Review & Video Premiere: No Man’s Valley, Outside the Dream

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

no mans valley outside the dream

No Man’s Valley, “Eyeball” official video premiere

[Click play above to stream the premiere of No Man’s Valley’s “Eyeball” video. Their new album, Outside the Dream, is out March 22 on Tonzonen Records.]

Both their 2016 debut album, Time Travel (review here), and the new follow-up, Outside the Dream (on Tonzonen), immediately clue the listener into No Man’s Valley‘s priorities. This is not a band dealing in grounded fare. The Horst, Netherlands-based five-piece meld ethereal atmospherics with classic psychedelic blues, resulting in a two-sided long-player that channels Doors-style drift on “From Nowhere” after the earlier “Eyeball” melds echoing lysergics with airy post-rocking guitar and a fervent stomp in its drums. Modern touchstones would be The Flying Eyes (“From Nowhere”) or maybe even All Them Witches (“7 Blows”), but No Man’s Valley present these aspects of their sound with a distinctive, open feeling take on songwriting that’s nonetheless memorable, with a depth of mix that lends even the more straightforward push of “Hawk Rock” an ambient character.

Comprised of vocalist Jasper as well as guitarist Christian, bassist Rob, keyboardist Ruud and drummer Dinand, all of whom contribute backing vocals at one point or another, the band are able to tie together seemingly disparate moods and elements, suck that the subdued and malevolent closer “Murder Ballad” is preceded by “Lies,” which seems to call back to the earlier circus feel in the apex of “Eyeball,” but with something even more vicious at play. If one thinks of the album as a progression of dreaming, the opening title-track leads the listener into a fuzz-drenched subconscious along a soulful, organ-inclusive march, and “Eyeball,” “Hawk Rock” — as in, Hawkwind? certainly possible — and “From Nowhere” follow with a pattern of increasing depth, malleable the way one dream can turn into another instantly, getting weirder all the while. That would make side B opener “Into the Blue,” which is appropriately named as the bluesiest track on the record, a similar launchpoint into something darker throughout “7 Blows,” “Lies” and “Murder Ballad.”

That’s a convenient-enough narrative, but I’m not sure it’s what the band are actually shooting for. The lines aren’t so clearly drawn, and they don’t seem to want to be. There’s no question they end dark with “Lies” and “Murder Ballad,” but the path they take to get there isn’t so black and white, and to think it might be is to undervalue the complexity on display throughout sides A and B of the eight-song/40-minute outing. One would call it grey in its approach if it weren’t so gosh darn colorful. Ultimately, No Man’s Valley‘s breadth is not a detriment, of course, and they have the songwriting behind their explorations of mood to hold it all together. Fair enough, but even to look at the almost-manic assembly of images and figures on Outside the Dream‘s cover art, it’s clear they’re crafting a dreamscape — more inside the dream than out of it; though perhaps the title is referring to that haze in one’s first waking moments when consciousness and the unconscious seem to intertwine.

no mans valley

If that’s the case, the shouts in “Eyeball” and the surrounding swirl of effects, as well as the echoing ramble of “Into the Blue” would seem to make even more sense, making sense — from a conceptual standpoint — isn’t really the idea here. Whatever they might be expressing in terms of theme or story, there’s no question No Man’s Valley distinguish themselves among a swath of European psychedelic heavy by means of both style and substance in their work. “Into the Blue” descends into a glorious wash of guitar while the keys — Rhodes, maybe — still stand out all the more dream-like for cutting through the mix as they do, while the earlier “Hawk Rock” is all about thrust, with a garage-rocking style that resolves itself in a Hammond-drenched verse and a sudden stop ahead of the brooding “From Nowhere,” which indeed makes “nowhere” sound like the place to be.

All along this varied course, the band provide a trail of deceptively lush melody for the audience to follow along with them as they go deeper, and even as “7 Blows” seems to break in its midsection in order to vibe out ahead of the closing duo, there’s a return to the hook impending as if to let everyone know they’re not all the way gone yet. This care and attention to detail further help distinguish No Man’s Valley, but frankly, if their second album proves anything, it’s that they don’t need much help. Even in that vast, mostly empty landscape in the middle of “7 Blows,” Jasper plays a fitting Jim Morrison in order to give a human presence ahead of the cacophonous payoff to come. That transition, like Outside the Dream as a whole, is handled with fluidity and grace, and much as they seem to invite all parties to go get lost with them, they’re never actually lost. Even “Lies” has a swinging undercurrent despite its more cynical take and shorter runtime, and its percussive motion, start-stop guitar and bouncing organ line all come together with boozy verse lines to build to the standout chorus.

