When a band’s five members live 400 miles apart, a year in the same county is nearly certain to generate a song or two; in the case of Steve Gretz and Joe Tanner, twelve months spent together in northern New Jersey produced Good Night, States' forthcoming album, In The Impossible Tension.
The EP was composed and recorded entirely by songwriter Gretz and multi-instrumentalist Tanner in the midst of a demanding once-a-month single release schedule undertaken by the band in 2008, with the goal of spending any additional time together fleshing out the more idiosyncratic elements of the band’s sound. The result is a Good Night, States record in an unusually intimate context: deeper, darker songs set to the sounds of a few toy keyboards, an acoustic guitar, and one conspicuous vintage delay pedal.
Prominently featured are the handheld 1980 Casio VL-Tone, also a calculator, and the 1974 Panasonic R-1088, a monophonic organ with built-in AM radio.
Good Night, States’ remaining three members, all Pittsburgh residents, contribute crucial elements to the painstaking live recreation of In The Impossible Tension: keyboardist Megan Lindsey on organ and synthesizer overdubs; bass guitarist Trevor Baker controlling in real time the record’s intricate application of analog delay; and drummer Dan Harding at the helm of a dizzying array of acoustic triggers, samples, and loops that enable him to replace the album’s Roland TR-707 drum machine. In accordance with the band’s DIY ethic, Baker modded and built the delay unit from a kit in his Lawrenceville basement and the recording’s guitar tones resonate through Gretz and Tanner’s homemade amplifiers.
Since the recording of In The Impossible Tension, Tanner has relocated to Philadelphia, and Good Night, States is now songwriting - in its traditional, driving-across-the-state manner - for a new full length album.
- 2008 Local Artist of the Year, Pittsburgh's 91.3FM WYEP
- 2009 CMJ Music Marathon Performer
Steve Gretz - Vocals, Guitar
Joe Tanner - Guitar, Synth, Vocals
Megan Lindsey - Piano, Synth, Vocals
Trevor Baker - Bass, Vocals
Dan Harding - Drums, Percussion
In The Impossible Tension (2009)
- "Arsonist's Blues" featured on WYEP 91.3FM (Pittsburgh, Pa)
Short Films on Self-Control (2008)
- "Killer of the One" received 14+ weeks of regular rotation on WYEP 91.3FM (Pittsburgh, Pa)
- "I Am The Loser" featured on WYEP 91.3FM (Pittsburgh, Pa)
- "Not Come Around" received regular rotation on WYEP 91.3FM (Pittsburgh, Pa)
Internet Singles (2008)
- Released via www.goodnightstates.com
1. Long Coats, No Energy (4/1/2008)
2. There Is A Treasure (5/1/2008)
3. She Wrote A Letter (6/1/2008)
4. Sometimes I See You On The Lawn (7/4/2008)
5. The Odd and The Even (10/31/2008)
For booking information:
For all other inquiries:
Catch the Buzz: Good Night, States
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Bi-polar Pittsburgh quintet walk the line between organic and electronic, alternating between seriou...Bi-polar Pittsburgh quintet walk the line between organic and electronic, alternating between serious anthems and seriously silly pop gems.
Who? Like Ryan Adams singing for the Boy Least Likely To, Good Night, States marry singer-songwriter vocal stylings and confessional lyrics to near-twee tunes anchored by electronic blips, xylophone and the occasional drum machine. The Pittsburgh-based quintet sprinkle carefree handclaps and sunny male/female harmonies on a Wilco-indebted Americana foundation. But lead Statesman Steve Gretz can put on a straight face like on the brooding "Change of the Seasons" and even channels a bit of the Arcade Fire's Win Butler on the more epic, but not quite calamitous "The Family Dark," available below.
Their latest: The band released their debut album, entitled Short Films on Self-Control, earlier this year.
