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South San Gabriel
 
 
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South San Gabriel could perhaps be described as the whispering,drawling cousin of Centro-matic, incessantly stopping by to borrow microphones and to steal liquor. It might be the downtrodden night shift chain smokerto Centro-matic's scatterbrained, fuzz tone-addicted janitorial enthusiast. Nevertheless, the two entities are quite familiar with one another, and thus far the relationship appears to be in no need of clinical help. Will Johnson has heard the question so many times he can almost finish it before it's asked: If Centro-matic and South San Gabriel have the same core members, then why are they two separate bands? "Sometimes it's a question we ask ourselves, too," the singer says, "Basically, South San Gabriel is the four of us from Centro-matic plus a few other people, but it's an ongoing experiment. ... The music is slower to unfold on the ears and significantly darker."

Will Johnson is the songwriter/singer for both South San Gabriel and Centro-matic and the songs of Welcome Convalescence reflect his growing prowess as a writer. Unlike Centro-matic, South San Gabriel's music isn't as readily labeled "rock" - it's a tad twangier, much more loosely constructed, with a lot of warm open space around Will's characteristic inflected vocals. Think "ambient deconstructivist pop" for a start. Welcome Convalescence is a slow burn of an album, some sparks float here and there, but it's the warm smoke that seeps in slowly and lingers. The singer-guitarist credits the ethereal quality in large part to guest musicians Joe Butcher, Brent Best and Brian Vandivier. "We saw the songs through different eyes, and they became less conventional," Mr. Johnson says. "They became more like soundscapes and atmospherics." Johnson's craft is perhaps no where more apparent than on "Smelling Medicinal" - a subtle beauty of a song with a hook-laden chorus that delivers a message of missed communication and displaced anger
with a profound gentleness - belying the anger underneath.

South San Gabriel * the name hails from a river north of Austin * cut most of the disc at Mr. Best's home in Denton, but other snippets were gleaned on tour. Drummer Matt Pence recorded the spooky intro to "New Brookland" on a street in Holland where a violinist was holding court, and Mr.Johnson captured sundry noises and voices around the United States on a beat-up mini-cassette recorder. "It adds a nice texture and certain curiosity to the songs. ... It's like 'Wait a second. Was that a voice I just heard?' "

While South San Gabriel has no formal, concrete lineup all from the Centro-matic family are on board for this one, and it includes wizard-like offerings from Joe Butcher (Pleasant Grove), Brent Best (Slobberbone), Bryan Vandivier (Wiring Prank), and G'rilla (Brian Best's dog). Scott is a recreational smoker, constantly checking the weather. Mark obsesses over the art of athletes' names (ex: Amp Lee; Pork Chop Womack). Will occasionally works as a certified Radiation I technician. Matt stands unequalled when discussing the science of snack foods. Fervent supporters of the MadmanFarmhand Work Ethic, South San Gabriel quarters itself in the greater North Texas region of the USA, where the winters are unidentifiable and small town high school football is king.

For more information contact:
Stevo Berube at Berube Communications on (01) 476 3603 or 087 244 2695 stevo@berubecommunications.com

 
 
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