That leaves No Man’s Valley right at the precipice of “Murder Ballad,” which indeed lives up to its title. Foreboding guitar howls behind the quietly-delivered vocals and a steady, grounding, bassline. One would be remiss not to mention Nick Cave, but “Murder Ballad” isn’t out of place with the rest of Outside the Dream, it’s just a darker manifestation of that unconsciousness. Without the push of drums, it feels like the moment when the band finally let go into the ether, and even at just over four minutes, it is something of a grand finale in terms of execution without actually being overbearing in terms of volume. Fitting, then, that it should close, since it effectively draws down the dream-side of the album, leaving off to silence in such a way as to make one wonder what happens next. Did we wake up? Are we still asleep? Perhaps that’s an answer that will come with No Man’s Valley‘s third record, but either way, their second builds on the debut in terms of structure and expansion of sound, showing the band as perfectly comfortable in or out of the reaches of the waking world. Like a lucid dream, where they go from here would seem to be entirely up to them.

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No Man’s Valley Post “Lies” Video; Outside the Dream Due Early 2019

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

no mans valley

It’s been fairly quiet since earlier this summer when Netherlands-based classic heavy psych blues rockers No Man’s Valley announced their intentions toward a second full-length to be titled Outside the Dream, and launched a crowdfunding campaign for its completion. Well, I guess it all worked out, because the album is recorded and set for release in early 2019 through Tonzonen Records as the follow-up to 2016’s Time Travel (review here), which came out via Nasoni. They’re giving a first glimpse of what’s in store with the new release in a video for the track “Lies.”

And in a relatively concise three minutes laced with organ, a Stooges-style stomp and a catchy hook that may or may not switch between “It’s alright” and “It’s all lies” — kind of hard to tell with the vocal effects — the song makes its impression melodically and in terms of its structure and tone, as well as in its tight-knit, get-in-rock-and-get-out-again attitude. There’s nothing spare about it, no extra pieces left hanging about. It seems to pull its influence from the time when the only option for it coming out might’ve been pressed as a 45RPM record in a paper sleeve, and sure enough its shuffle and push would well earn that distinction if it came to it. As it stands, it’s just the first piece of Outside the Dream to be made public.

The video is assembled footage from what looks like the public domain — nothing really landmark, but the purpose it’s serving is to highlight the song, and it does that fairly enough. You can and should check it out on the player below. No Man’s Valley have a few live dates in the next month-plus, including later this week in Berlin with Daily Thompson. All info follows the clip itself.

Please enjoy:

No Man’s Valley, “Lies” official video

Check out the new video for the song Lies, taken from our upcoming album Outside The Dream. The album will be released on Tonzonen Records early next year. The album was recorded with Mathijs Kievit (Bartek, Luwten) at Studio Joneski and mastered by Pieter Kloos (Motorpsycho, Beaver, Komatsu). Catch the band live this year at:

10-6 Berlin (DE)- Zukunft Am Ostkreutz w/Daily Thompson
10-26 Arnhem (NL)- Popronde
10-27 Sittard (NL)- Popronde
11-2 Bonn (NL)- Kult 41 w/Giirl
11-15 Breda (NL)- Popronde

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No Man’s Valley Announce New Album Outside the Dream; Launch Crowdfunding for Recording Costs

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

So No Man’s Valley have a new album… not quite. To be more accurate, they’ve got songs and intentions toward a new album. The Dutch heavy psychedelic blues rockers have aligned themselves to Tonzonen Records for the follow-up to 2016’s Time Travel (review here), and they’ve set themselves toward an early 2019 release. They’re even currently in the studio, but they’ve set up a crowdfunding campaign in order to cover their costs there as they work to finalize the release. They’ve got posters from their appearance at Freak Valley, album preorders, shirts, and private show opportunities within a reasonable distance from their hometown — they’ve even got their own P.A., so I mean, if you’re having a backyard barbecue in Den Haag or something, that might be fun — as well as other claimable whatnots for those who donate, and the campaign is nearly a third of the way to its goal with 31 days still to go.

The band was kind enough to send some info down the PR wire about the new record’s making and how listeners can help. It all looks an awful lot like this:

no mans valley

No Man’s Valley – Outside The Dream on Tonzonen Records

Dutch psychbluesers No Man’s Valley are thrilled to announce the coming of their second album Outside The Dream on limited Vinyl and CD. They will work together with Tonzonen Records from Germany (The Spacelords, Psychic Lemon, Mouth) for this release which will see the light of day around early 2019. The record is being produced at the moment by Matthijs Kievit (Bartek), and will be mastered by Pieter Kloos (Motorpsycho, Astrosoniq, Dool).

We Need You

The band have already started recording, but they still need some financial support. So for the coming 30 days they have launched a crowdfunding campaign which should help them fund their ambitious project, while gaining the opportunity to secure one of those highly limited gems, next to some other personal band items like posters and photographs. Donate here: https://www.voordekunst.nl/projecten/7467-no-mans-valley-second-album-on-vinyl

Outside The Dream

Outside The Dream is the story of how to transform personal backlash into something new and positive. This personal weight makes sure the band has gotten more to the core of their strength. Never before did the band sound so vulnerable yet at the same time so powerful.

www.nomansvalley.com
https://www.facebook.com/nomansvalley
https://twitter.com/nomansvalley
https://instagram.com/nomansvalley/
nomansvalley.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/
https://www.instagram.com/tonzonenrecords/
https://www.tonzonen.de

No Man’s Valley, Time Travel (2016)

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