Public Service Broadcasting have released their new album Every Valley via Play It Again Sam. To celebrate they have released a special track by track video on the album. Furthermore, J. Willgoose, Esq. recently took some time to speak to NPR’s Morning Edition about the artistic process behind the album and the historical nature of the project. It is an incredibly informative interview that applies the historical lessons of the mining boom and collapse in South Wales to the present political climate. In particular, J. Willgoose, Esq. said that “It’s not an exercise in nostalgia, it’s actually about reframing the past”.

With Every Valley, J. Willgoose, Esq. take us on a journey down the mineshafts of the South Wales valleys, with the stories found there a black mirror to the plight of workers everywhere. Previous albums have focused on the wide-ranging subjects of World War II and the Space Race. Although Every Valley is the story of one industry in a region and time far from ours, the tales of a disenfranchised working class in this age of turmoil could not be more relevant.

The album was recorded in January in Ebbw Vale, the former industrial town that was once the heart of the steel, and before that, coal industries. Willgoose conducted his own interviews with people directly involved in the Miners’ Strike, including the secretary and caretaker of the local branch of the National Union of Mineworkers, the latter of whose voice appears on the album. This formed just one element in “the broadest pool we’ve had to date” in terms of PSB’s source material. Sources include National Coal Board films at The BFI, the independent documentary The Welsh Miner, and audio tape from the South Wales Miners’ Library at Swansea University, recorded by Dr Hywel Francis in the strike’s immediate aftermath with many of the key players. “We’ve unearthed – no pun intended – a lot of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in a while, and shining a light on relatively unexposed areas of it.”

Although the concept is localized and historical, J. Willgoose, Esq hopes the story is “applicable to industries all over the western world and possibly beyond, in the way that the Industrial Revolution generated these communities that were so dependent on one particular industry, and what happens to that community when you remove that industry from it, and where that leaves us now”

Every Valley features a host of guest artists including Manic Street Preachers’ frontman James Dean Bradfield and Camera Obscura’s Traceyanne Campbell. The album varies from the blissful kraut-pop of ‘Progress’ to the apocalyptic sounds of ‘All Out’. These different styles are cleverly stitched together using a historical story that runs through the mid to late 20th Century.

North American Tour
Sept 12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry
Sept 13 – New York, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Sept 15 – Boston, MA – Sonias
Sept 16 – Montreal, QC – Belmont (Pop Montreal Festival)
Sept 18 – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
Sept 20 – Chicago, IL – Schubas
Sept 21 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Sept 22 – Seattle, WA – Columbia City Theatre
Sept 26 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
Sept 28 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour

Every Valley Tracklist:
1. Every Valley
2. The Pit
3. People Will Always Need Coal
4. Progress (ft. Tracyanne Campbell)
5. Go To The Road
6. All Out
7. Turn No More (ft. James Dean Bradfield)
8. They Gave Me A Lamp (ft. Haiku Salut)
9. You + Me (ft. Lisa Jên Brown)
10. Mother Of The Village
11. Take Me Home

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