Night Battles soldiers to the Triad
Curse the day, y’all. Night Battles is making their way to Winston-Salem for a show with Basement Life and Space Cadet Orchestra on June 1 at Monstercade.
The doomy Raleigh-based foursome are fans of the Triad, especially Monstercade–of which they emphasized their fervent admiration. “It’s my favorite place to play outside of the Triangle,” said vocalist Charlie King.
King, who “spent a good chunk of time playing in snotty ‘60s style punk bands,” is now joined by his musical brothers in arms: guitarist Chris Skelly, bassist Dante Bruno, and drummer Ryan Nathan.
Skelly and King are friends who shared an upbringing in the 1980s Northeast hardcore scenes; Bruno and Nathan were enlisted through an extensive Craigslist search.
“It took eons to find a functional rhythm section,” King said, “but Chris and I quickly bonded over our deep love of Spacemen 3. Initially, I think we wanted to just sound like them, but it turned into something else on its own.“
The result falls in the spectrum of post-punk edged with Krautrock and goth noise, bits of Wire with Love and Rockets meets Mission of Burma. “I tell people we sound like heavy gothy, post-punk as played by ‘80s hardcore kids–a noisier Jesus and Mary Chain,” King admitted.
Songs reflect loss, damage, and “metaphysical mysteries” with attempts “to reconcile dark and sometimes self- destructive tendencies with a desire to be a compassionate being, not only to the world around me but to myself,” King said. “It’s honestly mostly just my own dark personal narrative.”
Their material may be dark, but it’s bright skies ahead for Night Battles, who face a busy summer with two releases and a steady string of shows ahead on their front.
In June, they’ll appear on the Triangle Tape Compilation from Broken Sound Records; and a split 7-inch with M is We is slated for late summer.
“We both happen to exist in this local ‘post-punk’ bubble, so the discussion started happening last year that we should do something together,” Skelly said.
Recorded with Scotty Sandwich at the Sandwich Shop, the split will feature a new song, “Flat on My Back,” and will be the first recording made with Nathan on drums.
“There’s so much amazing music happening in this state at the moment, and I’m so glad labels like Broken Sound and Sorry State are chronicling bands with their compilations,” King said.
“Comps” are a hold-over from the heydays of tangible media, and highlight the importance of local connections and community. It’s a recorded tie that binds musicians outside their immediate band circle.
“Being originally from New York, the thing I love most about North Carolina and its various music scenes–and what makes it stand so far apart from a scene like New York–is that there is literally no competition,” Skelly said. “Community like that was simply non-existent in NYC, it was all each band for themselves, all the time.”
“Everybody down here works with a real sense of unity and commitment to put on amazing shows and put out records that are varied, and inclusive, and that really showcases the amazing music that’s happening in this state,” he added.
The sense of community weaves through Night Battles: their two releases thus far feature artwork from Ron Liberti (Pipe and Cold Cream) and Christopher Williams (Maple Stave and Plastic Flame Press).
As for the Triad, Night Battles often shares bills with Totally Slow and maintains alliances with the likes of Harrison Ford Mustang, Irata, and Spirit System. “One band, in particular, I really enjoy is Instant Regrets from Greensboro,” Skelly said.
“Fun fact, the second time I ever played in North Carolina was in 1996 at the Dick Street House in Greensboro with my old band Dahlia Seed,” Skelly recalled, espousing the depth of the Triad roots he looks to strengthen.
Branching out, the upcoming show will be their first with Basement Life. “We’ve been trying to set something up for a while now, so it’s nice to get a chance to finally play with them,” Skelly said of the bill, which will also feature Space Cadet Orchestra, a newer Winston orchestral psych ensemble.
“Our inspiration is simply that music is our lifeblood,” Skelly insisted, “and the need to be creative makes us find the space in our busy lives to make this thing called Night Battles.”
Battle on, dudes.
Night Battles will be at Monstercade on June 1 with Basement Life and Space Cadet Orchestra.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring NC the following week, 5:30-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.