Los Angeles - This past March, Minneapolis-based psych-country group Night Moves proudly returned, after nearly four years, with sophomore LP Pennied Days (Domino Recording Co.), which features the songs “Denise, Don’t Wanna See You Cry” and “Carl Sagan.” On this latest effort, principal members John Pelant (vocals, guitar) and Micky Alfano (bass) display a penchant for 70s and 80s rock. However, this isn’t some reuse of classic sounds from those eras; the band makes “classic” new, with modern twists. Night Moves’ music could be described as spacey, folk rock with a ting of country rock. Nonetheless, the duo has crafted a profoundly personal follow-up album that embodies enthusiastic tendencies — lyrically and rhythmically — but also a deeper understanding beyond youthful years.
Best New Bands caught up with John Pelant to talk about Pennied Days, headlining First Avenue in Minneapolis, and the direction Night Moves is heading.
How did the process of crafting Pennied Days differ from Colored Emotions?
Because we had yet to be signed and virtually worked by ourselves crafting Colored Emotions, we worked within our own means, as well as timeframe. We didn’t have a timeline; although when you take into account the amount of time between the initial self-release and the re-release, the record took about the same amount of time from start to finish as Pennied Days. Another major difference between the crafting of Colored Emotions versus Pennied Days was that Pennied Days was the first time we worked with a producer to make a record from start to finish. A lot of tracks from my initial demo stages made the final takes in Pennied Days, but the entire studio process involved John Agnello. Whereas, the Colored Emotions re-release only involved Thom Monahan at the tail end of the recording process.
There was a three and a half year gap between your debut and sophomore albums. Do you feel you took more time in building and developing your sound on Pennied Days, given the extended time?
As I previously said, both albums took about the same amount of time when you consider the Domino re-release process. However, that gap period between albums was very much so spent on growing and refining the songs of Pennied Days. A lot of stuff that was written during this stage didn’t make the album cut, but there happened to be a vast amount of material that resulted from the Pennied Days writing period.
What is the one song from another artist that you wish you had written?
“One Of These Nights” by the Eagles or “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by Carole King.
Where do your inspirations come from beyond music and the artists of yesteryear?
From people we know or from places we’ve been. Also love, sex, drugs, loss, money, time, work, family…
If you could collaborate with any artist, who might that be?
What has been the most memorable performance for you guys – thus far – and why?
Our Pennied Days record release show at First Avenue in Minneapolis, this past April, was probably the most memorable. We had played there numerous times, but this was the first time we headlined the club. Growing up in Minneapolis and going to shows there from a very young age, it was very much so a dream come true for us to headline a show at the club, let alone our release show. A lot of friends and family made it out and the general atmosphere in the club was amazing. Lots of fun!
Night Moves’ music is a foundation of modern and vintage, and both youthful and mature. Do you feel you connect more so with the current generation or an older one?
I mean, our sound might have a vintage quality to it, but I don’t think that this familiarity should be confused for us not understanding or connecting with our own generation. With that said, I do think we understand our generation more than we could attempt to understand the generations of decades past. That emic perspective of past generations is much harder to gain access to when having not lived through the times themselves. We love new music and are very much so connected with our own generation. We love old music too, but I think in terms of connectedness and being present, we are very much so kids of the 90’s, Gen Y, or whatever you can call it — Millennials.
Will there be any new additional members added to the band on tour?
We will have three additional members with us for the current U.S. tour: Jared Isabella on drums, Wes Statler on keys, and Chuck Murlowski on guitar… Come out, everyone rips!
What’s next for Night Moves?
After we finish this current West Coast tour, I would love to start writing again. It’s been a long time since I have written another song. I still have a lot of loose ends of ideas that I have yet to tie up. I would love to finish some of these ideas and get some new ones going.
Night Moves kicked off a West Coast tour on May 4th in Bozeman, Montana. The band will conclude the tour on May 23rd in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Check out Night Moves on Facebook for a full list of tour dates. Pennied Days can be purchased on iTunes.
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