On the radar: Night Moves

Night Moves have also earned comparisons to Flaming Lips, though they appear to bleed less in press shots
Night Moves have also earned comparisons to Flaming Lips, though they appear to bleed less in press shots

Target: Night Moves


Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota

Intelligence: Having formed friendships and various bands in high school it took the sea change of going away to college to make Night Moves' founder members John Pelant and Mark Ritsema realise that they were musically made for each other.

That was back in 2009 and they've since grown from a two man band, to a three-piece with drum machine (with the addition of bassist Micky Alfano, and eventually into their current four-man guise, with touring drummer Jared Isabella.

Describing their key influences as a colourful melding of "Curtis Mayfield, The Ronettes, Ryan Adams, and Pink Floyd", Night Moves are all of the above, contained within the head of a stoned, swaying My Morning Jacket fan.

"We often try and keep it pretty structured, while also trying to embody the spirit of the freeness that the song had in it's beginning stages," they tell us via the magic of the internets. "Our stuff then changes month after month until we feel we have the right arrangement. We are still trying to figure out how to write songs. The more we think we know, the less we know…"

Despite citing recording nuts like Ryan Adams and Pink Floyd as key influences, the band admit that studio mastery has thus far evaded them.

"We make home demos on Garage Band and then bring them into a studio where someone knows how to record better than we do," they tell us. "We know how we want to sound, but in terms of knob turning we don't really know too much about that stuff yet… Recording is an art in itself and we hope to learn more in the coming months."

Instead, the Minnesota group focussed on their songwriting and hooked up with producer/mixer Tom Monahan - who has previously twiddled knobs for the likes of Vetiver and Devendra Banhart - to help tie together their debut album, Colored Emotions. We're glad they did as the resulting collection is a beautiful, psych-laden bucket o' wistfulness, with all of the compact comfort of a moist towelette on a long-haul flight.

Currently the band are on tour with the excellent Poliça in the US and we're told their live show can be just as invigorating.

"Sometimes they are laid back," they tell us. "Sometimes things get a little out of hand and someone gets naked."

We're not sure which kind of gig is the better one to catch, but again, equipping yourself with moist towelettes might be a good idea.

Hardware: John - Gretsch (60's anniversary model- modified/paint taken off to expose natural wood stain), Fender Bassman, '59 re-issue, Farfisa Compact Combo Organ - '65. Micky - Fender '73 Precision Bass, Coliseum '74/'75 Bass Head with Orange Cabinet. Mark - Orville Les Paul (sunburst finish) (year unknown), Fender Showman head '65 or '66, Peavey 4 12" speaker cabinet, Fruity Loops Demo version 3. Jared - '64 Rogers holiday kit (Champaign Sparkle).

Further action: Check out the Night Moves Bandcamp for streams of three of the album's tracks and the Night Moves Facebook for more info.

Night moves colored emotions album cover

Night moves colored emotions album cover
Matthew Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.