A prolific, eclectic alt-country band based in Denton, Texas, Centro-Matic began in 1995 as a side project for singer/songwriter and guitarist Will Johnson. Though Centro-Matic released a few singles that year, it wasn't until 1997 that the project began to resemble a full-fledged group. After recording the 23-song debut album Redo the Stacks at his friend Matt Pence's home studio, Johnson enlisted Pence as the band's drummer, along with cellist/violinist Scott Danbom and bassist Mark Hedman. The fully formed Centro-Matic recorded over 60 songs in a Milstadt, Illinois studio space owned by Son Volt's Jay Farrar; of those, some of the quieter, more emotional songs ended up on the 1999 Idol Records album Navigational, while some louder, lo-fi tracks were collected with B-sides and other unreleased material on the same year's Quality Park release The Static vs. the Strings, Vol. 1.