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Melanie Valera was part of a girl group cover band in her hometown of Bordeaux, France, before landing in Portland, OR, and starting Tender Forever in 2005. On Soft and the Hardcore, which appeared later that year through K Records, Valera sang tender, extremely personal songs about identity, relationships, and taking off your shirt, accompanying herself with simplistic acoustic guitar and laptop melodies. Similarities to Mirah and Anna Oxygen were acknowledged. Soft and the Hardcore was recorded at Dub Narcotic with help from Calvin Johnson and Khaela Maricich (aka the Blow); Tender Forever later toured the U.S. with Johnson. On 2007's Wider, Valera moved in a brighter synth pop direction that recalled labelmates the Blow, but by the time of 2010's No Snare, her music had taken a darker, more polished sound. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi