Chad Valley is a band I thought I had written about before, but it seems I was wrong. So consider this a brief introduction to Chad Valley.

Chad Valley is one man, Hugo Manuel, and he is Oxford’s answer to American chillwave. He is also one-third of Jonquil, a group who are seen as forebears of the current Oxford music branch, who have formed other bands in the city. Chad valley are very much part of the Oxford music scene which has suddenly exploded in recent months, following the success of Trophy Wife, and further back, Foals (and even further back, Radiohead, though this new breed seems to be much happier than Thom et al). Indeed, Yannis, lead singer with Foals seems to be championing the scene from the rooftops. It is dubbed Blessing Force, and in the latest issue of NME, it is not called a scene, but rather, a community.

A four-track ep is the first release from Hugo under the Chad Valley name, and bows its head more to Noah Lennox and Animal Collective than to Foals’ math-rock precision. It is built around a computer and feels both intimate and crowd-pleasingly massive at the same time. Sounds are thrown into the mix as the four tracks progress, and ‘Up And Down’ could hold its own against anything that Panda Bear holds in his arsenal.

The ep is out on Cascine now, and is available on iTunes. There is also supposed to be a new Jonquil mini-album as well this month. As if that wasn’t enough, Hugo is planning a big R&B remix tape. In an interview with NME, he says, “Yeah, what I’ve done is a whole bunch of remixes and edits, and I’m going to release a tape of those. I think that’ll be the next thing to come out, as a stopgap before whatever the next release is. You’ll probably be able to download it for free and buy the tape. I’ve done The Dream, Mariah Carey, a couple of R Kelly ones, Janet Jackson and Keri Hilson as well. I’m really, really into that.”

The Oxford community looks like it is not going to slow down any time soon, and could feature prominently in the tips for 2011, which will soon be inundating you. Expect to be listening to Pet Moon, Fixers, and Trophy Wife a lot over the next year. For now, listen to that debut ep by Chad Valley, and check out the punk-ethos, but with goals firmly in place, Blessed Force.

All four tracks are below, with a tracklisting underneath.


1 ‘Portuguese Solid Summer’
2 ‘Anything’
3 ‘Up and Down’
4 ‘Ensoniq Funk’