Imaginary Cities was born in a Winnipeg club called The Cavern, in between sets. This new group, founded in a chance meeting, is fast becoming one of the world's brightest new bands.
Their debut album, Temporary Resident, is being released across the globe on various labels (Hidden Pony, Grand Hotel Van Cleef, and Shock) this year.
Imaginary Cities is the musical duo Marti Sarbit and Rusty Matyas. Marti had moved to Winnipeg from Brandon, Manitoba and was playing in a Motown cover band called The Solutions, for which Rusty did some mixing. Rusty is no stranger to the Canadian music scene either. His former band The Waking Eyes was signed to Warner Records, and toured as the multi-instrumentalist in The Weakerthans.
Rusty decided to write a song for Marti to sing, and in one all-night writing session came up with a triumphant and soulful beginningthe track "Say You."It was a turning point. Marti's stunning and original voice broke open a wealth of creativity between them and they began recording together.
The momentum they gained from the "Say You" session carried on through the winter of 2010. The duo regularly spent 12 hours straight writing and working on a single song. As Rusty explains, "If it was going well after a few hours, we would stay until we had a finished song to take home. There's an energy and excitement on the day you're writing and recording a new song that will almost guaranteed be absent if you come back to it another day."
The energy the band found from writing together provided the identity and direction they needed to make a full album, with Rusty finding a particular strength as arranger. Marti explains, "He played all of the instruments and had a very clear idea of the kind of sound we were going for." "Say You" is the song that really got things started, but "Hummingbird" stands out as a key song on the album. "The day we started working on 'Hummingbird' Hummingbird we actually didn't have a song in mind. Rusty just started playing a few chords and I realized that I had a song that sort of fit with it," she says. Like it was just meant to be.
The jam space recordings soon became a complete album, flushed out at local Winnipeg studio Prairie Recording Co in April 2010. The resulting collection is a unique blend of wild pop songs, such as "Don't Cry," that can barely contain Marti's vocals. Then there are the tragic, modern ballads such as "Purple Heart," that bridge the gap between '60s Motown and contemporary keyboard rock. Marti's voice is heart-wrenching at times, with the frailty and wounding potential of shattered glass. Her voice is the thread that runs through the music, and is layered masterfully with Rusty's instrumentation.
The band, which began playing live in May 2010, has since toured across Canada with the likes of Ra Ra Riot, Young Galaxy, Rural Alberta Advantage, The Dears, and The Besnard Lakes. They also completed their debut European tour this past February, supporting the release of their Hummingbird EP. Their album Temporary Resident has been very well received, charting #1 on both !earshot and CHARTattack Canadian National Campus Charts, making history for being the first band to have their album hit the #1 mark, before its even been released. The album also became one of the longest charting albums of all time on CHARTattack chart. In May, Imaginary Cities completed a major across North America opening for the Pixies, and are pleased to say they have more dates with them later this fall in the US. They are also touring Australia and Europe before the year is out.
In addition to their success in their homeland, Imaginary Cities has made quite an impact on the America. Early on the trail, Paste Magazine declared the band the "Best of What's Next" in 2010. After Imaginary Cities debuted their live show at SXSW in March, their video for "Ride this Out" was debuted on the premiere pop culture site PopMatters.com and of Temporary Resident, Spinner.com hails, "The record's beautifully realized songwriting would perhaps be expected from a veteran act that had been honing their skills for years, but coming from such a new band, the careful balance of eminently tuneful melodies with clever lyrics is impressive, indeed."
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