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Valley — Last Birthday

Ontario: Top 10 of 2021

by Ben Boddez

Alt-pop quartet Valley’s latest EP is a celebration of new beginnings, set to some of the catchiest hooks you’ll hear all year and a heavy dose of lyrical nostalgia as vocalists Rob Laska and Karah James envision curling up in bed, listening to some Britney Spears and Nirvana, and watching reruns of Friends with that perfect person you don’t realize you’ve fallen for until it’s far too late to back out. The grungier elements lurking underneath provide an invigorating contrast.

Bo Burnham’s transcendent comedy special isn’t the only great piece of COVID-adjacent art titled Inside released this year. The indie-rock quintet’s latest opens and closes with the sounds of the 7pm clanging pots and pans that once heralded the essential workers, and many of the tracks find them grappling with introspective thoughts while trapped in a room – being stuck inside one’s own head being an even worse fate than the physical boundaries.