The long history of Bellingham, Washington's Racetrack began sometime in the winter of 2000 and 2001 when guitarist/vocalist Meghan Kessinger wrote a few songs, and enlisted her boyfriend Jackson Long to play drums. They recorded them on a four track and made a self-released EP that only their closest friends have copies, while playing sporadic shows in Seattle and Bellingham when Meghan came home from school in St. Paul, MN.
With a few more songs, Jackson and Meghan recorded another EP of material in the summer of 2002, with the bass playing help from Matthew McGowan (of Peter Parker) and Cristina Bautista (from Jackson's other band, Paxil Rose). Dubbed "The Distance EP," upstart Bellingham label West of January Records helped to leak this outside of an immediate circle of friends, confidants and acquaintances in the fall of 2002, though the distance (get it?) between Jackson and Meghan didn't allow Racetrack to become more than a part-time project.
In January 2003, with Meghan now situated in Bellingham, they turned Racetrack into a more full-fledged band, recruiting Chris Rasmussen (who'd been recording solo material with Jackson under the name Garden Variety Tsar) to permanently take over on bass. In a very cold garage, they practiced constantly, playing frequent shows in Seattle and Bellingham. They tightened up their set, rarely pausing between songs so that the music and performance can speak for themselves.
In August of 2003, Racetrack left their Bellingham homestead, heading out on a 3 1/2 week self-booked tour that took them 2/3's of the way across the country and back. They played everything from Jay's Upstairs in Missoula to a sport's bar patio in Grand Junction; a semi-abandoned grange hall in North Dakota to the Fireside Bowl in Chicago; suburban basements, smokey rock bars, coffee shops, and punk house dining rooms. Through lots of sweat and rock, they won fans all over the country and came into their own as a powerful live act, sharing stages with bands such as Built to Spill, the Long Winters, the Epoxies, the Pale, the Reputation, Carissa's Wierd, the Prom, and Aveo.
City Lights, Racetrack's first full length, shows all the strengths that this power trio developed through several US tours in their trusty red GMC Safari mini-van: loud, powerful hooks and melodies drenched in feedback and distortion, crafted into arrangements which defy standard verse-chorus-blah structure. The subtly lush production by Mr. Chris Walla (whose credits also include Death Cab for Cutie,the Postal Service, Nada Surf, Hot Hot Heat, the Velvet Teen, and the Thermals) brings out the pop sweetness at the core of Racetrack's songs, while letting their stadium sized rock fully engulf the listener.