Last March Black City Lights introduced their enigmatic blend of dark electronics and female power-vocals with their debut EP Parallels. A little over a year later, Black City Lights has quickly established themselves as one of New Zealand’s hottest and most buzz-worthy exports. Today, Stars & Letters is releasing their prodigious debut album, Another Life. For the first week only, fans can name their own price on Bandcamp.
With dark voices, neon beats, and ghostly electronics that evoke the apocalyptic modernism of a 1980s Blade Runner, it may come as a surprise to learn that Black City Lights hail from the quiet bay city of Wellington, New Zealand. With traces of Austra, Zola Jesus, and The XX, their progressive and cinematic sound has already captured international attention in little over a year. Comprised of wunderkind producer Calum Robb and power-house vocalist Julia Catherine Parr, Black City Lights create soaring and spacious soundtracks to midnight drives, backalley cigarettes, and regretful yeses.
Robb spent 2010 lurking in the background of the Wellington music scene, inspired by the bedroom-studio ethos of inexpensive hardware and audio software like Ableton Live. With no musical experience beyond a few years of piano, Robb began picking up production tips from the likes of Daniel Johnston (Red Steers), and was soon writing music late in 2010. Through mutual friends, Robb met Parr, a classically trained vocalist who was studying music at Victoria University. What started off as a one-track experiment (“Collapsing Horizon”) soon turned into a permanent partnership, with Robb’s expansive, frosty landscapes shimmering beautifully with Barr’s bold and soulful voice.
In March of 2012 Black City Lights released their debut EP Parallels via Brooklyn imprint Stars & Letters. Local and international accolades quickly followed, including copious blog coverage, high-profile support slots, and two prestigious New Zealand On Air grants to fund their videos. One of these projects, “Parallels,” was produced by the We Are The Masses production team, which also created videos for Passion Pit, Bon Iver, and Beach House. Having polished their live set by supporting the likes of Grimes, Baths, and Van She, Black City Lights are now kicking off a 3-month, coast-to-coast tour of the United States in September to support their debut album Another Life. With multiple confirmed dates in LA and New York—including CMJ showcases in October—Black City Lights is looking forward to taking American audiences on a style ride that is both chilling and exhilarating.
Another Life releases world-wide on August 6th via Stars & Letters Records. For the first release week, fans can name their own price at www.blackcitylights.bandcamp.com.
New Zealand & USA tour dates:
Aug 23 – Puppies, Wellington, New Zealand
Aug 24 – Portland Public House , Auckland, New Zealand
Sep 03 – The Mint , Los Angeles, CA
Sep 05 – The Satellite, Los Angeles, CA
Sep 06 – The L.A. Fort , Los Angeles, CA
Sep 07 – The Dial , Murrieta, CA
Sep 09 – The Blue Lagoon , Santa Cruz, CA
Sep 19 – Milk Bar , San Francisco, CA
East Coast dates for Oct & Nov TBA soon