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South San Gabriel / Centromatic

New double album “Dual Hawks”
Irish Release 23rd May 2008 on Cooking Vinyl / / / /

>>> For Information / Interview requests / Promotional Copies contact Berube Communications on or phone 0872442695 <<<

South San Gabriel / Centromatic have announced that they will be releasing a new double album, entitled Dual Hawks. Keeping track of the distinctions between South San Gabriel and Centro-matic could be a full-time effort, if one were so inclined. Based in Denton, Texas, Centro-matic once titled an album South San Gabriel, only to give a splinter faction of the participating musicians – meaning Centro-matic and friends – the same name. South San Gabriel includes the four core members of Centro-matic, plus additional members. Whilst Centro-matic’s material tends to be more rockin’, South San Gabriel is its mellow, literary counterpart. Each of these projects shares all of the aforementioned respective qualities and more. What is distinctive about the release of Dual Hawks is that we get the chance to hear side-by-side the various ways in which Centro-matic and South San Gabriel complement and play off of each other.

Explains chief singer and songwriter Will Johnson, “I think it was originally Mark Hedman’s suggestion to do the split double album and we all agreed it was time to shake things up a bit, put out a bold release and take a chance. Something real fan-friendly, and at the same time against the grain. We recorded the bulk of the Centro-matic side over the course of a week back in July 2006, most of which was written right there on the spot, and we came back for some overdubs and such a few months later. The South San Gabriel side was recorded during February of 2007.”

Named for a model of an Italian accordion, Centro-matic began as little more than a home-recording outlet for Will Johnson’s unstoppable muse. Redo the Stacks (1997) was primarily the work of Johnson, with soon-to-be Centro-matic members Scott Danbom on violin and Matt Pence in the recording engineer’s seat. The band soon grew to become a more collaborative effort, with Danbom on keyboards, bass, and vocals, as well as the occasional violin, Pence on drums and production/engineering duties, and Mark Hedman on bass and guitar.

Over the past decade, Centro-matic have released nine albums, four Eps and five singles, South San Gabriel have put out two albums, and Johnson has released two solo efforts (as well as a tour-only release). Some bands focus on quality; others on quantity. With Dual Hawks, the respective bands prove once again that they are one of the rare breeds who can do both. Catchy hooks, wiry guitars, harmonies and handclaps, splendid string and horn arrangements, and songs so well written and produced they will make indie-rockers of lesser mettle go home and cry. Full tracklisting for Dual Hawks as follows :

South San Gabriel CD
1. Emma Jane
2. Kept On The Sky
3. When Angels Will Put Out Their Lights
4. Of Evil/For Evil
5. My Goodbyes
6. Senselessly
7. Corner Cross
8. Trust To Lose
9. The Arc And The Cusp
10. Alabama Crusade
11. Jornada Del Muerto #20
12. From This I Will Awake

Centro-matic CD
1. The Rat Patrol and DJs
2. Two Gold Seats Reserved
3. Quality Strange
4. Remind Us Alive
5. Every Single Switch
6. I, The Kite
7. Strychnine, Breathless
8. All Your Farewells
9. Counting The Scars
10. Twenty-four
11. A Critical Display Of Snakes


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On March 6th, 1996, Will Johnson climbed out from behind his drum kit, plugged in an electric guitar and fired up a one-man band named after a pawn shop accordion he had found in Thorny, Texas. The earliest Centro-matic shows were just Johnson's unmistakable raspy vocals, the growl of that electric guitar, and foot-stomping percussion. After a few of those solo shows, Johnson started to long for the band he'd hear in his head, so he recruited Scott Danbom, Mark Hedman, and Matt Pence to round out Centro-matic. The quartet became a North Texas staple, releasing album after album of anthemic fuzz rock and putting on a live show that became legendary -- beer-fuelled marathon sets that often stretched hours in length gave them a reputation as one of Texas's finest.

Fast forward to 2006. A decade, almost to the day, and Centro-matic are readying the release of Fort Recovery. So much has changed. Centro-matic have toured throughout North America and Europe numerous times including sell out shows at the Beyond Nashville fest. They've logged time on the road with artists like My Morning Jacket, Drive-By Truckers, Ben Kweller, AMC, Death Cab for Cutie and countless others. Will Johnson's embarked on a successful solo career, and the Centro-matic boys have started a second band, South San Gabriel, for Johnson's hazier, more downtempo song writing forays which received Americana albums of the month in both MOJO and UNCUT. Between Johnson's three simultaneous projects, he's logged approximately 250 live performances in the past two years alone.

Fort Recovery is the culmination of Centro-matic's past decade. Culled from a recording session that produced twenty-something songs, the dozen here are Centro-matic at their finest. Electric guitars screech, evoking the spectre of Crazy Horse; Pence's drums blast furiously; and Danbom perfectly colours the songs with shades of violin and keyboards. The ballads are bittersweet. Although oft compared to the Replacements and the Flaming Lips, the hooks are pure Centro-matic -- not just in the fist-pumping bar-rock binges, but in newfangled stoned-out hymns that plumb the bottom of the rock register. And you can't forget Johnson's vocals -- the sage voice we've come to know and love -- or his effortlessly highbrow lyricism, the words soaked in surreal imagery and heartfelt emotion. Fort Recovery is Centro-matic at the top of their game, giving up honest American rock and roll of the highest standard.

Ten years is a long time. Yet Fort Recovery is not just about what's new with Centro-matic. For all the miles logged and hundreds of songs recorded, it's also about what stays the same. Sure, Centro-matic have cleaned things up a bit; some songs on Fort Recovery probably wouldn't have fit in on 1996's fuzz-rock classic “Redo the Stacks”. But Johnson, Danbom, Hedman, and Pence are doing exactly what they've always done. A decade after their first shows and recordings, the songs sound as solid as ever. And we've said it before, but hundreds of shows later, it's pretty much undeniable: They are the most reliably kick-ass live band in the Lone Star State.

Press and band quotes...

“Centro-matic is my favourite band that is still vital and intact. Their brand new album is their best yet. My un-mastered cd-r copy is my favourite album of 2005 and honestly my favourite new album of the past five years. I have listened to it several times a day for three weeks straight and like those great masterpieces of old I still find new things to love at every listen. Centro-matic's Fort Recovery is a masterpiece and I don't use that word often.” - Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers)

"What makes Will (Johnson) such a phenomenal lyricist is that he opts for the simplest language when painting an abstract picture." - Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie in the New York Times

"It's unforgettable in a Neil Young or Jeff Tweedy kind of way. As multifarious as the indie rock canon it's practically everything: from the South, in the basement, smoking pot, on the porch, plugging in, plucking soft and clocking out. It's a hootenanny of sweetly weathered proportions, free-wheeling clap-alongs and perfectly boozy balladry -- not to mention ass kicking pop songs about rotary heels and shotgun shells. Love You Just the Same is what a trucker cap would sound like if it could sing. Oh, and play violin."- Magnet

"It's hearty, stick-to-your-ribs fare that makes you proud to be an American."- Rolling Stone

"These resonant fables of half-loved underdogs, essentially preposterous scenarios reported with apocalyptic seriousness, call to mind the last two Flaming Lips discs... the band hugely rawks here in an unprecedented approximation of their live show, often summoning the moldy hearts of Mould and Hart (Husker Du). Hell, a harnessed Cobain twang even surfaces..." -

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