Biscuits, Triscuits…

City Center Soundbite on Deli Website
January 30, 2010, 1:47 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles, Uncategorized

This was posted on the Deli site! Find link here!

City Center

plugged in, ready to break out
by Lauren Piper

City Center formed in 2007 as the side project of Fred Thomas and Ryan Howard of Saturday Looks Good to Me. After just dabbling and recording over the past couple years, the duo recently released their self-titled full-length City Center. The album is beautifully diverse and swims with sound and experimental electronic loveliness. With brief guest appearances by Mary Pearson from High Places, other friends, as well as tons of sampling, City Center takes sounds that would typically be dubbed as noise or strange and makes something so much more fluid and meaningful. Their raw textures and busy electronic orchestration creates a watery, floating feeling and the vocals are clear, yet soft and blisteringly sweet with harmonies. The duo also has a really entertaining blog, which is apparently how the whole band began in the first place.

City Center
Self Titled

listen to “Various Tracks”

What is the history of the blog?
The band basically started as the blog. The project was mostly Fred being broke, bored and lonely in New York with nothing to do except record jams in his bedroom and then post mp3s for the hell of it, trying to reach out in some way. It was a sort of therapeutic thing that grew into an actual band.

What was the motivation behind forming City Center?
City Center rose out of the time-honored scenario of living in New York and not being able to pay rent on a practice space, so switching from traditional rock instrumentation to headphone-based/created music. At this point it’s almost a cliche, but a combination of being frustrated with the typical means of producing guitar-bass-drums music and a more isolated/cloistered creative existence were the jumping off points. We also had an eye-opening experience when our old rock band toured with The Blow and High Places. We opened up every night with two drummers and tons of guitars feeling boring and played out, like a bad Allman Brothers or something. That was right around the time things started to change in our heads.

What is your live show like?
The live show is always a little more sprawling and exploratory than the recordings. Our records lean a little more towards soft washy pop songs, where as live we prefer to jump around and rage a little. It’s basically just the two of us standing in front of identical samplers and mixers, so we get bored and start going crazy, freaking out in a gentle, fun way.

What instruments/sounds/experimentations were used for your self-titled album?
The entire album was made with a Roland SP404 sampler and an acoustic guitar. There are a lot of samples of field recordings and some older songs, but it’s mostly just guitar, voice and samples manipulated by the 404. A few friends helped us out on it. We made around 50 songs and kinda distilled them down to their best elements and threw all the rest away.

Collaboratively what are your top five favorite songs right now?
We always go nuts on the production and disposable nature of pop radio. For instance, recent amazements include: 1.Keri Hilson featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo &quotKnock You Down” 2.Black Eyed Peas &quotI Gotta Feeling” 3.Li’l Wayne featuring Young Money &quotEvery Girl” 4.Hurricane Chris featuring Superstarr &quotHalle Berry (She’s Fine)” 5.Beyonce &quotEgo”


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