Recommended if you like… The New Pornographers, The Boy Least Likely To, Wilco
Concert Preview: Good Night, States
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I have been trying to write a review of the most recent Good Night, States album, â€œShort Films Abo...I have been trying to write a review of the most recent Good Night, States album, â€œShort Films About Self-Controlâ€ for what seems like an eternity. The problem is that I canâ€™t use any of the usual review tricks. Itâ€™s a gorgeous, melodic album with songs that immediately draw you in; a kind of â€œjust rightâ€ sound-production that most bands go their whole career without achieving. Vintage synthesizers add just the right touch to some songs, meshing seamlessly with guitar solos that flat-out rock, but donâ€™t get in the way of the song. And these are songs that deserve that treatment, as well as the carefully arranged harmony vocals.
Not only are the songs instantly catchy, but have a smart sense of wordplay and a very distinctive voice thatâ€™s clearly their own. The opening line on the album is â€œI read the news with my heartache entireâ€ and the rest of the lyrics maintain that unique style. Itâ€™s the kind of stuff youâ€™ll end up debating the meaning of with your friends late at night.
So why havenâ€™t I been able to use any record review tricks? I canâ€™t compare them to anyone else. What they sound like is Good Night, States and they deserve to have other bands compared to them.
Tonight theyâ€™ll be playing the 11th Annual WYEP Summer Music Festival.
What I'm Listening To: Good Night, States
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July 8, 2008 I spend alot of time writing about the tragically hilarious state of the music indus...July 8, 2008
I spend alot of time writing about the tragically hilarious state of the music industry: someoneâ€™s flashing their cha-cha, someoneâ€™s in rehab, someoneâ€™s out of rehab, someone should be in rehab, someone flashes their cha-cha whilst in rehabâ€¦etc.
So when I hear a band thatâ€™s good, I mean really good, I get excited.
Iâ€™m excited about Good Night, States.
I wonâ€™t go into the intricacies of their sound, and I wonâ€™t extrapolate on the meaning of the bandâ€™s lyrics. Suffice to say Good Night, States gets it right. The music is catchy enough to get you hooked, but the depth of the music is what will keep you listening.
The website is fantastic, and you can hear the bandâ€™s latest internet release, â€œSometimes I See You On The Lawn.â€ Definitely worth a listen, and a great way to ingratiate yourself with the Good Night, States sound.
The album is called Short Films About Self-Control. Check it out.
Also, see Good Night, States live! Click HERE for details on where you can catch a show.
If anyone from the band is reading this, youâ€™ve got a new fan.
Album Review: Good Night, States: Short Films on Self-Control
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July 7, 2008 As I mentioned a few posts ago, I saw Good Night, States play at the WYEP summer mus...July 7, 2008
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I saw Good Night, States play at the WYEP summer music festival on June 27th. While a free outdoor festival like that is a great way to relax and listen to music, its not always the best way to fully appriciate what a band/artist is all about, especially an opening act. So I was happy to finaly get my hands on short films on self control which was released 2007.
The easiest, some would say "cheapest", way to review an album by a "new" band is to tell the reader "who they sound like", so please bear with me for a moment. I had mentioned in my review of the show the band having some musical similarities to "Wilco, The Rentals, and even some latter day Rolling Stones" and after a few spins I'd like to add Spoon and The New Pornographers to the list of artists Good Night, States remind me of. But luckily, this local band is more than just a group who wear their influences on their sleeves. They already have a well developed, even mature, sound.
The disc is a solid indie pop debut that sounds very much like an ALBUM. So often with young bands their early discs are just overly ambitious song collections with no real structure or form. Good Night, States seem to be in the minority of bands who truly understand the importance of an LP. That is very refreshing, as is the impressive musicianship. With well structured song-writing, slick, but not soulless, production, and instantly infectious melodies, short films flows along with ease. Its a sing songy, head bopping good time, with hints of psychedelic freak out potential towards the end. Most of the songs are (public) radio ready with my favorites being "Killer of The One" and "Only Thing".
