The opening/title track on Black City Lights’ debut EP, “Parallels,” instantly takes me to the New York City music scene back in 2003. This was when Asobi Seksu was playing Don Hill’s to about six people and School of Seven Bells was still On!Air!Library!. It was a great time for shoegaze in New York and Black City Lights could have easily been on the Kanine Records artist roster. It’s no surprise this Wellington, New Zealand duo has been picked up by the brand new NYC indie label, Stars & Letters.

Black City Lights are producer and vocalist team, Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr. Their debut EP is simply stunning. “Rivers” strikes big with its echoing drums reminiscent of UK bands from the early 90s and JCP’s vocal delivery feeling like an emotional purge captured in a sound booth. It’s definitely a song you’ll want to play on repeat and test the volume levels of your speakers. “Get Away” is one of my favorites. This song is a constant heartbeat in atmospheric flux, sounding what I imagine a vamp session between early M83, White Sea and Seven Saturdays would be like. If you’re a Zola Jesus fan, listen to “Collapsing Horizon” and “Same” immediately (drop everything).  

We’ll have to wait until 2013 for the band to make a US debut, (rumor has it New York and Los Angeles are the first cities on the list). In the meantime, head over to and get addicted to the Black City Lights sound.

Black City Lights’ Parallel’s EP is out now on Stars & Letters.

– Elizabeth Baudouin



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