Top Of The Key: Let Bonner Shoot

Dave Hartley's protest beard is growing in nicely

Top of the Key is our occasional sports column written by Dave Hartley, bassist for The War on Drugs, frontman for Nightlands, and an all-around music and basketball enthusiast.

On Sunday Matt Bonner, his brother Luke Bonner, Tim Showalter (aka Strand of Oaks) and I snuck into The University of Pennsylvania’s historic Palaestra to get a few shots up. It was my first time shooting hoops with an NBA player (Matt plays for The San Antonio Spurs), so I was nervous. It should also be noted that Luke is seven feet tall and played professionally in Europe and in the D-League. He can dunk, quite easily. Thankfully the lights were dim so my woefully atrophied basketball skills were partially cloaked. Matt’s insanely automatic long distance jump shot glowed in the dark, though. He set his feet, aimed, and drilled shots from downtown as nonchalantly as walking up to a salad bar for seconds. Truly something to behold.

Ok, I should back up. Last year Adam Granduciel and I interviewed Matt for Paste Magazine because Matt loves music (specifically a bunch of bands on Secretly Canadian, home of both The War on Drugs and Nightlands) and we love hoops. It was a great opportunity for us to ask questions that we thought were never asked of professional ball players. Continue reading →


The Week So Far: Eight must-read stories on The Key

Bing & Ruth’s David Moore on the ambient performance he brings to The Barnes Friday [link]

The new LP from The Fleeting Ends, Our Eyes are Peeled, gets the Unlocked treatment [link]

Dave Hartley, bassist for The War on Drugs, launches his sports column From The Key [link]

South Jersey pop-punks Aspiga treat us to a song from each release in their Key session [link]

Roots collaborator Truck North releases Our American Cousin free EP [link]

Does cover art make the album? We ponder this and look at some great local album covers [link]

Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and drummer John Maloney tonight at Space 1026 [link]

Brooklyn duo She Keeps Bees is features on this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]


Introducing Top Of The Key, a new column about basketball by bassist Dave Hartley

Baron Davis slams on DH-47 (Dave Hartley)

Top Of The Key is our new sports column written by Dave Hartley, bassist in The War On Drugs, and leader of his own band, Nightlands. He’s also the go-to bassist and multi-instrumentalist for many other musical projects in town. There’s probably only one thing that eclipses his love of music, and it’s basketball. To put it bluntly, Hartley is a basketball freak with a encyclopedic knowledge of the game. He writes an occasional column for Impose and his one time appearance on ESPN’s SportsNation with his War On Drugs bandmates is legendary. Nightlands releases its new album, Oak Island, on January 22nd on Secretly Canadian. Nightlands play a show at Kung Fu Necktie on January 28th and you listen to a new song here. Hartley’s first column is on a topic that’s on almost every 76ers’ fans mind: Why the Bynum injury doesn’t spell doom for the 76ers.


On Monday, Andrew Bynum updated us on the status of his knees (and his hair). He sounded optimistic, but if you read between the lines there is some really troubling information, particularly this quote about his left knee in an interview with he did with the press. “Health is going to be an issue. There’s nothing I can really do about it. It’s arthritis in the knees. Cartilage is missing. That’s not going to regrow itself. Maybe in the future, the next three to five years, there may be something out there that really does help. For right now, it’s a waiting game.” For 76ers fans, this is dark news, but it’s not the end of the world. Here’s why. Continue reading →


Stream a Beach Boys Spotify playlist curated by Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs, Nightlands)

The Beach Boys made their mark in the mid-sixties with pop hits like “God Only Knows” and “California Girls” but War on Drugs bass player and Nightlands main man Dave Hartley is here to tell us why the band’s real genius didn’t show itself until later on.  From Dave:

The Beach Boys are much more than the just Pet Sounds and Surf-Car-Girl party songs. Here are twelve strange and beautiful songs that came after.”

In a Spotify playlist he created for his bands’ label Secretly Canadian, Hartley handpicks his favorite Beach Boys tracks from albums including 1967’s Smiley Smile, 1970’s Sunflower, 1971’s Surf’s Up and more. Continue reading →


Get up with Get Up With It! featuring Eric Slick, Charlie Hall, Dave Hartley: a Miles Davis tribute concert this Friday

Multi-instrumentalist Charlie Hall (Silver Ages, War On Drugs and Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society) has assembled an all-star collective to perform the music of Miles Davis (and beyond) this Friday evening, June 15th at Cianfrani Park (8th and Fitzwater Streets) from 7 – 9 p.m. The event is free. The band consists of Hall and Eric Slick (Dr. Dog) on double drums, Dave Hartley (War On Drugs, Nightlands) on percussion and electronics, guitarists Ross Bellenoit and Luke Westbrook, bassist Ezra Gale, Mitch Marcus on Fender Rhodes and tenor sax, Jeff Pettit on alto sax, Luke Brandon on the trumpet and some surprise guests. The repertoire, says Hall, will “dig pretty heavily into the On The Corner, Agharta, and Bitches Brew moods of Miles.” Go here for more information.


Nightlands offers a two song “Covers” release for free

Bassist and multi-instrumentalist Dave Hartley, AKA Nightlands has released two new cover songs that you can download below for free. On Covers Hartley recorded the Lindsey Buckingham ( of Fleetwood Mac) song “Trouble,” and Scott Walker’s “Big Louise.” Walker was a member of The Walker Brothers. Hartley is currently on tour with Nightlands which makes a stop in Philly on Friday, June 3rd at World Cafe Live opening for Sondre Lerche.


Vote for Nightlands in Magnet Magazine’s weekly poll of most-anticipated releases

ballot box
Cool stock photo, brah!

As you might have noticed in the post right below this one (seriously, do you really need a link? It’s right there!), The Key is pretty excited about tomorrow’s release of Nightland’s debut LP, Forget The Mantra, on Secretly Canadian. The label just sent out a tweet asking fans to vote for the band in Magnet‘s recent poll of most-anticipated releases of the week.

As it currently stands, Nightlands isn’t doing so hot, with only 7 total votes (which is worth a sad 0%). Meanwhile, Tom friggin’ Howie has 31% of the votes with 638. Tom Howie? Are you kidding me? Come on, Philadelphia—you’re not going to let that acoustic-guitar-toting Canadian singer-songwriter walk away with this week’s honors, are you? Doesn’t Dave Hartley deserve better than that?

We’ve done our part. Have you?