LIVE REVIEW: Nightlands

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by / Tiffany Tso

Nightlands is Philadelphia’s Dave Hartley, who first came on the radar as War on Drugs’ bassist. This project came about a few years ago when Hartley began recording ideas that came to him in his sleep, which has yielded Nightlands a number of descriptors like “dreamy” and “haunting.” Hartley’s method of recording, which includes recording his own voice over and over again and playing them over one another a gazillion times, easily blankets his music in a sea of dreamy, haunting sound.
However, after watching Nightlands live (at Mercury Lounge) with an obviously stripped down sound, his songs’ genres jump around from indie-poppy to folksy to power ballady. And throughout the show, I couldn’t help but think the music would be much better enjoyed outside in a field, or jamming out around a campfire, rather than on a stage surrounded by the oppressive black walls of a venue. Five backup singers and his three bandmates took the place of the endless loop of Hartleys, creating a more choral sound.
Nightlands is now on tour in support of the latest album Oak Island, which is out now on Secretly Canadian.


Thu. May 30 – Washington, DC @ DC9
Fri. May 31 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Sun. June 2 – Boston, MA @ TT the Bear’s
Mon. June 3 – Toronto, ON @ Drake Hotel
Tue. June 4 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
Wed. June 5 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Thu. June 6 – Youngstown, OH @ Cedar’s Lounge

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