As I mentioned before the band is quite prolific. They have been releasing 2 internet singles a month since April. Check em out here:
Very Good Debut From Pro-Good-Book Good Night, States
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Friday, May 30, 2008 How can an alt-pop band create songs largely about choices without leaving l...Friday, May 30, 2008
How can an alt-pop band create songs largely about choices without leaving listeners with a cheesy Afterschool Special feeling? There's no one "right" answer, equally, perfectly suitable for every band (but if faced with a multiple choice test and feeling unsure, it's probably best to guess "C".) For Good Night, States the solution lies in adding a very special blend of Music-That-You-Can-Dance-To synth, catchy drum beats, soaring guitars, and buzzy bass to warm ruminations on the suffering life can bring and love's ability to alleviate that pain.
It brings to mind words Huey Lewis and the News first gave unto the world in 1985: "it might just save your life/That's the power of love."
There's a similar message in Short Films On Self Control, Good Night, States' first album after 5 years as Like Summer. With a casual listen, it contains exuberant, hook-laden, occasionally Baroque-pop-flavored songs buzzing with synth-fueled energy and brightness.
A closer listen reveals the album's religious context, and the source of the titular self-control: "All my stories are the stories of who you are, changer the seasons and the healer of every heart." ("Change Of The Seasons") Then again, pay more attention to "The Power of Love", which hardly feels like a Christian pop song, and you realize it mentions "a little help from above".
Seek and ye shall find many religious themes and references on Short Films. If you don't seek them, you may not find them, or may find them subtle or unobtrusive. The catchy "I Am The Loser" suggests that selling your soul for rock 'n' roll isn't the best path, a message that could be embraced by people regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof.
At first listen, the infectious, sweet "Only Thing" seems destined for "our song" status for shiny, happy alt-pop couples holding hands. I listen again... I do believe he's singing about God. For me, it makes the song less romantic. That's me. Is Steve Gretz (vocalist/guitarist/main songwriter) wooing or praising when he sings, "Iâ€™m pouring orange tea. Youâ€™re presiding over me"? In a world where tunes with blatantly unromantic lyricsâ€”such as R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" ("A simple prop to occupy my time") are played, without irony, at weddings, the ability of wistful vocals and dreamy music to overpower lyrics should not be underestimated.
"Only Thing" (live, acoustic video):
Unless you tend toward either end of the spectrum on Christian content in music (you dig it or hate it), Choose Your Own Adventure on how much attention to pay to the religious references and themes. Either way, you'll be given infectious pop melodies, reminiscent of Semisonic (particularly on the Ã¼ber-catchy "Killer Of The One") and 80s synthpop.
The album's title comes from "The Family Dark" ("Are you at home now/watching short films on self control?"). It's the sort of majestic, melancholy-yet-handclapping-enhanced epic that makes you wonder when Sufjan Stevens will get around to doing an album on your state. (It also made me wonder what Rich Aucoin is up to these days.) I'm partial to these lines: "I'd have never guessed you/would have the gravity around to pull out so much pain." That's beautiful songwriting, in a sad-and-happy way. The pain seems to refer, at least partly to problems with alcohol, something that crops up elsewhere on Short Films.
As for the transformative-power-of-love-themeâ€”again, choose-your-own-adventure on the identity of the "you" who possesses such a power.
"Dark" also includes irresistible stop-start keyboards by Megan Lindsey. Lindsey's playful synthwork adds incalculable fun and charm to the album. She contributes vocals and background vocals as well. The soaring guitars on "Dark" and throughout Short Films, by Joe Tanner, who also plays lap steel on the album. Dan Harding adds those catchy drums/percussion sounds and Trevor Baker is responsible for the brisk basswork.
Good Night, States has opted for some pro-listener policies when it comes to releasing their music. The group is releasing a pair of new Interweb singles every month, using "pay-what-you-want" pricing for most (and giving "The Family Dark" as a free download"). You can listen to any of their songs at the band's website, and download MP3 demos of several songs on the album at their blog.
The album itself is available for sale in MP3 format (for $7.50), as a CD ($10.00) or as "vinyl" (whatever that is, it's $15.00 and comes with an MP3 download version.)
