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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
mp3
There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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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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