Centro-Matic is an alt-country quartet from Denton, Texas. Since 1996, they’ve released ten albums and a slew of EPs and singles and whatnot. The same guys are also in a “side project” called South San Gabriel. Frontman Will Johnson has had a recurring role in the much more well-known folk band Drive-By Truckers. I think there’s also a loose connection with the band Okkervil River. There’s a lot going on with these guys. They’ve been really prolific, and there’s a ton of reasons that I should know them better, but I heard them for the first time about a year ago when I stumbled upon their most recent album Candidate Waltz.
The album has a few standout tracks, and this is my favorite right now.
“Only in My Double Mind” by Centro-Matic
I like how everything is built around the drums. The guitar, the piano, even the vocals. I also really like how there’s a Fleet Foxes-type chorus going on with the vocals. I think Will Johnson is the only one singing, with a ton of chorus or some such effect. Whatever the case may be, it sounds warm and comforting. While a lot of the other songs on this record are reminiscent of Uncle Tupelo, or even Wilco, this particular song is more like something by The Arcade Fire.
Unfortunately, this album is my only frame of reference, but I’m guessing that I probably would like the rest of their stuff a lot.
I can’t remember exactly how things happened, but I think that the way I discovered Centro-Matic was that one music video led me to another by a different band, and so on, until I saw the video for today’s song, in which Will Johnson paints a wall mural of the album artwork, eats pizza, drinks wine, and is surrounded by chickens.
You can buy Candidate Waltz, and many of the other Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel and Will Johnson solo stuff here.