Cities In Dust

Cities In Dust


When you take four guys who grew up on Fugazi but discovered Wire, you get this. Dirty, passionate punk rock with a love of unconventional pop hooks.


The creation of music is a process of power and mystery. Not that rock bands are mysterious anymore – by now, anyone can imagine four lads in a basement, throwing ideas back and forth at one another, sharing guitar licks and steadying arrangements. There’s little mystery in that. The mystery lies in a deeper part of the process, the part we cannot see. Here is the point at which notes, chords, lyrics, sounds and even mistakes gel, and a song comes forward out of the chaos. At this point, music still seems a form of alchemy.

The process can be so inexplicable that even those involved may not know where the music comes from. Cities in Dust know the elements, the ingredients that go into their music – but the outcome cannot be broken back down into those elements and traced back to the source. In other words, when the four members of Cities in Dust write a song, it comes out sounding like Cities in Dust – but exactly how and why is beyond their ken.

Vocalist Zach Frank met guitarist Simon Toye and the other band members separately and eventually coaxed them all to form a band. When they first met in bassist Craig Nordemann’s basement, it was a first-time meeting for Nordemann, Toye and drummer Matt Winters. Four near-strangers in a basement with instruments, ideas and opinions…naturally, it could have gone badly. Simply put, it did not.

Cities in Dust found some common ground in dance punk and dance rock, sharing an appreciation for the likes of Le Tigre and The Rapture; yet each individual fed their own flavours into this already murky cocktail of influence. The music grew quicker, choppier, and more kinetic. Drummer Matt Winters and bassist Craig Nordemann establish a solid and thunderous bottom end that acts as ballast for Simon Toye’s wiry guitar that crisscrosses above; meanwhile, Zach Frank’s tightly wound vocal springs like an elastic band, threatening to snap should it stretch any further.

The energy of the music and the performance began to draw interest from management and labels alike. Interest only intensified their drive and shortly afterward, Cities in Dust struck up a friendship with Paper Bag Records, playing shows with Paper Bag artists such as controller.controller, Uncut and Magneta Lane. As he had coaxed the band members together, Frank charmed the label before any of them had seen the band play. Once they had, it wasn’t long before details were hatched on recording the debut Cities in Dust album.

That album, Night Creatures, captures every electron volt of energy generated at a Cities in Dust show, and focuses that energy into a Tyson-like belt across the jaw. The album was recorded with Jon Drew of Uncut at Signal to Noise in downtown Toronto, and from the bass-heavy bounce of “Chop Chop” to the melodic “Some of My Best Friends are Cheaters,” this is the sound of Cities in Dust.


Night Creatures LP Paperbag Records 2006

Set List

6 to 8 songs in less then 30 mins