The Invisible Cities | Watertown

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by The Invisible Cities

The Invisible Cities is a San Francisco-based band that make incandescent rough-around-the-edges sometimes-quiet sometimes loud rocknroll pop music with wiry guitars and boy/girl harmonies. Watertown is their first full-length record.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Synaptic Gap
2:13 $0.99
2. Instaglo
2:30 $0.99
3. Birthday
3:35 $0.99
4. Double Fisted
1:36 $0.99
5. Shooting Star
2:35 $0.99
6. Everything You Started With
3:30 $0.99
7. Oh Yeah
2:08 $0.99
8. Bumper Cars
4:40 $0.99
9. Watertown
3:35 $0.99
10. Take My Picture
4:05 $0.99
11. Lost In Translation
2:37 $0.99
12. Tentacle
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Invisible Cities is a San Francisco-based band that makes incandescent rough-around-the-edges sometimes-quiet sometimes loud rocknroll pop music with wiry guitars and boy/girl harmonies. Watertown is their first full-length record, born of late-night, half-remembered reflections about half-remembered places.

Sometimes they think about the album like this: landing softly in a new town, things that make you sad but are so beautiful you bring them out again anyway, the part where you kick the trashcan just because you remembered something that pissed you off, the moonlit night where you were far from the city and the stars and the orange and the snow swirled together, the relentless highway drive that you don't remember because you were listening to the radio really loud.

The Invisible Cities got started when Han Wang and Sadie Contini met on Craigslist and began listening to each other's tunes, adding tracks, and sending them back and forth to each other. They continue to collaborate, often remotely, with Han's brother Gary and drummer Tim Bulkley in NYC, who shape their sound considerably. The Invisible Cities play in different configurations, letting the musicians reshape the songs each performance. People who have played an important role include Gary Wang (NYC), Tim Bulkley (NYC), singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura (SF), Wil Hendricks of The Lofty Pillars, Nick Mirov and Dan Baber of Love is Chemicals, and Dan Lee of Scrabbel.

Watertown was released in 2004 and made it's way onto some cool best-of-the-year lists. In 2005, The Invisible Cities got voted Best Indie Pop band by San Francisco Bay Guardian readers, and in 2006 they made it onto the SomaFM Indie Pop Rocks! sampler. They have played at several local festivals: NoisePop, Mission Creek, piNoisePop 8, and APAture in 2003, 2004, and 2008. They feel lucky to have had help from Matt Yelton (Pixies, Frank Black) when they started recording Watertown, and from Jon Evans (Tori Amos) for mixing it.

Watertown Reviews:

"despicably infectious." -- West Coast Performer

"Few bands these days can create melodies like these folks, and even fewer are fronted by a singer as blissfully-voiced as the Cities' Sadie Contini. I'm tempted to fit this under the "bliss" category at times, though Watertown's mix of styles calls for a less typical tag like "sometimes dreamy indie pop/rock. But who cares about classification when an album is this enjoyable? At times loud, at times quiet, these twelve songs take the listener on a fun trip through the band's unique brand of pop songwriting.... As far as self-released indie pop debuts go, this is about as good as it gets. Don't miss out." --

"Tonight’s top new tune was ‘Instaglo’ by The Invisible Cities, taken from their cracking debut album, ‘Watertown.’ It’s a classic indiepop album, full of thrumming geetars and honeyed boygirl singing. It’s also very varied and full-sounding for a debut, sounds to me more like a third album in terms of the breadth of songwriting." -- Bzangy Groink (Jyoti Mishra)

Watertown and Live Show Review:

"[Watertown] has been in non-stop rotation at work and at home for the last month or so. Like I said before, this band has a huge talent and tons of potential. The live show covered all the same emotional territory as the album, and I was glad to experience in person the unique moments of reckless joy, doubt, humor and quiet resignation that made Watertown so special. The absence of some of my favorite cuts was mitigated by a run-through of what seemed like a newish song, “A Squared Plus B Squared.” It’s about triangles, among other things, so awesomeness immediately followed. Anyway, reviews (even informal ones) make it nearly impossible to communicate the nature of the music, so I’ll again fall back on the tired old mainstay of accessible-but-still-slightly-insiderist comparison. Ahem: The Invisible Cities sound roughly akin to a mixture of Exile in Guyville, Life’s Too Good by the Sugarcubes, and Yo La Tengo’s mid-nineties LP, Painful. If that doesn’t explain it, I guess I’m not surprised because writing it certainly made no sense. Anyway – buy the CD and do your best not to completely adore it, I dare you." -- New Plastic Weblog



to write a review

Indie pop for grownups
The Invisible Cities is the band you wish you were in. They were the cafeteria table of smarty-pantsed non-blondes who didn't even notice that the jocks & cheerleaders ignored them. Their confidence in no way resembles bravado. They're the expressers of universal sentiment with deceptively dry humor, subtle turns of phrase, and hooks so sweet you don't even noticed they're stuck in your heart until two days later when you can't stop singing that one line under your breath.

Sadie and Han are the intrepid duo behind this quiet genius of a band, joined by drummer Tim, occasional bassist Gary and frequent guest Goh Nakamura. Their debut album "Watertown" is a gorgeously crafted package of wistful acceptance. Each song reminds of something, of someone, only kinda but significantly so. You tend to remember the sweetness but the rock comes back and surprises you every time. You're not going to bang your head or bump chests, you're going to sit back down like the adult you are and appreciate someone else singing your song out loud.

Sadie's voice is often compared with Liz Phair, low and deadpan and only sarcastic if you're paying attention. She's the sweet thing who tells it to you straight and nails it dead on. Han joins in for the best guy-girl harmonies since I-don't-even-know-who, and steps up for lead vocals on the title track, which is one of the best indie pop songs ever written and was demanded as an encore at their last show at the Rickshaw Stop. Both play guitars that are as well matched as their vocals and energy, and there's even a little keyboard thrown in. Really. It's little.

The album should come with a warning label: "may be habit-forming". Buy it and you'll find it in permanent rotation in your car. And it's a jones you'll never want to lose.