Night Moves Make Front Page News

The best young band in Minneapolis takes their sound to new neon heights on third Domino set

Night Moves

For those of us who do this sort of thing, almost time to start digging back in your stacks from the past few months in search of the best albums of 2019. 

And if you’re a Domino Records dude like me, their releases are always at the top of those towers of CDs we physical media dinosaur types still have lining our work stations just like the olden days. Can You Really Find Me, the third LP from the Minneapolis band Night Moves, indeed ranks alongside Beth Gibbons, Hot Chip and Peter Perrett amongst the very best the seminal UK-by-way-of-BKNY imprint had to offer so far this year. 

Produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno, this record is a natural progression of the rock solid songwriting team of John Pelant and Micky Alfano, who take their Real Estate/MGMT informed psych pop stylings on a night flight through the Stranger Things retro bubble, with Bob Welch and early 80s Macca as their guide. 

The RNR Globe had the opportunity to engage in a little digital conversation with Mr. Pelant of the group ahead of their show tonight at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, Iowa. Here’s what we got.

Can You Really Find Me is out now.

 

Seems like, based on the sound of the excellent Can You Really Find Me, you are following the trajectory of great psych-rooted acts like CAN, Robert Wyatt, Tangerine Dream, etc. when they began experimenting with more accessible sounds granted to them upon the advent of the 1980s. Was there a particular transition from a favorite artist of yours into the 80s that you most admire? 

We had a Wings cover band called Wangs. McCartney II is a seriously cool album. 

 

What is it about Macca II that appeals most to you and why? Also, great concept for a cover band! The Wings catalog is incredibly underrated beyond Band On The Run. Is there a particular off-brand Wings album you feel deserves more respect? Which one and why? 

McCartney II has a murky lo-fi quality to it, while still being very hi-fi in terms of production value. It has that tucked, lower-mid EQ’d vocal tone reminiscent of today’s lo-fi indie stuff. Also, the pop sensibility on it is still amazing yet contrasted with ’80s robo-compu-synths and drum machines. Overall, the tones are soft, which I dig. Still the album is all over the place in terms of his styles, so you get softer folk, blues rock, and starry synth-drum machine stuff all in one. He just can’t do much wrong in our minds. Even the goofs sound good to us, I don’t know how, but they do.

No Wings album in particular is our favorite, each one has gems and misses, though Back To The Egg and London Town are both pretty special. Track wise — “Backwards Traveler,” “Old Siam Sir,” “Arrow Through Me,” are some gems throughout the catalog that we enjoy. I would say if you favor more Beatles-y stuff maybe do Wild Life as your first album listen.

 

Where was the photo for the album cover shot? It looks like a cool place!

Elise Tyler, the cover photographer, brought us there late at night after shooting all day. It’s her secret spot, you’d have to ask her! I’m not even sure where we were at that point in the photoshoot. 

 

The Stevie Nicks vibes are strong to my ears on this album. Is that my imagination or does her music inform you at all on this LP? Also, is there a particular era of Fleetwood Mac you like hanging out in the most?

Probably your imagination. We like that stuff though. Sometimes things sneak in without realizing it. There are many good era’s it’s hard to choose. I like hanging out with the Bob Welch era as of late.

 

Which Welch-era Mac album is your favorite and why? Also, where are you at with solo Bob Welch? I’m a big French Kiss guy myself

French Kiss is probably the better of them. That album cover is rock solid.

Hard question, because each one has goodies on them, but if I had to pick today I think my favorite Welch Mac album would have to be Bare Trees, but also really digging Heroes are Hard To Find as of late.

Night Moves Can You Really Find Me, Domino Records 2019

Where was the photo for the album cover shot? It looks like a cool place!

Elise Tyler, the cover photographer, brought us there late at night after shooting all day. It’s her secret spot, you’d have to ask her! I’m not even sure where we were at that point in the photoshoot.

 

I’d love to hear the story behind the concept for the video you made for “Strands Align”.

Well, it was pretty much the director’s interpretation of the song. Cameron Dutra came up with everything. There’s a wistful melancholy to the lyrics that offsets the more major key sounding music. I would imagine Cameron picked up on this and that’s why things turn dark in the end. We were all for his interpretation and it seemed like it would make for a good watch. “I’m just somebody who got caught in a game…” 

 

VIDEO: Night Moves “Strands Align”

How did you connect with Jim Eno?

We simply sent him an email and he responded rather quickly.  We then hopped on the phone and explained what kind of album we wanted to make. Jim, being the gracious guy he is, said he was down to help us make OUR album. He was never too heavy handed of a producer and was a joy to work with. #BricaskiBrigade

 

Spoon-wise, how have their maneuvers through the last three decades of their careers served as a guide for you in regards to navigating your own careers in this biz? Also, what’s your favorite Spoon album and why? 

It’s a fine balance of staying current/relevant and being true to yourself. Spoon has always done that well.

My favorite is Girls Can Tell; it was the first album of theirs I bought way back in the 8th grade. I love it so much. I have fond memories of riding the bus to school listening to it on my Discman. Also, reminds me of skateboarding back in the day.

 

How much does country music inform your songwriting if at all?

I suppose there’s sometimes a heartbreaking lyrical turnaround in country music that I’m rather fond of. That moment about 30-40 seconds in when the meaning of the song reveals itself, of which prior to you’re unsure what the protagonist is talking about…I dig that– whatever it may be…Other than that I guess we use slide guitar & pedal steel tricks…’Cosmic twang’ is something I strive for.

 

What is it in the air in the late 10s that is creating this new sense of appreciation for ’80s  production and sounds in a way not unlike the way Minneapolis groups before you were so enamored with the ’60s? I’d love to hear your take.

Trends come and go, but good sounds are good sounds. What is it in the air that’s making people dress like Rocko’s Modern Life these days? Hard to say…

 

What is the story behind the album title?

Just came out of my mouth one day while writing that song’s melody. We all thought it encapsulated the album as a whole. Just offbeat enough to stick.

 

How about the name of the band? Are you guys trying to make some front page Drive-in news?

No, we always get asked this. It just fit the sound of the band, that is to say it felt right at the time.  We needed a name to operate under and distinguish ourselves from our older groups that we had. We chose NIGHT MOVES for a Halloween gig we had back in the day and it just stuck. It came from a lyric I had written down for one of our first songs, Country Queen, “Now I’ll follow you/ night moves, night moves/ says it moves us two”…

 

AUDIO: Night Moves Can You Really Find Me (full album)

 

 

Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the editor of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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