Scratchie/New Line Records are thrilled to announce the debut release from one of their newest signings, Office
. Due out September 25th, A Night At The Ritz
is full of the irresistible and sophisticated pop songs that have made this band one of the most popular acts in Chicago over the past year.
Recorded over the Winter and Spring of 2007, A Night At The Ritz
was produced by frontman Scott Masson, who, along with the band, did the majority of the work on the record at his apartment. Final touches and mixing took place at New York's Stratosphere Sound.
Over the past year and a half, Office has built an enormous organic buzz at home, through steady gigs in Chicago (including a performance at Lollapalooza '06) and Masson's native Detroit, as well as through their two self-released demo albums. Though featured in nearly every publication in Chicago, the band also caught the attention of such national outlets as Billboard, who featured the band in their "Now Hear This" column; Magnet, who reviewed the band's 2005 self-release, Q&A
; NPR, which gave the band a "Song of the Day" feature; and Spin.com, who included Office as one of 32 contenders for the 2007 Artist of the Year.
Born out of a series of conceptual art pieces at the turn of the century, Office is the brainchild of Scott Masson. Masson would fill galleries with cubicle displays, Xereox paper, boxes, pop culture items. As he recalls, "They were all very minimal and blank-looking, but it was the start of some thematic dialogue within myself." After about a year, Masson turned his attention to music, recording numerous demos with various friends. In these songs, Masson dealt with similar themes to his sculptures: office imagery, city life, pop culture, work environments, love, social structure and money. A few years later, Office became a full-fledged band, with the current lineup of guitarist Tom Smith, bassist Alissa Noonan, drummer Erica Corniel and backup singer/multi-instrumentalist Jessica Gonyea, and put out a self-released album of infectious new-wavey pop tunes entitled Q&A
During the Summer of 2006, the band caught the ear of Scratchie Records owners James Iha
and Adam Schlesinger, and the heads of parent company New Line Records, and by November, Office had signed a deal with the label.A Night At The Ritz
contains brand new material, as well as select gems culled from five years worth of demo recordings that have been re-worked and re-recorded. All persons involved with Office and The Ritz
felt that these older songs were simply too good to not be released on a wider level. About the album, Masson muses, "This album has easily been the most grueling recording project I've ever been a part of, but also the most rewarding. It's not like this was setting up a band in the studio, and pressing the record button. There are tympanis, keyboards, concert percussion, electronic flourishes, machines, studio tricks, tape machines, choral vocals, and acoustic moments. It was years of revision, reworking, rethinking, subtracting, adding, and re-recording until it got to where it is now." He adds, "I feel like we live in completely surreal times, and this album is a reaction to that sensation."