Capital Cities is an American indie pop duo from Los Angeles, California, formed by Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian. Its debut EP was released on June 7, 2011, with lead single "Safe And Sound." A subsequent single, "Kangaroo Court," was released on May 1, 2012. The band was featured on the Pop Up #1 compilation curated by Perez Hilton that was released on August 7, 2012. The band's song "Safe and Sound" charted at #1 on the US Alternative Songs chart. The song was also used in a German Vodafone commercial. The song "Center Stage" was featured on ESPN's First Take where they played a short segment of the retro sounding track before going to commercial breaks.
The band's debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery was released June 4, 2013, via Capitol Records in partnership with Lazy Hooks. It was the first release of new material on Capitol with a Universal Music Group catalog number. It debuted at #66 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Merchant met Simonian on craigslist after he responded to the other's open ad offering his production services. The pair soon fell into jingle-writing and after a successful three years together composing music for commercials and advertising campaigns, the pair formed Capital Cities. The band released its debut, self-titled EP in June of 2011 via their label, Lazy Hooks.
In 2012, the band signed with Capitol Records. In partnership with Lazy Hooks, the label released In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, the band's debut album, on June 4, 2013. The album takes its name from the lyrics of its top-10 Modern Rock radio hit “Safe and Sound,”, which is the album’s first single. The song has been heard in promotional campaigns for HBO, Smart Car, Microsoft, and many other spots. The album will also include the songs “Kangaroo Court” and “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo.” OutKast’s Andre 3000, vocalist Shemika Secrest and NPR’s Frank Tavares are featured on the song “Farrah Fawcett Hair.” The album is produced and mixed entirely by the pair of Merchant and Simonian. The artwork is by Brazilian artist João Lauro Fonte.
The band embarked on its first-ever North American outing, the “Dancing With Strangers” tour, with special guests Gold Fields, which kicked off on April 23 at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ. Capital Cities’ May 9 show at New York City’s Irving Plaza sold out two months in advance as well two nights at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. All proceeds from the June 7 show at the El Rey went to MusiCares and a Place Called Home. The band has also appeared and performed at Sundance, SXSW, and ULTRA.
The band premiered the official video of “Safe and Sound” on April 25, 2013 on VEVO. The clip was directed by Grady Hall (Beck, Modest Mouse). In the video, the song fuels a mash-up of the past 100 years of dance, presided over by Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian at the newly restored Los Angeles Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The video featured work from Emmy-nominated choreographer Mandy Moore.
In May 2013, "Safe and Sound" reached number one on the German Singles Chart. ClearartFanart Banner User Comments