Night Moves: “Country Queen”
The Midwest has always been a bastion of good, ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. When the world descends into post-apocalyptical musical madness of masticated and regurgitated, synthesized and electronified beats and loops, chances are roving bands of rock-starved road warriors will trek across the barren dub-stepped wasteland towards the Midwest of legend in search of the mythical last guitar. And now from the Upper-Midwest (Twin) cities that brought you the likes of Hüsker Dü, The Jayhawks, The Replacements and Prince comes the Minneapolis quartet Night Moves, a band with a pretty hefty sense of reverence for what came before, but unafraid of the new.
The trio of John Pelant (guitars/vocals), Micky Alfano (bass) and multi-instrumentalist Mark Ritsema make up the heart Night Moves. They’re joined by drummer Jared Isabella. In the past year or so, Night Moves has gone from local Minneapolis faves (they were voted by the Twin Cities’ alt weekly City Pages‘ Best New Band of 2012) with nary a physical record out to joining the roster of Domino Records (home to Animal Collective, Hot Chip, Dirty Projectors and The Kills) and an upcoming national headlining tour.
Also coming down the pipe is Night Moves’ debut full-length Colored Emotions (out Oct. 9 on Domino). The band has let slip one of the record’s songs, and it’s been featured on Spin.com and Pitchfork (to name a couple big ones). The track, “Country Queen,” starts off in a sort of downcast, neo-folk, indie-rock kind of vibe (think bands like Dr. Dog or The Felice Brothers). The band’s folk-rock chops may have something to do with Alfano and Ritsema’s membership in the now-defunct, Minneapolis Gram Parson’s tribute band The Flying Dorito Brothers. But just when you think that you have “Country Queen” figured out, the band descends into some heavy 70s rock ballad territory of the kind Paul McCartney used to excel at. The lightness of the folk tinges balances out the weightier, rockier tones. It makes for a tune that unabashedly pays homage to the old while unpretentiously moves in the new. The band comes from a long line of genre-defining Midwest rockers. Now with some fresh wind in their sails, Night Moves might be next.