Marie/Lepanto – Tenkiller (album review)

by Woody on January 29, 2018

I’ve been really reconnecting with my Grateful Dead roots lately and one thing I’ve noticed is how much I enjoy Jerry’s voice when he’s singing with someone, be it Brent, Donna, Bobby or the ladies from the JGB. I’d say Will Johnson of Centr0-Matic and Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster of Water Liars both fit that description for me. Whether it be Scott Danborn for Johnson or Andrew Bryant for Justin, having another voice along for the ride always seems to pull something extra out of them.

So needless to say, having them play off each other on their debut is absolutely mesmerizing. It is like someone took Centro-Matic and Water Liars (two of the most underrated bands of the last 20 years and blended them together. Will & Justin’s voices sound like they were meant for each other on an album of dark and oft heartbreaking Americana.

Patient, Patient Man is a gorgeous haunting tune with a wonderful finish that sees Will take the lead. Famished Raven, is another winner from Johnson that deals with youth slipping away. It is stripped down more consistent with his solo effort from last year.Justin’s stripped down effort is the title track that closes the album. A tune that was inspired by the devastation that Native Americans felt as the White man made their way West. High Desert & Simple Scenes are two more winners where Kinkel-Schuster takes the lead.

I had high hopes for this album after reading the press release. Its met them and more. It is a wonderful album that deserves your attention.

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Marie/Lepanto is here


Will Johnson & Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster have joined forces to release an album under the name of Marie/Lepanto. The idea was hatched during a living room tour they did together. These are two of my favorite voices in music and I can’t emphasize how happy I am about this. The tune below kicks ass. Get excited for this one.

In the sunken lands of Arkansas along I-55, there’s a road sign that directs you to a pair of tiny, hardscrabble towns in the Delta. It reads: Marie/Lepanto and resides roughly between where each artist grew up: Justin in Arkansas and Will in Missouri. Alternating between lofi folk and distorted indie rock, ‘Tenkiller’ finds their two voices shadowing one another, with Johnson’s battered vocals and Kinkel-Schuster’s wavering tenor complementing one another. Many of the songs then funnel into expansive instrumental breaks. “Inverness” segues into the fingerpicking, creaky “Rest Be Mine.” The widescreen waltz “High Desert” coexists with the ghostly title track, named for a lake in Oklahoma and inspired by Justin’s reading the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Marie/Lepanto is here



Centro-matic are like a fine wine that gets better with age. There’s a line in their bio that sums them up real nicely; “After 17 years, the band is still driven to mine new territories and make a beautiful racket together.” And while I might not be amongst the die-hard legions that have been with them from the beginning; owning every album. But the announcement of a new Centro-matic release gets me excited like few other bands.

Take Pride In Your Long Odds is the band’s 11th studio album. And like another HearYa favorite, The Mother Hips, they continue to be one of America’s most underrated bands. Take Pride In Your Long Odds does nothing to take off the luster of a great catalog. The album opens with a nearly 5 minute intro in the vein of At Dawn (minus any lyrics). I’ve always found Will Johnson’ voice to be one of the most genuine voices in rock today; devoid of any pretense. The wait for his voice to kick in as lo-fi feedback mixes in with acoustic strumming seems interminable on the fist listen before kicking into Every Mission; a killer track about a woman down on her luck. From there you get some amazing tracks like Cynthia Glass, Academy of Lunkers and Relative Unto The Aces.

Simply put, if you consider yourself a fan of Centro-matic; you’re going to love this album. If you don’t like them, I feel bad for you. If you are new to Centro-matic, get busy. You just discovered a treasure trove of unbelievable music. To help get you started, here is a free mix of 24 songs from years past.

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Centro-matic is here



Like a fine wine, Centro-matic just keeps on getting better with age. With that in mind, they are releasing their follow-up to 2011’s stellar Candidate Waltz. The album will be titled Take Pride in Your Long Odds and be released on June 3. Below is the first track, Salty Disciple.

They are also releasing a re-issue of their first LP Redo The Stacks on April 22. A special vinyl double-LP will be out in June as well. I assume a tour will follow and you should make it a priority to see them live. They never disappoint.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Centro-Matic is here


Will Johnson – Scorpion [album review]

November 26, 2012

I’ve always considered Centro-Matic and Will Johnson to be a barometer of cool. Anybody that liked Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel or Will Johnson was cool. Other examples for me include The Mother Hips, A.A. Bondy and Sleater-Kinney. Here’s an example of how a conversation would play out: Woody – “Did you hear that Will Johnson […]

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Will Johnson’s acoustic Iso Residue [Centro-Matic]

November 9, 2011

One of my favorite songs of the year is “Iso Residue” by Centro-Matic off their album Candidate Waltz. Will Johnson just released a video where he performs the song live and acoustic and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio. It’s a real nice alternate take of the track and very nice video production. Catch the band on […]

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Centro-matic’s Iso-Residue and 24 free songs

July 12, 2011

I feel really bad for snubbing Centr0-matic in our best albums of 2011 so far post. Candidate Waltz really is one of my favorite albums of the year. The band recently released a new video for one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Iso-Residue” as well as a 24-song sampler. Here’s what Will Johnson […]

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Centro-matic – Candidate Waltz [Album Review]

June 22, 2011

A few weeks back, Shirk and I were talking about the logistics of a potential Centro-matic live session. Unfortunately schedules didn’t work out, but Shirk asked me to describe them. I said the session would similar to The Mother Hips. Like Tim Bluhm and Greg Loicano, I imagine Will Johnson to be the quintessential pro […]

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Centro-matic/South San Gabriel – Dual Hawks [Album Review]

January 19, 2009

I’m not quite sure how we made it through 2008 without reviewing the latest album from indie pimps Centro-matic. They released a split-double album with Will Johnson’s other band, South San Gabriel, way back in June on Misra records and somehow no one on HearYa was talking about it. Or maybe they were and they […]

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