Imaginary Cities: “Indie Pop”… But Better

While I’m, personally, not a big fan of leaving the apartment, much less Center City, much less the state, I have to admit that the Firefly Music Festival, taking...

Imaginary Cities photo 2

While I’m, personally, not a big fan of leaving the apartment, much less Center City, much less the state, I have to admit that the Firefly Music Festival, taking place this weekend in Dover, Delaware, boasts quite an impressive lineup, from recently profiled acts like He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, The Last Bison, Haim, The Joy Formidable, and The Lumineers to bands I grew up loving, like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.  Also very worth checking out are Winnipeg’s Imaginary Cities, who will be opening “the Porch” stage this Saturday at 1:15.  But, if festivals and Delaware aren’t your thing either, the band will also be making an appearance this Wednesday, June 19th, at one of my favorite Philthy spots, Milkboy.  The Canadian male/female duo (at least in the studio), comprised of Rusty Matyas (of The Waking Eyes and a touring member of The Weakerthans) and Marti Sarbit.  The outfit came together after meeting at a Winnipeg nightclub, with Matyas deciding he had to work with Sarbit.  They released their debut album, Temporary Resident, in 2011 and this May they released their sophomore LP, Fall of Romance, on Votiv. They are apparently quite happy with not only the finished product, but the process of writing and recording the album.  I recently got a chance to chat with Matyas about Imaginary Cities’ latest.

“Unlike the last record, which was just a collection of every song we’d ever written together, this album is more cohesive and focused.  We were also focusing more on the production style, but we felt no pressure.  We’re just making music for ourselves, still.  There was no pressure or deadline.  But we pretty much just re-recorded certain portions of the music, but the demos sound pretty much just like the songs on the album.”

The sound of Fall of Romance is a very dynamic and soulful take on seemingly traditional songwriting.  It could be described as “indie pop,” but I’m not sure that would do the band justice… They’re far more nuanced and skilled than that.  At times you’d think the band would be most at-home in a smoky lounge and, at times, they would seem more suited for an open air festival set on a sunny afternoon (… go figure).  At times they even sound as if they’d be best suited to be filling a cathederal.  Their sound would seem too appeal to fans of both progressive takes on pop music and those individuals who most appreciate the “craft” of a brilliant modern composer.  Matyas describes the songs as, “big, lush arrangements,” and admits, “We’re really into bands like Apples in Stereo and Band of Horses.”  Matyas co-produced Fall of Romance with Howard Redekopp, known for his work with Tegan and Sara the The New Pornographers, and he says that the process of collaborating with Redekopp was more or less a dream-come-true: “He’s done many records I respect and admire and he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and one of the most patient people I’ve ever met.  There was never any ego or argument.  It was actually the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio.”


Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.