In January 2014, Bob Nanna, 22-year veteran of the punk/indie/emo scene, was laid off from what he described as the “perfect day job.” Undeterred, he began to create a new perfect day job, playing music (with seminal emo band, Braid, a young frenetic upstart, Lifted Bells, and the downtempo electronic band with his wife, Jack & Ace.) He also focused attention on his custom songwriting website, Downwrite.com, which fueled the inspiration for this newest album from his solo project The City On Film, entitled La Vella.
On Downwrite, Nanna sourced stories from 9 fans and turned them into tracks on this new album, the second full-length solo record after 2007’s In Formal Introduction. Lead off track “You Wild Thing (An Illuminous Life)” tells of a chance meeting and a bonding over The Pogues, Ted Leo, and gym shoes. “Take The Ghosts” addresses personal conflict after a tragedy, “Stray” takes on wanderlust in the Big Apple. Nanna used a request for a soundtrack to a charity bike trek to create “Kill It!” about a close-to-home battle with lymphoma. The album concludes with “Andorra La Vella,” the most personal song on the record, written independently of Downwrite, recalling a big red dictionary in the Nanna household, highlighting countries and capitals, and a few poignant songs he cannot listen to anymore.
The City on Film, as solo vehicle, debuted in 1999 during a Braid hiatus and has been active, albeit in the background, since. Given the success of his various musical projects and Downwrite, Nanna hopes to keep The City On Film forever alive to tell his stories and the stories of his friends and fans.
The City On Film band on La Vella is Bob Nanna (vocals, guitar), Kyle Geib - of Lifted Bells and Dog & Wolf (bass), Seth Engel - of Lifted Bells and Options (drums). The album was produced by Bob Nanna and Jeff Dean at Million Yen in Chicago, IL.
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"[La Vella] takes some of the familiar elements that fans of his work will recognize and tosses in a full bag of new tricks."
"The album summons up a lot of summery, aquatic imagery — this is a feel-good album..."