“Your secret life cut me open”: Valley Return With a Fiery Roar on “When You Know Someone,” an Anthem of Abandonment & Betrayal

Valley's Karah James, Alex Dimauro, and Rob Laska © Becca Hamel
Valley's Karah James, Alex Dimauro, and Rob Laska © Becca Hamel
Hot off a band member’s departure and their reintroduction as a trio, Valley’s “When You Know Someone” channels feelings of betrayal and abandonment, heartache and helplessness into a fiery, impassioned, and emotionally charged anthem.
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“When You Know Someone” – Valley

Another sinking hand means one less that I’m holding…

Valley’s new single has been billed as a reintroduction, but fear not longtime fans: They’re still the same dynamic and vibrant indie pop band we’ve all come to know and love over these past eight years.

Minus one; founding member and lead guitarist Mickey Brandolino announced his bittersweet departure from the band earlier this year, leaving lead singer Rob Laska, bassist Alex Dimauro, and drummer Karah James to carry on as a trio.

And carry on, they will: Released today via Capitol and UMG Canada, “When You Know Someone” channels feelings of betrayal and abandonment, heartache and helplessness into a fiery, impassioned anthem. “When you know someone, think you know someone, so well, and when they break your heart, it’s never equal parts, oh, well,” Rob Laska sings hot on the mic, his fiery voice ready and willing to spill the contents of his heavy soul.

When You Know Someone - Valley
When You Know Someone – Valley

Would it be hyperbole to say this is Valley’s greatest low? Perhaps, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the trio rise up higher than ever in a spectacularly cathartic, emotionally charged chorus:

Jump ship right there in mid-ocean
‘Nother sinking hand means
one less that I’m holding

Your secret life cut me open
Too proud to say so
I’m not what you want
When you know someone
You really know someone
Someone like me

“The song is about abandonment and feeling like we were on something in the middle of the ocean and that someone suddenly jumped ship,” Rob Laska tells Atwood Magazine. “It felt important to share that song because it feels like one of our lowest points as we build back up. We had to go to the darkest corner first.”

“We wrote it with Trent Dabbs (Kacey Musgraves, COIN, Ingrid Michaelson) who helped us channel the emptiness we were feeling,” bandmate Karah James adds. “He sang the lyric ‘when you know someone, think you know someone,’ and I remember all of us just feeling so exposed and so seen by him in that moment. It’s a beautiful feeling of safety when you can write a song with people that truly understand where you’re coming from – you can’t hide, and that’s powerful.”

Valley's Karah James, Alex Dimauro, and Rob Laska © Becca Hamel
Valley’s Karah James, Alex Dimauro, and Rob Laska © Becca Hamel

To their credit, Valley don’t hide from the loss of Brandolino or glance over his departure like it doesn’t hurt them –

– as individuals, and as a unit (they’ve previously described the band as both a business and a family in interviews with Atwood Magazine). And let’s not play dumb or pretend we don’t all know what this song is all about, either: Even if things are completely copacetic and amicable, they can still harbor feelings of grief, betrayal, resentment, insecurity, and everything else.

Thought I knew you well
Had you to myself, myself
So sick of trying too little, than trying too hard
Expecting me to find you when you left me in the dark
From strangers to friends to strangers again
I knew from the start this is how it would end

Produced by Chase Lawrence of COIN, “When You Know Someone” is Valley’s fresh start – a reset and new beginning that, for them, is all about “leaving no stone unturned at rock-bottom to make way for a new life.” It’s been less than a year since the release of their acclaimed sophomore LP Lost in Translation, which Atwood Magazine praised as an intimate and expansive… cinematic world unto itself: “Unfiltered and unflinchingly honest, Lost in Translation isn’t the theme to any old movie; rather, Valley’s passionate, deeply confessional second record is the sonically and emotionally charged score to our own perfectly imperfect lives.”



This return, arriving just eleven months (and two extended/deluxe versions later) sees Valley’s remaining members energized and invigorated. Unapologetic though its lyrics may be, “When You Know Someone” is not about wallowing in the pain of loss, but rather, finding the strength to soldier on despite (or in spite of) it.

And so, out of one life’s highest mountains there springs a new Valley – one determined to keep upping the ante, improving their game, and making the best damn music of their career.

“When You Know Someone,” if we may say so myself, is a phenomenal step in that direction.

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“When You Know Someone” – Valley

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