10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Fred Thomas—once of Saturday Looks Good to Me and Lovesick, among other groups—made numerous solo records after those bands' breakups. With City Center, he continues showing his extraordinary skills in all things pop. He’s a rather undercelebrated artist, which may be partially due to his chameleon-like penchant for change. With collaborator Ryan Howard, Thomas has moved into the bedroom-pop realm, creating lo-fi collages of psychedelic washes, harsh bursts of noise, and soft-focus pop. Even in their wispiest moments, the songs here gel; they're held together by solid song structures, strong melodies, or at least one effective grounding element (a drumbeat, a guitar riff, a noisy loop). Redeemer is a rewarding sophomore release, made clear immediately. “Puppers” slowly unravels its sonic story, pulling in listeners with a buildup so gradual and shy it almost goes unnoticed; the tune manipulates the ancient verse/bridge/chorus structure into something that feels like something else. There are also stellar moment of unabashed pop goodness, like the dreamy “After Hours” and the ‘90s indie–inflected “Modern Love.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Fred Thomas—once of Saturday Looks Good to Me and Lovesick, among other groups—made numerous solo records after those bands' breakups. With City Center, he continues showing his extraordinary skills in all things pop. He’s a rather undercelebrated artist, which may be partially due to his chameleon-like penchant for change. With collaborator Ryan Howard, Thomas has moved into the bedroom-pop realm, creating lo-fi collages of psychedelic washes, harsh bursts of noise, and soft-focus pop. Even in their wispiest moments, the songs here gel; they're held together by solid song structures, strong melodies, or at least one effective grounding element (a drumbeat, a guitar riff, a noisy loop). Redeemer is a rewarding sophomore release, made clear immediately. “Puppers” slowly unravels its sonic story, pulling in listeners with a buildup so gradual and shy it almost goes unnoticed; the tune manipulates the ancient verse/bridge/chorus structure into something that feels like something else. There are also stellar moment of unabashed pop goodness, like the dreamy “After Hours” and the ‘90s indie–inflected “Modern Love.”

TITLE TIME
4:26
3:37
1:23
3:22
4:11
5:14
3:47
2:57
6:05
6:17

About City Center

Another project from the prolific Fred Thomas, City Center took his music in an atmospheric, often electronic direction more reminiscent of Atlas Sound or Panda Bear than the flawlessly structured songs of Saturday Looks Good to Me and his solo work. Taking the project's name from the "city center" signs found in many European cities, Thomas began recording as City Center during Saturday Looks Good to Me's post -Fill Up the Room hiatus, posting songs on the project's blog and issuing CD-Rs and cassettes on labels like Invisible Friend and Green Records & Tapes in early 2008. Thomas recorded a full-length, self-titled City Center album for Type Records before Ryan Howard made the project a duo; the album was released in spring 2009. After releaseing EPs for Troubleman Records and M'Lady's Record, the pair released their second full-length, Redeemer, through K Records in 2011. ~ Heather Phares

Top Songs by City Center

Top Albums by City Center