About Night Beats
A psyched-out garage band from Seattle, Washington, Night Beats play music that reflects the influences of vintage garage rock, dirty blues rock, '60s pop, and high-attitude roots music. The group's sound started out rough and swaggering on their self-titled 2011 debut and 2013's Sonic Bloom, but they developed a tighter and more disciplined approach on 2016's Who Sold My Generation, and explored their pop leanings on 2019's Myth of a Man.
Night Beats was founded by singer/guitarist Danny Lee Blackwell (born Danny Rajan Billingsley), who is the sole constant member of the band's various lineups. Blackwell left his native Dallas for the Pacific Northwest in 2009; during his days in the Lone Star State, Blackwell played in a variety of bands, including the Pecan Sandies, the Tempers, and White Light Fever (the latter act released an album in 2007, Heavy Knife Blues). While he went to Seattle to go to college, Blackwell soon made himself known in the city's rock scene, and he persuaded a friend from Texas, James Traeger, to move to the Northwest and help him start a band. With Blackwell on guitar and vocals and Traeger behind the traps, they began playing out as a two-piece before recruiting bassist Tarek Wegner, a veteran of the bands Paris Spleen and Drug Purse.
Night Beats soon set out on tour and made a name for themselves with their live show, and in 2010, they self-released a single, "H-Bomb." The 7" was picked up by Chicago indie Trouble in Mind Records, who reissued it just a few months later. A split 10" with the UFO Club on the Reverberation Appreciation Society label arrived in early 2011, followed by Night Beats' self-titled debut LP on Trouble in Mind. The trio remained busy, evolving their sound over various single and compilation releases and delivering their follow-up LP, Sonic Bloom, in 2013. In 2014, bassist Wegner was replaced by newcomer Jakob Bowden, and the following year Night Beats signed a deal with London's Heavenly Recordings. With a retooled lineup and a greater focus and clarity to their sound, they delivered their third LP, Who Sold My Generation, in early 2016. Night Beats went through a tumultuous period that led to Traeger and Bowden leaving the band, but for their next album, Blackwell teamed up with producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, who brought him to Nashville and recruited a band of first-call session players to help shape Blackwell's material. The result was the 2019 album Myth of a Man, which toned down the harder edges of Blackwell's music in favor of a more pop-oriented feel that incorporated elements of vintage country and R&B. ~ Timothy Monger & Mark Deming