• “Damn That Valley” as performed in October 2015, live in the studio for “q”, Canada’s ‘liveliest arts, culture and entertainment magazine’. Thanks to q on cbc.
“Fantastic Dubbeat from the USA”
As I do every year, I have compiled a 50-track mega-album featuring all of the selections from the annual poll voted by Dandelion Radio listeners; a canny bunch who remain more likely to chime agreeably with my tastes than any other group.
“Damn That Valley” was voted #37 in their eyes. You can read my overview of the Festive 50 on my review website.
U.S. Girls is the solo project of Meghan Remy, an Illinois-born, Toronto-based creator, assisted here (on the left) by Amanda Crist (Ice Cream) on backing vocals and Onakabazien, whom she is quick to credit with the dub-heavy wall-of-sound on “Damn That Valley”. Both she and he have an occasional penchant for the deconstruction of pop; does Carly Simon’s “Why” lie at the beating heart of this piece I wonder? Ha-ha, my ears are always open. Whatever, on this evidence, it seems Meghan’s time in Toronto has been well spent. The track lives on her 2015 album, “Half Free”, a set which is entrenched in narratives exploring abuses and inequalities.
The world seems always to be on a knife edge and, for many, a full and natural life seems like an impossibility. “Damn That Valley” is not so much a war-widow’s lament, more of a war-widow’s scream.
“Where is my man?… where is my soldier boy?… I never got to say goodbye… he promised me he would come back alive… DAMN THAT VALLEY.”
This lashes out, quite literally, at the corridors of death where soldiers can often be slaughtered like sitting ducks and, more subliminally, at the ridiculousness of the super-powers who would ultimately be responsible for condemning them to having their lives extinguished in such a fashion.
It’s a mighty statement from Meghan and her key collaborator; cerebral pop for a distressed Generation Y.