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On Deck: Nightlands

By ; January 23, 2013 at 7:54 AM 


David Hartley splits his time between playing bass for The War On Drugs and going solo for his own Nightlands moniker.  Forgoing the Springsteen working-man aesthetic of the former band for the metallic soft rock sound of the latter, he treads very different ground on his latest album as Nightlands called Oak Island.  Full of precise synths and liquid melodies, Hartley delves into the 80’s studio wizardry best exemplified by Dan Bejar (as Destroyer) on his 2011 album Kaputt.  The lush strings, horns, and chrome sterility that often characterized the studio excess so common to records in the 80’s are twisted and absorbed into his own unique vision for music of that time.  But by making sure that a living, breathing heart beats beneath all the shimmering mechanisms, Hartley makes Oak Island into something far more assured and self-effacing than you might expect.

For his contribution to our On Deck feature, Hartley talks about a few of the albums that helped to shape his own musical career, as well as the records that helped to mold and influence Oak Island.  Enjoy our latest installment of On Deck with Nightlands.

The Beach Boys - Today!
The Beach Boys – Today

Side 2 is impossible. Just impossible. I get tears in my eyes if I listen too hard.

Arthur Russell - Calling Out of Context
Arthur Russell – Calling Out of Context

This is actually a compilation of songs, not a proper record. But it sounds like a proper record. Drum machines have never had more soul than they do on this record. Sad and sexy and sparse.

Bill Withers - +justments
Bill Withers – +justments

A strangely titled and strangely not-well-known Withers release. ‘Liza’ has the weirdest spoken word intro but will crush your jaded soul. Groovy and beautifully sung end to end.

Harald Grosskopf - Synthesist
Harald Grosskopf – Synthesist

I had this on vinyl and someone freaking stole it when I was djing my friend’s record release show. So far my team of bounty hunters hasn’t found the culprit but I won’t rest until justice is served. I’ve taken some big notes from this record. NONE MORE SYNTHY.

Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll
Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll

I’m just getting into this band (I know, I know) and this record was the starting point for me. Wall to wall sound and beauty. She truly is the voice of god, internet.

Be sure to check out Hartley’s latest record under his Nightlands moniker.   It was released this week on Secretly Canadian.  His website also has information concerning tour dates and links to his albums on Bandcamp where you came sample a few tracks.

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