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Capital Cities (band)

Capital Cities
Capital Cities performing in Sunnyvale, California on January 25, 2013
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Indie pop,[1] synthpop[2]
Years active 2010–present[3][4]
Labels Lazy Hooks, Capitol
Website .com.capitalcitiesmusicwww

Capital Cities is an American indie pop duo from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2010 by Ryan Merchant (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Sebu Simonian (vocals, keyboards). Their debut EP was released on June 7, 2011, with lead single "Safe and Sound" which became their first top ten single. The band currently consists of Ryan Merchant, Sebu Simonian, Manny Quintero on bass guitar, Spencer Ludwig on trumpet, Nick Merwin on guitar and Channing Holmes on drums.

A subsequent single, "Kangaroo Court", was released on May 1, 2012.[5] The band was featured on the Pop Up #1 compilation curated by Perez Hilton that was released on August 7, 2012.[6] The band's song "Safe and Sound" charted at #1 on the US Alternative Songs chart.[7] The song was also used in a German Vodafone commercial.[8] It was also used in the United States and Canada in a television commercial for the 2014 Mazda 3. 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. The album debuted at number sixty-six on the Billboard 200 chart.


  • History 1
  • Discography 2
    • Studio albums 2.1
    • Extended plays 2.2
    • Singles 2.3
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Merchant met Simonian on Craigslist after he responded to the other's open ad offering his production services. They soon fell into jingle-writing together, and after a successful three years composing music for commercials and advertising campaigns, the duo formed Capital Cities. The band released its debut, self-titled EP in June 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.[9] 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, Mazda and many other spots. The album also includes the songs "Kangaroo Court" and "I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo". Outkast's André 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.[10]

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, SweetLife,[11] 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 the band at the newly restored Los Angeles Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The video featured work from Emmy-nominated choreographer Mandy Moore. The video was nominated for two 2013 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects. The video won a 2013 MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects.

In May 2013, "Safe and Sound" reached number one on the German Singles Chart.

September 5, 2013 marked the premiere of the "Kangaroo Court" music video. The video features appearances from Darren Criss, Shannon Woodward, and Channing Holmes. The story tells of a zebra (Merchant), who has been forbidden from a club called The Kangaroo Court. Attempting entry disguised as a horse, he falls for a lapdog (Woodward). Her date that night, a bulldog (Criss), becomes jealous and reveals the zebra for who he actually is. The zebra is placed under arrest for his crime and sent to court to face a kangaroo judge (Holmes). He is found guilty immediately and is executed by lion (Simonian).

The band was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video.

Capital Cities is joining Katy Perry on the North American leg of her Prismatic World Tour.


Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
In a Tidal Wave of Mystery 66 53 75

Extended plays

Title Album details
Capital Cities EP
  • Released: June 7, 2011
  • Label: Lazy Hooks
  • Formats: CD, 12"
Kangaroo Court EP
  • Released: December 17, 2013
  • Label: Lazy Hooks
  • Formats: Digital download


List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album


"Beginnings"[23] 2010 Non-album single
"Safe and Sound" 2011 8 1 2 2 5 1 4 48 8 42
  • RIAA: 2× Platinum[24]
  • ARIA: Platinum[25]
  • BVMI: Platinum[26]
  • FIMI: Platinum[27]
  • IFPI SWI: Gold[28]
In a Tidal Wave of Mystery
"Kangaroo Court" 2013 50 81
"I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo"[29]
"One Minute More" 2014 23 31
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  1. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (June 5, 2013). "Capital Cities On 'Safe and Sound,' Andre 3000 & Possibly Returning To Jingle-Writing".  
  2. ^ Usinger, Mike (May 23, 2013). "Capital Cities sets jingles aside for synth-pop hooks".  
  3. ^ Imbong, Peter (11 January 2014). "Capital Cities: Unabashedly Cheery".  
  4. ^ Lopez, Korina (22 June 2013). "On the Verge: Meet dance-pop duo Capital Cities".  
  5. ^ "Capital Cities Drop Kangaroo Court". 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  6. ^ "Pop Up! Hours Away!". 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  7. ^ "Billboard's Capital Cities biography page". 2013-02-23. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Vodafone commercial in german television". 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  9. ^ June 24, 2013 (2013-06-24). "In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery, Capital Cities’ Debut Album, Is Out". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  10. ^ "Capital Cities investe em "Safe and Sound" e lança terceiro videoclipe do single". TecoApple (in Portuguese).  
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Capital Cities – Chart history: Billboard 200".  
  13. ^ a b "Discographie Capital Cities" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Discographie Capital Cities" (in German).  
  15. ^ "Capital Cities – Chart history: The Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Capital Cities – Chart history: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Capital Cities – Chart history: Hot Rock Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Capital Cities – Chart history: Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Top Digital Download - Classifica settimanale WK 32 (dal 05-08-2013 al 11-08-2013)" (in Italian).  
  20. ^ "Discography Capital Cities". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Discography Capital Cities". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Capital Cities".  
  23. ^ "Beginnings – Single by Capital Cities".  
  24. ^ "Gold & Platinum: Capital Cities".  
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles".  
  26. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Capital Cities)" (in German).  
  27. ^ "Italian single certifications – Capital Cities" (in Italian).   Select Online in the field Scegli la sezione. Select Week -- and Year ----. Enter Capital Cities in the field Artista. Click Avvia la ricerca
  28. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Capital Cities; 'Safe and Sound')". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  29. ^ "I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo – Single by Capital Cities".  

External links

  • Official website
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