Good Night, States Collaborate Across State Lines
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FEBRUARY 7, 2008 Good Night, States Collaborate Across State Lines BY ANDY MULKERIN It's not ...FEBRUARY 7, 2008
Good Night, States Collaborate Across State Lines
BY ANDY MULKERIN
It's not uncommon for a musician to have a day job to make ends meet, but Steve Gretz is a far cry from the office worker who waltzes down to the corner bar with a guitar on the weekend. His day job is SAT tutoring in New Jersey; his night gig involves fronting a band from Pittsburgh.
About two weekends a month, Gretz and Joe Tanner (who recently joined him in Montvale, N.J.) travel back to Pittsburgh to be with the band.
"It's like the National Guard," says drummer Dan Harding. "Actually, the National Guard is only one weekend a month, right? You could be doing better with them."
As Gretz is both the primary songwriter and the vocalist for Good Night, States, it might seem more sensible that he just find some Jersey lackeys to be his backing band. But that, you see, isn't how Good Night, States works. More than a simple backing band for Gretz, Good Night, States is both a collaborative project and a group of friends.
Gretz, Harding and bassist Trevor Baker met at Grove City College in the earlier part of the decade and melded musically in the now-defunct Like Summer. More recently, Tanner and keyboardist Megan Lindsey came on board.
Their debut album, Short Films on Self Control, is nearly a year in the making; recorded last spring, it laid about for much of 2007 as the band anticipated a possible promotion deal. The deal fell through, but Kevin Killen -- an engineer who's worked with everyone from U2 to Shakira -- had shown interest in the record regardless, and ended up mixing it for the band.
That fact alone should be indicative of the album's quality and cohesiveness -- what Good Night, States has released is a solid pop record that's a notch above most everything similar that's being released locally at this point, and one that could hold its own against most national competition.
Short Films recalls first and foremost Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album Gretz admires and took inspiration from. For all its popularity, that album didn't necessarily generate a new body of work from other artists, he posits. "You don't hear that many albums since it came out that really respond to it artistically," Gretz says. "We tried to appropriate some of the abstractions of those arrangements."
The result is a record heavy on concepts and dense production, but with a core of simple, catchy pop songwriting accented by light instrumental accessories (timely synth punch-ins, glockenspiel accents). It's a more-than-respectable first effort, and one that's well worth the two working weekends a month.
Good Night, States CD release with Lohio and Army of Me. 8 p.m. Sat., Feb. 9. Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $7. 21 and over. 412-391-4951 or www.clubcafelive.com
Neophile: Good Night, States
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One of the bands that’s on constant repeat in my media player right now is Pittsburgh’s Good Night, ...One of the bands that’s on constant repeat in my media player right now is Pittsburgh’s Good Night, States. They sound like a stripped-down version of Arcade Fire - a little bit more catchy, and a little less bombastic. While they’ve been getting some good press (like this Spin article), I’m more impressed that I can’t help but stop whatever I’m doing to just listen whenever “Spring is the Winter’s End” comes on. They also get the z=z stamp of approval for making all their songs available on a pay-what-you-will basis at their website.
Good Night, States will be playing the All Asia in Cambridge, MA on November 21st, and here’s a live video to give you a taste of what to expect. I asked Megan Lindsey (vox, keys, trumpet) if there were any plans for a West Coast tour. Sadly not, but she did mention that they were looking for a booking agent, and she offered up a case of Franktuary hot dogs as an additional inducement (Megan is the owner-operator of the cathedral-based hot dog stand). I’m happy to personally attest to how good the hot dogs are, and I’d add my gratitude to hers if you are someone who can get Good Night, States to visit this coast.
Good Night, States [website]
MP3: Good Night, States - Spring is the Winter’s End (Down to the Heart) (buy)
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Okay, so, recently I was contacted by Megan from the band Good Night, States and asked if I’d be int...Okay, so, recently I was contacted by Megan from the band Good Night, States and asked if I’d be interested in seeing their press kit and giving their CD a listen. Apparently, my “Eleven Reasons to Love Pittsburgh” entry got this Pennsylvanian band’s attention, so I say Why not? It’s a music blog after all, right?
