Song of the Day: Chad Valley – Fast Challenges

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Fast Challenges” by Chad Valley from the 2011 album Equatorial Ultravox on Cascine Records.

Chad Valley – Fast Challenges (MP3)

Most commonly known as the frontman and founder of the UK indie band Jonquil, Hugo Manuel has recently been recording solo material under the name Chad Valley. Not long after Jonquil signed to Dovecote Records, Manuel began, somewhat inconspicuously, releasing Chad Valley tracks onto the internet, with the dreamy “Up And Down” gaining some buzz in the summer of 2010. Now Maneul, or, err Valley, himself has signed his own record deal with Cascine, with his debut album, Equatorial Ultravox, set to be released on June 21.

Manuel’s solo music is far more expansive and dream-like than his work with Jonquil. Like today’s featured song, the 5 minute and 14 second “Fast Challenges,” Equatorial Ultravox is filled with shimmering tones and drawn-out vocals, drawing heavily from 80s synth-pop. The word “Ibiza” has been frequently used to describe Chad Valley’s sound, and though I’m not entirely sure what that means, it seems fitting; the music sounds like it was tailor-made for a blissful summer afternoon taking in the crystalline waters and cascading waves of the party-minded Spanish island.

As of now, Chad Valley only seems to have a few UK tour dates scheduled. Check back with his MySpace page for updates and to listen to more tracks from Equatorial Ultravox.

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