Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun


The story of Tender Forever: Once upon a time there was a young immigrant lost on the streets of Seattle with only $20 to her name. She’d grown up covering sixties pop classics in Bourdeaux, and traveled here with just a sense of adventure. Wandering aimlessly, she then ran into a fellow named Calvin Johnson. Through his K Records she found a place to work on mingling her deeply passionate vocals with mostly electronic music.

Melanie Valera was born in Maurr, France, relocated to Olympia, and is now living in Portland, OR. This celebrated “piano, guitar, keyboards, and saucepan” playing singer-songwriter has stopped the dance groove for her next album, No Snare.

Tender Forever has been known for the great one woman groove attack on tracks like a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” on a 2007 French compilation and also did a brilliantly brittle sonic extrapolation of Mirah’s “Make It Hot” on K’s remix anthology Joyride. But it was over the course of her breathtaking first two albums, The Soft and The Hardcore (2005) and Wider (2007), that she astonished media like Playgirl who described her as “sweet like Cat Power with lyrics that will make you feel like one tough bitch.”

For the very long-awaited full-length, the openly out artist takes in the darkness of these times, coming up with a clear-headed, broken-hearted song cycle of love overcoming fear.

Passionate as hell and a little overwhelming, No Snare seems like her bravest work, the first half more connected with her keyboards and drum machines, but halfway through letting more ambient textures, a little guitar and feedback, and slower tempos creep in. Below is the song-listing for the June 8th, 2010 release.

1. Got to Let Go

2. Like the Snare That’s Gone

3. Only the Sounds You Made

4. Nothing at All

5. Day Number

6. But The Shape Is Wide

7. Nowhere Good Enough

8. Unfortunate Friends

9. When I’m In The Dark And You Take Away The Dark