musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Midnight Cities

Midnight Cities Release Their Second EP, Starlight

photo by NesPhotography

photo by NesPhotography

Just added: Midnight Cities will be performing at Lot 1 in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 5th!

Eastside L.A. pals Midnight Cities’ first official video for their second EP Starlight perfectly represents the mood of the new music — contemporary life and idealistic romance. It’s Simon Cardoza’s dreamy vocals, I’m certain of it, but even without perusing the lyrics of these five expansive, yearning creations, I can tell that they’re love letters. In the video for “Ignite Starlight,” a couple comes together at a rooftop party and, in my mind anyway, imagines their fantasy love affair — dramatic, passionate and set among the stars in a distant galaxy (though in fact they’re just standing on the roof of an industrial building somewhere in Los Angeles, staring at each other). Or maybe that’s just my jaded viewpoint. Never mind; enjoy the video and grab their new EP.

I don’t see any shows currently, but if you’re in the L.A. area, follow them on Facebook to keep apprised.


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Midnight Cities’ debut EP, Ignite!

Photo Credit: Elton Anderson

Photo Credit: Elton Anderson

I had the pleasure of seeing Los Angeles trio Midnight Cities last year during a cosmic whirlwind and existential crisis of a West Coast holiday. Midnight Cities features Simon Cardoza on guitar, piano and vocals; Martin Avelar on bass and Nick Roumeliotis on drums. They’ve just released their debut Ignite EP, on which they can be found bolting straight out of the gate on the powerful opener, “Collide.” On “Slow Down Girl,” the first single, the frenetic, driving pace continues. Things go off the rails a bit, musically and lyrically, on the last two tracks, “Meds” (with the delightfully off-balance refrain “TAKE YOUR MEEDDDDS! TAKE YOUR MEEDDDDS!”) and “Losing All My Friends,” which is first infused with sadness and then neurosis (“I’m only alone… in my mind”). In the midst of the emotional maelstrom is a dreamy and rather romantic interlude, due in no so part to Simon Cardoza’s passionate vocals. As unsettling as the other tracks are, “Soon We’ll All Be Shown” and “So Far” are quite pretty and peaceful. The latter also features lovely piano at the start and some luxuriously free-flowing lead guitar toward the end. Personal favorites: “So Far” and “Losing All My Friends.”

The EP was produced by Simon and Sean Tallman (Lilly Allen, Miley Cyrus, Ne-Yo, Deftones, Outcast, Gwen Stefani and Kelly Clarkson – that’s quite a combo). The video for “Slow Down Girl” features actress Megan Duffy. They’ll be releasing more videos soon, and are already working on another EP, Starlight, which is due out early next year.

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My Musical Highlights of 2013

(clockwise from upper left): A blessing to see all my favorites this year - The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows, Malcolm Sosa's 123Death and The Airborne Toxic Event

(clockwise from upper left): A blessing to see all my favorites this year - The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows, Malcolm Sosa's 123Death and The Airborne Toxic Event

I’ll be honest — 2013 was a bitch of an “all work and no play” year, but the times I did get to cut loose with some fine music were pretty spectacular. There were a few really nice festivals (not a format I’m typically fond of), an intimate backyard deck show in Echo Park and the swan song of a beloved L.A. band. What might have lacked in quantity was well compensated in quality. Due to my work circumstances, I had to select carefully, so what you’ll find here are mostly old favorites. As the year winds down, it does so on a rather ominous note, and I’m not entirely certain what the future holds. Ok, no one is ever certain; I’m especially not certain. If there’s anything in a musical vein that I hope for in 2014, it’s that however my life changes, it does so in a way that I can experience a wider range of musical delights in the new year. For a comprehensive overview of top recordings released in 2013, visit Ryan’s Smashing Life for his ’50 Best Albums of 2013.’ Meanwhile, here are six of my personal live performance highlights, in chronological order.

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Lost and Found (VII of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

123Death at Los Globos, Silver Lake

123Death at Los Globos, Silver Lake

Part VII: Boardner’s in Hollywood to Los Globos in Silver Lake… and back again.

It was now Day 6 in my bleary haze of broken sleep and beautiful sights and sounds. Tuesday night — must be time for my personally-curated “Julie’s Eastside L.A. Welcoming Party” (or so it seemed). Former members of Death To Anders, Rademacher, Radars To The Sky and The Henry Clay People, all in new projects at two different clubs at opposite ends of town. It was also the night when I wondered why, despite all our technological advances, transporters haven’t yet been invented.

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Lost and Found (IV of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

Manhattan Murder Mystery, at the Echoplex

Manhattan Murder Mystery, at the Echoplex

Part IV: Echo Part Rising, Saturday Afternoon

I woke up on a floor in Echo Park to discover it was Charles Bukowski’s birthday. The public radio station KCRW, broadcasting from Santa Monica, was airing a special in honor of the legendary author, short story writer, novelist and poet. As I listened to his friend Harry Dean Stanton’s beautiful reading of the stark and gorgeous Bluebird, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to prepare for the Echo Park Rising Festival than with streetwise and poignant words from this prolific Angeleno.

In the aftermath of the reading, I thought of my first few days in Los Angeles. There was the massive decompression at Echo Park Lake from so many layers of stress, and just wandering around the streets of Echo Park and Silver Lake in contemplation and what I’ll call “life evaluation.” My friend’s barrage of stories of his current state of mind and recent miseries, his supporting characters of the kind that Bukowski might like to write about, if he were still here. There was the young and naive female sub-letter he found on Craigslist, who put his belongings in bags and tossed them out into the yard, crashed his car and ran back to Pennsylvania after just a few days in the big city. The crack addict and “crack whore” hooker, who stole the car and took it on a joyride. The police. The disorientation. The restless days, locked out and temporarily among the lost and the homeless, out on the streets. The crack addict’s ex-wife and her ominous warnings, and other sordid and sundry characters who had come in and out of his life, wearing him down, taking, not giving, and leaving just a hollow shell in their wake. And through his and my sleepless nights, mysterious packs of barking dogs, like roving canine gangs. Interwoven with the dogs were the ubiquitous ghetto birds. It was horrible and yet gloriously romantic grit.

Besides just the joy of being there (and not being on the East Coast), there was that which strengthened and sustained me: a neighborhood that was relaxed, easy-going and filled with working-class Latino families. Bright, never-ending sunshine. The Tribal Cafe a short walk down the street, with their vegetarian Mexican dishes, amazing kale salads and powerful energy drinks. All of it dirt cheap and in a casual, bohemian setting. Tired as hell but strangely energized, I grabbed my things and headed out for an afternoon and evening of fine music with some old and new friends. It was time for Echo Park Rising.

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