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.

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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.

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Centro-Matic is here


Will Johnson – Scorpion [album review]

by Woody on 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 is touring with Monsters of Folk?”

Random Person – “Yeah, that’s awesome. Love Centro-Matic.”

That person is immediately deemed cool. And while I am not super-cool enough to break down their catalogs, there is something about Johnson’s weathered and raw voice that strikes a nerve every time. There are many genuine voices in music but few rival Will Johnson’s.

I meant to review that this back in September when it came out but I couldn’t find the right words. In reality, I still haven’t found them but if this poorly worded review can turn one person on to Will or Centro-matic; well then my job here is done. Scorpion is a sparse and personal affair that sinks its teeth in and doesn’t let go. Johnson meant for it be an album that grows on you and let me tell you, it most certainly does. I love listening to it when walking the dog on a cold fall morning. Something about it just feels right as the sun fights to poke its head out.

The opening track, You Will Be Here, Mine is a real treat and the accompanying video is genius. My favorite track is It Goes Away So Fast. The only thing better than Johnson singing is Will Johnson harmonizing with himself while distorted guitar squeals. This album isn’t one to listen when getting ready for the game or spinning. For a long walk in nature; preferably a grey, introspective morning – you’d be hard pressed to find a better album for such a setting.

Will Johnson – You Will Be Here, Mine by Indiespot


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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