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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Solarize singles by Capital Cities

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Capital Cities return!

Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian (aka Capital Cities) are best known for their infectious, trumpet-blaring song, “Safe and Sound.” Released as the lead single to their debut EP in 2011 and accompanied by a clever DIY music video made by Ryan and Sebu themselves, the song was a slow-burning success at first but eventually led to them being signed by Capitol Record and their first full-length album, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery in 2013. With label support behind them, a new bigger-budget video for “Safe and Sound” was made (still incorporating concepts from the original video) and finally propelled the song to reach critical mass. The video ultimately won an MTV Award in for Best Visual Effects while the song became so popular, it went on to be used in multiple promotional campaigns for brand such as Mazda, Microsoft and HBO. The song’s use in commercials is perhaps unsurprising given the pair’s background as jingle writers.

In A Tidal Wave of Mystery was full of catchy songs and contained three other singles, all of which were supported with memorable music videos: “Kangaroo Court”, “I Sold My Bed But Not My Stereo”, and “One Minute More.”

In the five years since their first album, Capital Cities have been relatively quiet. The single “Vowels” was released in 2016 and a 4-track EP entitled Swimming Pool Summer appeared in 2017. In March of this year, only one other single was released called “My Name Is Mars.” However, the wait for a second album is soon to be over. Capital Cities have announced that their new album, Solarize will be released Friday, August 10 (aka tomorrow)!

Not a lot is known about the new album. A complete track list and even the cover art have not yet been released. However, they have said that although they explored working with other musicians and producers, they ultimately decided to trust their instincts and compose and produce the new album themselves as before. Furthermore, Capital Cities have taken the unusual step of releasing a new single each week over the last month to tease the forthcoming album. This has provided a good taster of what is to come:

Venus & River (released 7/13)
“On an island stuck together, you’re the vinyl I could play forever.” This quirky couplet opens the first of the four new singles and assures the listener that Ryan and Sebu’s ability to pen clever turns of phrase is still on point. Other Capital Cities hallmarks abound. Fans will be pleased to hear the trumpet solo! They also still have an affinity for inserting pop culture references into their lyrics. (The titular “river” turns out to be River Phoenix.)  

Levitate (released 7/20)
Capital Cities are relentlessly joyful—almost defiantly so given our current scorched-earth political climate. On the upbeat “Levitate”, the listener is invited to chill out and reconnect with friends. Stylistically, the song is an 80s retro-funk exercise (similar in sound to Chromeo) that may have you break-dancing.

Just Say When (released 7/27)
Capital Cities’ live shows have a party atmosphere and the band actively encourages crowd participation. “Just Say When”, with its chant-along chorus, seems custom-built for inclusion in the setlist for their concerts. 

Space (released 8/2)
The analog synths and Latin rhythms on “Space” come together to form an irresistible interstellar mambo. The lyrics are about escape. “Big sky, lots of room, I’m right there with you. Room for me, room for you, we’re on the way to space.”

These songs are available for download right now. We've gone ahead and added all of these to our 2018 Poptastic Confessions Playlist on Spotify. Have a listen here ...

—Jason F

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