Anyways, I gave their CD “Short Films on Self Control” a few listens and...wow. This band is really good. At first listen, I got a Wilco-like vibe, with a hint of Golden Smog and a little Ocean Color Scene topped with a smidge of Okkervil River. The instrumentation and production value is awesome and the vocals (lead and harmony) are lush and spot on. Standout tracks include “Change Of The Seasons” (My favorite track by far, with a great Jeff Tweedy-esque cacophonous ending) “Far Side Of The Boulevard” and “Spring Is The Winter’s End (Down To The Heart)” Their lyrics are smart, but not smugly clever, spiritual without being preachy, and well crafted without being too contrived. I like the meeting between organic instruments and analog electronic sounds, which they feature prominently throughout the disc. We all know, though, that great sounds are meaningless unless you’ve got the songs, and not only does “Short Films on Self Control” have the songs and the sounds, it has the potential to be one of the best CDs of 2008.
In short, now I’ve got twelve things to love about Pittsburgh, and next time I’m in Pittsburgh, it may even become thirteen (Some of the band members are the proprietors of a hot dog café in a church called “Franktuary” awesome!) That, of course, will depend on how well they sling a "Chicago Style" dog...
You can hear some tunes from this outstanding young band over at their MySpace page, and if you like what you hear, you can buy it as a digital download, or pre order a CD (Which includes the download to listen to while you wait, the option I recommend) at http://www.goodnightstates.com/store/
The Fire Note
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Good Night, States Short Films On Self-Control Self-Released  Fire Note Says: Indie band ...Good Night, States
Short Films On Self-Control
Fire Note Says: Indie band from Pitt, PA should not be overlooked!
The Good Night, States are a straight up indie band from Pittsburgh PA that are set to release the physical version of their debut Short Films On Self-Control (digital version already available) on February 9th. Good Night, States do not hide behind any gimmicks with their honest approach on Short Films with guitar, bass, drums and the catchy vocal harmonies of Steve Gretz and Megan Lindsay, which are memorable and infectious. Their style rides in the direction of a more modern rock Americana sound that is combined with the indie pop of synthesizers, which gives the album an upbeat vibe. The band can rock out like the in your face “Killer Of The One” or give you nice mid-tempo sing alongs such as “Not Come Around” that showcases their range. Regardless of the track you will immediately be attracted to the solid songwriting and hooks on Short Films On Self-Control that will keep you coming back for repeat listens. If you are looking for some great self-released independent music you will not be disappointed picking up Good Night, States debut that has a real potential to gain label support and widen their fanbase.
Key Tracks: "Not Come Around", "I Am The Loser", "Killer Of The One"
Bands With Similar Fire:
Good Night, States are Playing Supreme Trading Tomorrow Night
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I love it when a band that I am not familiar with puts out a disc that grabs my attention. I was pla...I love it when a band that I am not familiar with puts out a disc that grabs my attention. I was planning on reviewing metal CDs tonight but thought I'd listen to a track or two from Good Night, States' new disc Short Films of Self-Control just to hear what the band sounds like. I've now listened to the whole disc through.
The band's music is solid, thoughtful indie-rock but it is the multi-part harmonies, the tasteful synth/piano and the multi-instrument/multi-layers of sound that grabbed and held my attention throughout the disc. This is good stuff...
Check out a couple of the tracks from this release:
The Family Dark
Good Night, States have been releasing singles as "name-your-price" downloads on the 1st and 15th of each month since April 2008 so keep an eye on the band's website for new material.
Tickets are $10 for tomorrow's show and the band is playing with The Shackeltons and Skeleton Breath.
A typical set consists of 45-60 minutes of all original compositions. Usually one set per night/performance is played.
A typical set list would look like this:
There Is A Treasure
Not Come Around
I Am The Loser
Far Side of the Boulevard
Long Coats, No Energy
Change of the Seasons
The Family Dark
She Wrote A Letter
Sometimes I See You On The Lawn
Killer of the One
There are no upcoming dates at this time.