Valkyrians, Scent of Breathlessness

by admin on December 8, 2013

in Art, Music, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Art, Philadelphia Artists, Uncategorized, Video

CheMystery – Cris Valkyria from Take1 productions on Vimeo


Valkyrians is a Philly-based band that has established a reputation of a band hard to categorize, but with a memorable sound. Their foundation in the alt-rock category is tainted by Cris Valkyria’s soft, but potent vocal work with melodic folk and world undertones, and the incredibly counter-intuitive and octave-challenging harmonies provided by Valkyria and multi-instrumentalist/co-songwriter Lou Paglione will render you with a discombobulated, yet balanced and melodic impression.  Valkyrian’s solid, but raw sound picture is vaguely reminiscent of the prime time of musical history, but the mixology of classic roots coupled with the cross-genre flirtations and melodic harmonies, will ultimately leave a novel and interesting residue.”

Cris Valkyria and her band Valkyrians released an album of rock songs, pop ballads and folk punk titled Scent of Breathlessness that sounds just like Philadelphia. Cris and music collaborator Lou Paglione and the rest of the Valkyrians have played in clubs all over Philly, DoN dropped in the North Star Bar to hear them play last Winter and again recently at The Tin Angle. Cris’ bright soprano voice rings out over the thrashing guitars and percussion like a rock star, the band is called Valkyrians because of the lead singer’s distinctive aura, voice and spirit. The live performance at The Tin Angle was acoustically bright and lush, the sound design in the space let’s the band play loud and the singer sound clear. It was a fun night with some of the neighbors from our block out on the town on a Saturday night to share in the celebration.

Valkyrians music rocks out, virtuoso guitar range from sweet thrum to gnashing chords of sound. Cris’ elegant vocals layers the guitar-scapes with lucid lyrics about real feelings, authentic ideas and heightened awareness of emotion. The layers of sound are painterly, each word clear and articulated, yet the guitars and piano seem to float on their own layer of sound. Some moments are so present with a sense of liveness that feels immediate and unabashed; you can dance to the songs and head bang some, the Philly sound is there.

I caught up with lead singer Cris playing with her son in the snow storm this afternoon. Her knit cap was layered with snow, flakes melted on her nose, her long blond hair tangled with her scarf while we talked about the album release party while standing in the middle of the snow covered South Philly block we’ve shared for five years. I asked her why the album took seven years to complete?

“Well, because you know it takes time to get the right product. And the right band. I started this alone in Nashville with session musicians seven years ago. And so six of the songs on the album are actually session  musicians, not with the  band, because the instrumentals were great. But I re-did a lot of the vocals and now I have Lou as a back-up vocalist, doing vocals on those tracks and stuff, so it kind of sounds current and fun.”

The Tin Angle album party was fun, it’s a bar and lounge with great acoustic and a long rock history. Our neighborhood has a long musical history: Marion Anderson Historical Village, the Hot Club in the 70s, the Kandy Whales dance rock band in the 2000s, Josef Gulka the extraordinary music historian and choir director plus the music from the nearby churches and hourly gongs from the bell towers mixed with crunk hip-hop blasting from cars add the to the sonic landscape of South Philly life. I asked if she felt anything special during the performance that Saturday night in late November?

“It was like any other gig, you know? But it was just that we had this complete album finished and ready to sell. So, that’s fun. We will be playing some more shows that will be similar but it’s extra-fun to finally have finished a product. Although, when it takes seven years to finish your product you obviously have much more material. So we probably have twenty-five or fifty more songs sitting out there. And the whole prospect of getting that all down in the studio is kind of daunting. I think we’ll just stick to this for now.”

Cris and her kid make snow angels on the sidewalk, the huge flakes seem surreal and otherworldly. She says, “No steps! You have to fall back like this.” She flops into the drift of snow, the two make quick work of the angels. I asked her what it was like playing at The Tin Angle?

“I like it there but the stage is so small it’s absolutely impossible to have a stage presence because you have to just stand completely still. And that’s one of the reasons I decided to have a couple of songs where I don’t play guitar and I have a little bit more of a presence. I can’t move around on that stage so I might as well have the guitar all the time.”

Yeah, but the sound is so good. Even with the laughing drunk girls.

“There’s is nothing like an intimate setting like that because you’re always going to have background chatter. And there you’re going to have more of that, so I kind of prefer the small clubs and I didn’t actually notice the chatter so much. I felt like people were genuinely attentive and up on stage you have the lighting in your face and you don’t really see people, you just kind of perform and just get into it. I mean the music just takes you away and you don’t land until the music stops playing.”

Like Valkrians on facebook

Contact Valkyrians

Buy Scent of Breathlessness by Valkrians on iTunes

Follow the original DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog at

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure Statement

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar to help defray the costs of producing this blog post.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: