Photo by Stephen Wilde

The current emergence of bands comprised of two members, one female and one male, has become an apparent trend in the world of music. As this trend continues to dominate, there is one Canadian group who should be a mandatory playlist in your iTunes library in the coming year Imaginary Cities.

Imaginary Cities hit the Canadian music scene full on last year. In May 2010, they opened for Young Galaxy at Toronto’s NXNE music festival, in October they released a preview 7″ and digital EP, Hummingbird, and in between those lines they also toured Canada with acts like Ra Ra Riot and the Rural Alberta Advantage. As I write this, they’re sharing their passion and talent with our friends across the ocean in Europe.

So, for those of you (and me) who are on the left side of the Atlantic, here are the catch-up goods on Imaginary Cities…

Imaginary Cities members Marti Sarbit and Rusty Matyas stem from the coldest city in Canada (and also home to the best Folk Festival), Winnipeg. The two met when Marti was playing and Rusty was mixing. Marti played in The Solutions, a Motown cover band and Rusty, well, he mixed their songs. WARNING: There’s some math below. Does the name Rusty Matyas sound familiar to you? Do you listen to The Waking Eyes or The Weakerthans? If so, awesome and if not, here’s Rusty’s band math:

Rusty + The Waking Eyes + The Weakerthans = Rusty + two bands = former band member + current multi-instrumentalist = Rusty.

Hummingbird EP

Cool. Now that I’ve got the left side of your brain working, it’s
time to oil up the right (full package here kids). Let’s talk about
the music.

I have to be honest; I’ve been MySpace ear creeping, which is good for the both of us. The first song on the player is Say You. To me, Say You captures the imaginary of someone who’s on
a mission (let’s pretend it’s you). So, first you’re on a mission, up the street or the stairs, looking for someone. Everything is super intense, it’s building up. Your heart is racing (the tambourine
cues in, the drums pick up). Then the clapping commences and Marti’s voice opens up. The whole song opens up. You’ve made
it, Say You is over and you want more.

Marti’s voice reminds me of a mix between Diana Ross and Ella Fiztgerald (go play YouTube song-switch and you’ll hear it too). I’m gonna connect the Motown experience to this one. Either way, her voice is enchanting and memorable. All their lyrics classically illustrate stories that your ears can see. You really hear her range in songs like Marry the Sea and Hummingbird, songs featured on their EP. It’s five volume levels of awesome.

Final thoughts? Rusty and Marti’s natural musical connection is apparent and easily addictive. It’s simple they just make great unforgettable music together, and everyone’s listening.

Cool Beans. Make sure to check out their EP, Hummingbird, and stay in-tune for the release of their first full-length album, Temporary Resident, on February 22.

*Album photo courtesy of Freshly Pressed PR.