Nightjars – ‘Modjeska’

Nightjars, the project of San Francisco Bay Area musician AJ Matias Bell, has shared new single ‘Modjeska’ ahead of the release of their debut album of the same name on 7 May. Written between 2013 and 2019, the album tells a coming-of-age story while also exploring the close bond and relationship between memory and place. Produced by Rosie Tucker and with a tape released through Sentimental Records (a label run by Rosie’s producer, Wolfy), Nightjars’ sound fits somewhere between Big Thief and Haley Heyndrickx – but with some ’70s Americana thrown in to the mix for good measure.

‘Modjeska’ opens in quieter, more introspective fashion as Nightjars looks back on old memories – ‘Your mother and I shared a place, but not a time and I’m only in town for a while’ – and offers up some self-depreciating lines that we can all associate with: ‘I am clueless in a world of clues’. There’s a detailed narrative in these lyrics that almost feel like they’ve been pulled out of the pages of a novel, while the subtle guitar hooks head into a more potent folk-rock-meets-emo sound around the three-minute mark (think Weakerthans).

Nightjars starts talking about their memories of the city and love – although there’s a focus on the hardships before ultimately feeling optimistic for the future: ‘And I freeze how I feel until things can be real and not distant but the strain of the transit defies understanding, now, doesn’t it?’; ‘I can’t see you today, but some nearby someday, you will be here, and the time that we spend between our nows and thens will look small as the wink of an eye —as Modjeska has since testified. I love you, I love you, goodnight’

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