Night’s Bright Colors is the moniker of the supremely talented Asheville-based musician, Jason Smith. A little Elliot Smith here, a little low-fi Pixies there, NBC has written movie music for Harrow Beauty in the past (most notably, our first feature film, Sinkhole), but it’s primarily a recording entity that Smith uses in connection with a rotating cast of musicians following his lead. He just released yet another full-length set of songs (he’s very prolific, too) on the web. Here’s what The Mountain Xpress’ Ali Marshall had to say about Smith’s latest release:
“Just in time for this tough economyâ€”and (less bleakly) for the first day of springâ€”Ashevilleâ€™s Nightâ€™s Bright Colors releases its newest effort, Late Night by Lamplight. The online-only album (available at http://www.nightsbrightcolors.com) can be downloaded for free.
The no-cost digital album is in keeping with the times. In late 2007, mega stars Radiohead issued their â€œpay what you wantâ€ online-only album, In Rainbows. Five years earlier, R.E.M. released r.e.m.IX, a remix of the previous yearâ€™s Reveal for fans to download free via the bandâ€™s Website. In this age of DIY home studios and indie labels, the straight-to-Web tactic seems a logical next step.
â€œWith this new technology, downloading it for free makes more sense,â€ explains Nightâ€™s Bright Colors mastermind, Jason Smith. Printing CDs was a major cost for the musician who felt the pressure to sell the finished product â€œbecame more of a focus than it should have.â€
A companion disc to last autumnâ€™s First Set Fire to the Stars, Late continues with the nighttime motif, a velvety hush palpable throughout the collection. But Smithâ€™s shimmery, ambient aesthetic is bolstered by pop sensibility with nods to Sparklehorse as well as The Cure. Lush violin (from Lauren Brown) balances sanguine guitar strumming on the all-too-brief opener, â€œblush.â€
The title track pairs Medieval string tones with a Nick Drake-like vocal for something sweetly romantic. The adroitly-named â€œparry the windâ€ is a moody meditation on weather as metaphor for relationships. That Smith, a stay-at-home dad, can craft such quixotic material in between sippy cups and naptimes only adds to the starry-eyed spell this album casts.
Smith plans to release the fourth and possibly final album in the Nightâ€™s Bright Colors catalog – a concept collection he describes as â€œevolving or devolvingâ€ around a Romeo and Juliet themeâ€”this fall.”
Check it out — it’s a free download and it rocks the house — but quietly.