Teen Mortgage – “Valley”


“Valley” is a riveting psych-rocker from Teen Mortgage, the Washington D.C.-based duo of vocalist/guitarist James Guile and drummer Ed Barakauskas. The track comes via their Smoked EP, whose self-titled track is described as “an anthem dedicated to the escape from angst and our mundane society that skateboarding gifts you.”

“Smoked” is a term in skating culture for falling/slamming really hard when trying a trick; the band compares this feeling to “what it felt like to be an American during the pandemic. We slammed really hard, and all we wanted was an escape.” They continue: “In situation of turning lemons into lemonade, having a global pandemic wipe out all of our gigs and touring plans overnight freed up time for us to go back into the studio. As we figured it, best get busy recording or get busy dying.”

The result is the excellent Smoked EP, which features “Valley.” The track engrosses with its hypnotic psych-rock composure. A lonesome, clanging guitar kickstarts the track with patient mystique. Guile’s vocals play with an ethereal focus, the “inside your mind,” refrain driving into a thunderous wall of distortion-heavy fervency approaching the two-minute mark. The title-reference refrain invigorates with a heavy dose of ’90s alt-rock nostalgia, in the vein of Smashing Pumpkins. “Valley” is a consuming success from Teen Mortgage.

Stream the EP, below:

Photo Credit: Gabby Minkewicz @minkiewicsphoto

This track and others featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of July 2022’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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