The City Lights
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The City Lights

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band EDM Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"thecitylights* is a 'Turn On'"

If Ben Kweller and Weezer abandoned their baby on the Violent Femmes' doorstep, it would sound like David Gwaltney's thecitylights.

Gwaltney, a Tisch junior in the film program, is in the process of laying down tracks for his EP "Turn On," due to drop in September. Everything seems to be going right for thecitylights; while some bands break the bank to produce and mix an album, Gwaltney is spending his money on a melodica, whistles and a brand-new glockenspiel.

Thanks to his studio recording class, which grants him unlimited access to Tisch's recording studios, Gwaltney can produce thecitylights' new EP at almost no cost.

"They don't know that yet," he said. "But they wouldn't care."

Gwaltney is planning on recording half of the tracks in Nashville, Tenn., where his friend and production partner Chris Newton attends Belmont University.

"We're recording guitar and vocals in New York, drums and various other instruments in Nashville," Gwaltney explained.

Also in Nashville is Gwaltney's other freebie: another Belmont University student who is willing to mix his tracks for no charge.

Originally planned for early May, thecitylights EP will be released Sept. 12 (a Friday, he notes), and Gwaltney is counting the days.

"Everyone will be back at school, so there'll be a really big party," he said.

Thecitylights made its major performance debut in London last fall, when Gwaltney was studying abroad. Although he won't be performing this spring because of his hellish class schedule, this summer promises a cornucopia of shows, hopefully with stops at the Lower East Side music mecca Rockwood Music Hall.

Two of the seven tracks on thecitylights' EP are songs Gwaltney wrote and performed while in high school: "Out the Door" and "Insert Name, NYC," which stick with his self-described "indie power-pop" sound, a tasty m'eacute;lange of the Violent Femmes' Gordan Gano's wailing vocals with a thin candy shell of Weezer's upbeat, choppy chords. Five new songs will make their debut, and Gwaltney says his writing process has changed a lot.

"[The lyrics] are a bit more complex," he explained. "Lots about change, sex, suicide," which includes his new song "Canada," performed live in London.

Gwaltney said in a perfect world, he'd combine his music and filmmaking.

"I've always been interested in the interchange of music and movies, and how they fit together," he said. "If I'm not successful at either, I want to make a living. I want to survive first. ... Next would be promoting my music."

by Kate Thuma - April 8, 2008 - Washington Square News


Please! - March 2012
TURN ON - January 2009
Live at El Rancho Grande on 'The Lounging Ghost Tour' - December 2009
turn on [demos] - January 2008
School Trax - May 2003



For the past four years, the two Bristol, Tennesseans (David and Chris) have been on a musical journey: starting on the sidewalks of New York City and Nashville, traversing the coffeeshops and dive bars of the southeast, playing their first festivals at Knoxville's Rhythm and Blooms and Bristol's Rhythm and Roots, and opening for two great folk acts of our time, The Fruit Bats and Sam Quinn + Japan Ten.

The sound is influenced heavily by the mountains of Tennessee and Virginia, the music of Ben Kweller and Ben Folds, and separate college experiences in New York City and Nashville.

Based on their trajectory over the past few years, guided only by themselves, it's fair to say that great things are in the works for these musicians. We only hope you can be a part of this career.

Thank you for your time.

Band Members