City Stars, the second album by New Jersey native Aquino, will be released on October 13 by Cocotazo Music. City Stars follows his 2015 release Giants Will Fall. The Montclair Times called Giants Will Fall, “…a wide range of sounds, textures and a relentless creative streak,” while You Don’t Know Jersey said, “There is a connectivity running through the songs that is held together by excellent musicianship and Aquino’s emotional and honest delivery.”
In City Stars, Aquino explores themes of growing up Latinx in an urban center of northern New Jersey. “I drew upon different characters—or ‘stars’—I’d met in my youth and their fascinating stories. Most of the songs reflect on their passions and missteps, and the trajectory on which it set them. The opening track, ‘Milly,’ explores a young Latina on the brink of womanhood who makes a life-altering choice. The title track follows two young lovers and their desire to see past the light pollution of the city. The last song, ‘We All Dance Like Fire’—a reflection on who I’ve become since moving away from the city—is dedicated to my wife.” The new songs were recorded in New Jersey and engineered by Jim Killgore in Ontario, Canada. The album was recorded over the span of a year with the help of some of New Jersey’s best independent musicians.
To celebrate the release of City Stars, Aquino will host an album release party at the Bloomfield Public Library’s Little Theatre on October 14. The event will begin at 2:00pm. Larée Cisco will perform an opening set. Admission is $10/person. Proceeds will be donated to the ConPRmetidos Hurricane María and Irma Recovery Fund. ConPRmetidos is an organization, “connecting people in order to foster commitment with the personal, social and economic development of Puerto Rican communities wherever they are.” Visit michaelaquino.com for more information.