-hell-themed artwork—with animation assistance from Tara R. Sampson and Mo Go—which culminates with an ascent to the heavens via a dancer’s pole that leads to the entrance of a “Haux House” above the clouds, or the Tarantino-esque grainy grindhouse throwback vibes of “Blonde” with its rooftop hot tub and other exotic settings that capture "the feeling of having a sordid love affair" (opening dialogue: “Did you get the money shot yet?” “This whole shot is the money shot.”) which taken together feature dozens of beguiling fashions and locales for your best entertainment value....

…and suddenly I’ve got a mental image of wax palm trees once again except now their slender pole-like trunks have been transformed into (wait for it…) giant dancer poles for larger-than-life Incan deities like Mama Quilla/Kilya/Killa or Blunderbore if he ever went the way of Magic Mike and btw all the aforementioned videos were made for singles not included on Attention Lover (German title: Achtung Liebhaber!) which just goes to show the fecundity of Valley’s songwriting output, singles which I’ve comped up for your/my listening pleasure on a Spot-I-Fried playlist

..but hey that’s enough from me cuz no doubt you’ve had your fill of my ramblings about the biodiversity of Colombian cloud forests and pole dancing Incan deities and would be grateful to get some insights from the source itself so it’s lucky for us Valley shared a capsule bio with The Deli and then we had a nice convo on the phone too so continue reading after jump to learn more about Valley Latini’s background and what she had to say about her music and about some of the individual songs on Attention Lover. (Jason Lee)

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THE INTERVIEW:

I’m from everywhere. I call everywhere home. The only place I ever moved to was New York City. Other places I ended up by circumstance or moving with my family.

I never know what genre to call my music. I don’t f—ing know. After several people who listened to the record told me it’s got a country and western vibe and I was good with that. I always wanted to do a record with a “sad cowgirl” vibe. Dolly Parton is such a big inspiration. I was standing so close to it that I couldn’t see the whole thing. I’m so inspired by her guitar playing and songwriting. The queen of rhinestones. She inspired me to start bedazzling my guitars.

Attention Lover is inspired by the melancholy in my life. The realness. The whole album is a love story from beginning to end with a tragic ending. It tells a story. I may be a familiar story, but the songs are chronological in terms of the relationship and I wrote and worked on a lot of them with the person I was dating at the time which is the overall subject of the songs too so there’s a Fleetwood Mac vibe. It goes to show how life changes, how you can go from being with this person and writing 2 or 3 songs per day to not talking to them on their birthday.

I generally write so much that I don’t have the time in the year to release all the songs I’ve written. I’d never thought about putting an album together. Songwriting was just something to do everyday. Why not write amazing songs and make amazing records? 

Being artistic runs in the family. My grandmother was a painter and my uncle played in an orchestra in Germany. My grandfather was a music critic for a Colombian newspaper covering practical music concerts. My mom put me in piano lessons since I was five years old. Ever since then had a feeling this is what I wanted to do. There was else I wanted to do. I’m not the type of person to have a job orhave anyone boss me around. I was bad at homework in school because it was someone else giving me an assignment.

I’ve got a recording setup in my Brooklyn apartment. A digital interface, guitars, keyboard. I used Logic Pro to collaborate with co-writers like Avi Snow (“Serpiente”), Ben Cina (“Ask Me Why”) and Mike Dextro (“Tu Y Yo”) on all the songs except “Ramona Dolly.” Slic wrote with me on “Rosas” and “Illicit” and a production team helped with working on “Caravan.”

And I'm grateful to mixing engineer Rachel Alina who had her students mix all of my songs and I got to pick the best mixes. That’s her business. She’s such a supportive friend. I direct or co-direct all the music videos—come up with concepts, direct and edit all of them. I’m in charge of every area of my art including the production of the songs, putting every single element out there myself.

THE SONGS

“Black River”: Just more like a state of mind. It talks about depression. Sometimes it’s important to sit with your sadness and you can learn so much from that.

“Ramona Dolly”: About not being somebody’s everything—trying to be their best friend, lover, everything. Expectations in relationships are so highly romantic so that when people start not fulfilling expectations that are already too high it causes problems.

“Shadow”: A song about being blinded by love and not seeing somebody for who they are. Not seeing all sides because you’re fixated on the idea of being with them. The bad side or the shadow side. Not realizing this person is not for me, ignoring all the signs.

“Labios De Juul” (“Lips of Juul”): About a relationship with a girlfriend where was always smoking the Juul and now I always am, The appreciation of her, so inspiring to me.

“How Do I?” is about boundaries and learning to find them. L

“Let You Go” is about coming to the ealization, the awareness that you have to let go.

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Time: 
8p
Band name: 
D.Treut & The Clarif
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/DTreut
Venue name: 
Unit J
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Time: 
10:00pm
Band name: 
Autopilot
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/autopilotmusic
Venue name: 
El Cid
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Time: 
08:00
Band name: 
VJAY.mp3
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.instagram.com/vjay.mp3/
Venue name: 
Berlin Under A
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Time: 
20:00
Band name: 
Awkward Marina
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/AwkwardMarina/
Venue name: 
Connolly's(Times Sq)
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