Centro-matic and South San Gabriel

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Centro-matic: All the Falsest Hearts Can Try (2000), 6.5/10
South San Gabriel: The Carlton Chronicles (2005), 6.5/10

Will Johnson, a most prolific songwriter, fronted Centro-matic, a quartet based in Texas that, after a series of EPs, singles and cassettes, debuted with Redo the Stacks (1997). Their sound, that straddles the border between psychedelic-pop, cow-punk, noise-rock and emo-core (but definitely shuns post-rock), was defined and modified through Navigational (1999), that would remain one of their best, The Static vs. Strings Vol 1 (1999), that collects leftovers, All the Falsest Hearts Can Try (Quality Park, 2000), perhaps their most accomplished work, South San Gabriel Songs/Music (2000), that spawned a side project, Distance and Clime (Idol, 2001), Love You Just the Same (Misra, 2003), with Biology Tricks, and Fort Recovery (2006).

Will Johnson debuted solo with Murder Of Tides (2002) and Survey/Voyage (2005), and launched a parallel project, South San Gabriel, that debuted with Welcome Convalescense (2003). South San Gabriel and Centro-matic shared the double-disc Dual Hawks (2008).

Will Johnson released another album under his own name, Vultures Await (2004), and a new South San Gabriel work, the allegorical concept album The Carlton Chronicles (Misra, 2005), perhaps his most mature work yet.

Will Johnson also played in Monsters of Folk and the Undertow Orchestra.

Centro-Matic's mini-album Candidate Waltz (2011) was another collection of dysfunctional alt-country litanies (Only in My Double Mind, All the Talkers).

Crosby Stills Nash & Young must have been the inspiration for the supergroup formed by Son Volt's Jay Farrar, Centro-matic's Will Johnson, Anders Parker and My Morning Jacket's Jim James that debuted with New Multitudes (2012), a concept devoted to reinventing the music for old Woody Guthrie lyrics. Best is James' Talking Empty Bed Blues, that recaptures the dejected pathos of the "dust bowl ballads".

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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