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Nature Noir

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Brad Hargett seems to have lightened his cosmic load somewhat. In the past, his brooding, reverb-saturated voice felt like it was headed to the very depths of hell; on Nature Noir, he sounds slightly more resigned than damned. Crystal Stilts' darkly beautiful psych-rock and Hargett’s voice have always been a great match, and now—with just an occasional glimmer of something that feels like a more optimistic outlook—the Stilts' music might not even be a terribly wrong choice for a Monday morning. “Star Crawl” does indeed crawl, but through shimmering guitar notes dancing atop murky tremolos and flurries of strings. “Future Folklore” chugs and grooves through Velvets terrain, with Hargett’s voice sounding like a cryptic smile instead of a veiled snarl. Some tracks, like “Electrons Rising” and “Darken the Door,” creep and slink in gothic, voodoo-y splendor. Elsewhere, acoustic guitars partner with cellos, and a jangly gait bubbles atop a heavy, tribal floor tom. The band makes a point: nature isn't all rainbows and light. Sometimes it’s about dark and stormy nights.


Formed: 2003 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in New York in 2003 by Brad Hargett and JB Townsend, multi-influenced indie rock band Crystal Stilts released their first work -- some singles and an EP -- in 2004 on the Feathery Tongue label. The first single, "Shattered Shine," was followed by a series of local shows and then a five-song EP on Woodsist in 2008. Later that same year, their debut full-length album, Alight of Night, was released by Slumberland. While the records were made by the duo, they were joined by Kyle Forester on keyboards,...
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