Band of the Day

2014.12.26

Midnight Faces

Crystalline, danceable melancholy from a Los Angeles duo
Slip behind the fear of discovery, something lies awake and it never leaves.
lyrics from Hold Tight

To better understand what The Fire Is Gone, the second album by Los Angeles-based duo Midnight Faces is, please understand what it isn’t: No fancy producers, no big name special guests, no one wearing robot costumes, no all-analog studio, and no songs recorded live to tape.

The non-singing half of Midnight Faces is Matthew Doty who elaborates by explaining, “We made this album by ourselves and for ourselves. We made it in my apartment on a computer one track at a time. If you dig the tunes, cool. If you don’t, that’s cool, too.” Fair enough, but there’s a damn good chance you’ll be landing in the camp of the former.

The Fire Is Gone is the follow-up to 2013’s debut Midnight Faces album Fornication, which despite Doty’s astute reminder that “‘Indie’ and ‘80’s’ are not genres,” reminded folks fondly enough of those sounds to draw the attention of MTV Buzzworthy and MTV Hive along with popular and influential music discovery websites such as Under The Radar, My Old Kentucky Blog, Earmilk, and Baeblemusic among others.

Still, Doty asserts, “Just what L.A. needs –another fucking 80’s new wave band, right?” Well, no. But when the songs are as good as what Midnight Faces is cranking out, perhaps the listener should be the ultimate judge of that? In fact, The Fire Is Gone is an even more evolved take on the sound that Doty and vocalist Philip Stancil already had pretty damn near perfect on Fornication.

“Phil and I no longer live in separate parts of the country,” Doty explains of the duo’s progression. “We were able to sit down and write together, with none of that file sharing nonsense.” Stancil elaborates, saying, “We hit on a lot of genres while working on this album, throwing out songs we didn’t like and re-working others to fit the mood.”

Barely into his teens, Matthew Doty began making music with childhood friend Jonny Pierce (of The Drums), resulting in a full-length album released by Columbia Records. At age twenty, he went on to co-found post-rock instrumental giants Saxon Shore with Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty), releasing three EPs, and two albums produced by Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Tame Impala, Flaming Lips.)

“I had been writing new music during Saxon Shore’s hiatus, with no idea as to where the songs would end up,” Doty says of the beginnings of Midnight Faces. “Towards the end of 2012, I asked Phil to take a shot at adding vocals to a couple of the tunes and that’s when things started to fall into place.”

The Fire Is Gone by Midnight Faces was released on May 13th, 2014. The album was preceded by the single “Over Again,” which Stancil explains was “the last song we wrote before sending the album to be mastered.” For a band that beautifully layers sounds, “Over Again” is essentially a guitar, bass, and drums track. Stancil says, “It’s easy to keep adding, but every once in a while it’s good to take it back to basics.”