Valet holds a special place in the heart of the thriving Minneapolis indie scene, so when they quietly announced a new record amidst premature reports of the band’s demise, there were nearly tangible *clinks* as fans toasted the future release.
If CDs could wear out the way tapes do, sales of their debut album The Glamour is Contagious (2001), would probably have doubled. It garnered substantial acclaim and made many annual top ten lists—even capturing “Top 10 local CDs of the year...so far, anyway” from Star Tribune and “Best album of the past 12 months” from City Pages.
Life on the Installment Plan aptly portrays the bands’ development since Glamour. The songs are more complex but just as magnetic, with the addition of Steve Yernberg on guitar filling out the band’s sound and taking Valet’s formerly sparse pop a step into the halls of rock. The other foot, of course, remains firmly planted in pop, and Kyle’s songs continue to portray the challenging underbellies of life and relationships.
At the helm is Robin Kyle (vocals/guitar), a native of Belfast who moved to the US in 1994, Steve Yernberg (guitar), Judd Hildreth (drums), Paul Fugelstad (keyboards/accordion), and Kris Lightner (bass), whose real-life job as a valet has nothing to do with the name of the band.
Kyle played acoustic sets in local circles after moving from Ireland in 1994 at the age of 17, but soon wanted to move his music in a different direction. His songs might have lounged in obscurity forever if Hildreth hadn’t approached him and convinced him to start a band. And that, of course, is how it often begins...
WHAT IMPARTIAL OBSERVERS SAY
Valet is the “...best brooding pop-rock band in town” and Life on the Installment Plan “a sophisticated, semi-political, moody collection filled with imaginative story-songs” -Star Tribune
"Kyle’s ability to meld hummable melodies with such dark lyrics is part of what makes The Glamour Is Contagious a cut above your standard indie rock release. Ably abetted by a group of musicians that seem particularly attuned to his unique sensibility, the album is full of nice moments. The light keyboard hook on “Air Hostess” (sounding like it wouldn’t be out of place on Wilco’s Summerteeth), and the lyrics of “Lovelife” and “Zurich”, which manage to sound wistful and barbed at the same time, are just a few of the highlights." -Amazon.com
"'Zurich' is one of the most perfect pop songs I’ve heard in quite some time. This is some good stuff.” - Imactpress.com
- Robin Kyle
- Steve Yernberg
- Judd Hildreth
- Paul Fugelstad
- Kris Lightner
- Adam Bagnueski
- Jeremiah Doering
- Life on the Installment Plan (2024 Records, 2004)
- The Glamour Is Contagious (Self-released/Snowglobe Records, 2002)
- Self Titled EP (Self-released, 1999)