September 19, 2014

Friday night live at Transistor: City States and Rainbo Video. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

City States is Joel Ebner, a Chicago musician who writes art-pop songs inspired by The Antlers, Brian Eno and Wild Beasts. City States' debut album, "Geography," is out now via Safety Records.

City States began in Chicago circa 2008, initially started with a desire to branch out from the "four musicians in a room" aesthetic of Ebner's earlier band experiences, gravitating instead toward more studio-savvy projects like The Notwist and Death Cab For Cutie. Since then, Ebner has followed through on that notion via the 2011 EP "Resolution," as well as several singles and cover songs, all the while opening shows for the likes of Doldrums and Au Revoir Simone.

"Geography" -- mixed by John McEntire of Tortoise, the Sea and Cake -- is an album about change, the desire to understand the contours of the world, and knowing how to respond when landscapes shift unexpectedly; roughly halfway through the making of the LP, Ebner's father died suddenly of a heart attack and, as a result, most of the lyrics deal with notions of death, grief and the struggle to find acceptance when losing someone close to you. Specifically, the song "To Remember" is inspired by the eulogy that Ebner gave at his father's memorial service, detailing the relationship they had via the Fender Jaguar his dad bought in the early 1960s. Musically, the album leans heavily on classic art-rock albums of the last 35 years; with droning organs, ebowed guitars and melodic synth arpeggios, "Geography"'s arrangements bring to mind the likes of Stereolab, Brian Eno's "Another Green World," and "Remain In Light"-era Talking Heads.

Visit City States' website and Soundcloud page.

Rainbo Video is Arturo Evening, a Chicago-based musician and visual artist. With a name that evokes arrays of color both natural and technological, Rainbo Video makes music that couldn't be more appropriate. In his brand of electronic pop, colors infuse every note. Constructed from synthesizers, samples and crisp electronics, his newest tracks reside in the realm of synth pop and melodic hip-hop. The recent addition of his own vocals to the mix brings a new depth to his arrangements and live performances.

With a formal background in film making, Evening started out making avant-garde films and videos, then began translating his cinematic visions into music. Live performances now regularly include his own visual projections.

Visit Rainbo Video's website.

Also available: a previous Rainbo Video Transistor performance from June 21, 2013.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.