When Cleveland band Niights got together, “We wanted it to be kind of a poppy shoegaze sound,” says singer and guitarist Jenna Fournier. “We wanted that dreamy texture of ’90s shoe gaze but wrapped around a structure with melody and meaningful lyrics.”
One listen to “It Was,” which makes its debut below, and you can tell it’s a mission they’ve accomplished. The track is from “Hellebores,” an album they’ve released in two parts in January and February. The group also features Frankie Maraldo (guitar, vocals), Jake Chandler (bass) and Jeremy Dodge (drums).
Fournier’s early musical tastes tended toward pop-punk and emo, “and I found my way to more indie and singer-songwriter,” like Jenny Lewis and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie. Maraldo introduced her to shoegaze, with Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins becoming favorites.
Niights is about to hit the road with Elvis Depressedly, including shows at The Barbary in Philly on Feb. 23 and the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Feb. 24.
“Our live show is very loud,” Fournier says, noting a commonality among shoegaze bands. “The vocals tend to get buried. We do a lot of stripped-down stuff on the records but live we play more of our heavy stuff.”
In addition to U.S. dates in support of “Hellebores,” Niights will head to Japan in August — a country that has enthusiastically welcomed the band for nearly a decade.
“There was a shoegaze scene there before it started making its resurgence here,” she says. “In 2010 it wasn’t trendy or popular in the States, but it was in Japan. So they were really just excited to have this American shoegaze band playing small clubs over there. We were a novelty. And they’re supportive. The people there make you feel special.”