Valewood – Beautiful & Useless

Post Author: John Warlick

Los Angeles indie-emo band levels up on fantastic debut LP

It’s easy to guess why Thousand Oaks-hailing, LA-residing indie rock trio Valewood might have moved on from their original band name Three Close Friends. With such a refined presentation of wide-ranging emo influences and lived-in quirks, their debut LP Beautiful & Useless feels less like a band of friends’ DIY first effort than an album with a Run For Cover logo stamped on the sleeve.

Truly, Beautiful & Useless shows off a group with preternatural gifts for indie-emo songwriting, crafting indelible guitar riffs (“Person”, “Disaster Kit”) and winding killer bridges into sprawling outros (“Bolt of Silk (Pontchartrain), “Distance”). Valewood vocalist Trevor Crown is as natural a frontman as they come, mining a potent nostalgia in his writing that relates and ruminates without overreaching into melancholy. The band dynamic shines throughout B&U as well, with drummer Arlan Cashier’s versatile, springy grooves lending proper weight to Crown and keyboardist Baxter Bailey’s unique guitar-synth interplay.

Valewood’s sure approach pays off hard on album cut “Housefire“: reverb-drenched guitar leads, syncopated keyboards and mellotrons cut through sunburnt imagery and seamless time signature changes before resolving into a rollicking climax. Like the rest of Beautiful & Useless, it’s some of the most evocative and authentic indie rock you’ll hear this summer.

You can purchase the album HERE and stream it below: