As In the Valley Below, Jeffrey Jacob (vocals and guitar) and Angela Gail (vocals and keys) are what AllMusic calls “a Los Angeles–based duo with a penchant for crafting stylish, noir-kissed blasts of dark electro-pop.” Their debut full-length, The Belt (stream it below), arrived in 2014. “Belts can hurt you if used as a weapon, but they can also hold your pants up, and In the Valley Below do a deft job of exploring both polarities with their music,” said PopMatters. About a month ago, In the Valley Below (above, performing “Peaches” live for Wilcox Sessions) put out their fourth EP, Elephant (stream it below). “With so much going wrong in the world today, there are a plethora of songs inspired by the darker side of life. The uniqueness of In the Valley Below is that they do not phone in the music or the message when they create their art,” rang in Impose. “They believe that in order to have the most effect, they must reach the largest audience with genuinely good music, and it shows. This EP comes from a authentic mindset, raising awareness for important issues, and it doesn’t hurt that the songs are great to listen to.” They’re also great to experience live, which you can do on Thursday at Mercury Lounge and on Saturday at Rough Trade NYC. Electronic five-piece Flagship open both shows.
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Robert Stevenson (vocals, piano and guitar) and Spencer Walker (drums) formed the alternative English band A Silent Film (above, doing “Something to Believe In” for Jam in the Van) 10 years ago in Oxford with three other musicians who have since moved on to other projects. But their arena-ready sound—which has earned them comparisons to the likes of Coldplay and Travis—remains. Stevenson and Walker have been busy this year, first putting out the EP New Year (stream it below) in April and returning with their third full-length, a self-titled affair (stream it below), two weeks ago, which AXS calls “a bright glimmer of power, a brilliantly crafted, edgy, in-your-face gold mine of pop.” Out on the road in support of their new music, A Silent Film play The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday and Rough Trade NYC next Friday. Charlotte, N.C., duo Flagship open both shows.