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Artist of the Month
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April 2016
The Original Crooks and Nannies
"Ugly Laugh
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The Original Crooks and Nannies follow-up to 2015’s Soup For My Girlfriend begins with the sputtering staccato of “Call It Good.” The track’s rhythmic pulse collides flawlessly with Madeline Rafter’s vocals and buzzing synth, supported by a backbeat tailor-made for the dance floor. The album’s opener prepares its listener with ease for the pulsating energy of “Carry Me,” a heartfelt melody that brings to mind the romantics of Matt and Kim or the twee-drenched lyricism of Mates of State. The track’s sentiments are earnest, amplified simultaneously by urgent diction and humming chords. “Carry Me” is a living testament to The Original Crooks and Nannies’ ability to craft love songs so cathartic that it hurts.
 
Similarly, the unabashed desperation of “Throw Out” followed by the electro-hum of “Television” suitably precedes the tangibly raw frustration of “Dates.” For Rafter and her bandmate, Sam Huntington, drinking poison and having smashed teeth proves to be a more desirable fate than going on a date. Even in its state of exaggeration, the track is a potential artifact of our contemporary moment, depicting romance in the age of Tinder and the banality of #netflixandchill. It’s a critique with a memorable hook.
 
“Ghost” is suitably haunting with lines like “I can make you feel/I can make you feel much better” and crashing riffs and cymbals. The narrative of the song, like its namesake, will linger in your mind long after its heartfelt and nearly ethereal end. The intimacy of “Ghost” is transformed into a cinematic nostalgia in “Shake Hands.” Breathing to life an account of suburban antics and shared memories, Rafter and Huntington’s duet-esque ballad is irresistibly sweet, even for the most jaded listener, preparing its audience for the forthright emotives equally fervent in “Crying at the Dog Park.”
 
The woozy start of “Central Heating” and the narrative blends effortlessly into Ugly Laugh’s final track “Holy Wreck.” The album’s closer is an intimate confession paying homage to failures, flaws, and limitations. It’s a veneration of vulnerability and the beauty that can be found between fractures. “Holy Wreck,” much like the songs that precede it, is introspective, a melodic mirror reflecting the complexities of emotion and the adjacent irony of love, making Ugly Laugh the quintessential album that you didn’t know you were waiting for. It begs to be replayed again and again. - Dianca London

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Nightlands

New Music Video: "So Far So Long" - Nightlands

Below is a new music video from Nightlands, a.k.a. Dave Hartley, for the track "So Far So Long," off his latest album Oak Island (Secretly Canadian). It premiered yesterday over at Noisey, and was directed by David S. Kessler, who filmed the footage in northern Iceland as part of the international exhibit, "Due North," opening January 2014.

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Nightlands Supported by Ape School & Our Griffins at JB’s May 31

This upcoming Nightlands show should require a pillow to enter. The multi-talented Dave Hartley transports listeners to the place just between dreams and sleep with free-flowing choral effects with ambient noise. In fact, that’s where he came up with most of the ideas for Nightlands’ tracks: recording inspiration that came to him in REM cycle. However, his most recent release Oak Island finds him wandering a poppier side of music, but it still feels like poppy fields are scattered throughout the landscape. (BTW: I heard that there might be some live choral arrangements this evening.) Opening for Nightlands is Ape School, a solo(ish)-project from Michael Johnson. The band gives an oft tongue-in-cheek experiment in lyricism, resulting in a truly fun musical experience. Also taking the stage is Our Griffins, fronted by Dennis Joseph “DJ” Brown, who provides a gentle and soft-spoken sound that packs an emotional punch.  Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12, 8pm, 21+ - Shaylin O’Connell


New Music Video: "Born to Love" - Nightlands

Below is a new music video from Nightlands, a.k.a. Dave Hartley, for the track "Born to Love" off his latest release Oak Island. It was directed by She Policeman (who was inspired by Andy Warhol and the song, itself), using footage from another video filmed with an old VHS camcorder. Nightlands also just announced a string of headlining dates that will make a local stop on Friday, May 31 at Johnny Brenda's. BTW: Send out some good vibes to Hartley this weekend because he'll be competing at the Professional & Amateur Pinball Association's 2013 Match-Play Championship in Pittburgh, alongside four-time world champion Bowen Kirens and pinball champion/former '76 Todd MacCulloch, who both personally invited him.

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Congrats to Nightlands' Dave Hartley & Luke Bonner for Their Successful #LetBonnerShoot Campaign!

Congrats to Dave Hartley, a.k.a. Nightlands, and Luke Bonner on their successful #LetBonnerShoot campaign! The San Antonio Spurs announced yesterday that Matt Bonner will be competing in the Foot Locker Three-point Contest (which will be taking place on Saturday, February 16) at the 62nd NBA All-Star Game weekend. The guys ran a brilliant grassroots social media campaign that garnered support from high-profile folks like Arcade Fire and Eva Longoria. The people have spoken, and we were heard - cheers fellas!

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New Track: "Nico" - Nightlands

Nightlands, a.k.a. Dave Hartley, recently premiered the track "Nico" from his latest record Oak Island. You can listen to the album version below, and check out Hartley's interview with ARTINFO as well as the vocals only and instrumental version of the song HERE. He'll be heading on tour next month opening for Efterklang.

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