Heavy Americana From Will Johnson

Nathan and I were just discussing some of the original bands we first posted about and have steadily shared over our 10+ year run. After a bit of poking around in older, and terribly formatted posts, our very own Austinite Will Johnson was featured quite a bit in the early days and frequently over the years. Bottom line, we love his music and everything he’s been involved in over the years. Currently Will is going under his own name again with a new album called Wire Mountain coming on September 27th via Keeled Scales. Prior to that new release date, we’ve got this new single “Necessitarianism (Fred Merkle’s Blues)” ready for your ever awaiting ears. It’s a familiar Johnson sound with his ever raspy, haunting vocals, but this time with more of dark, edgy sound to his ever evolving Americana style.

Static Diary Release Video for Phrase from Business

We’ve previously written about Scott Danbom‘s new project, Static Diary, and today we’re happy to share the animated video for album track “Phrase from Business.” It’s a delicate number from the get-go, with a bare piano accompanying Scott’s voice; that piano eventually leans into a heavier electronic pulse. Danborn’s voice has this certain fragility to it that’s intoxicating; it hits it’s peak as the song swell’s around the chorus. About two minutes in, the song surges into a heavy handed jam of sorts, fuzzy and ominous ’til the fadeout. It’s a gorgeous number, and you’ll find it on the Static Diary LP, which drops Friday.

And, if you happen to be in the Denton area, Scott and band have their release show at Dan’s Silver Leaf on Saturday night!

Static Diary is Scott of Centro-matic

You attach the name of Centro-matic to anything and you can pretty much guarantee that someone at ATH is going to give it some time. So here we are with Static Diary, the project of Scott Danbom and the announcement of a new record. Our first listen has this careful pop approach, moving in slowly over piano lines and carefully plucked guitar strokes. There’s an almost otherworldly feel to the tune, especially with the slight tonal change that comes during the chorus…sort of reminds of Grandaddy in a sense. The self-titled debut album from Static Diary will be released on July 27th via Goliad Media Group.


New Music from Will Johnson

I’ve admittedly supported the work of Will Johnson through his various projects, and now that he’s prepping a new LP, I’m here to make sure you know all about it. This particular single has a bit of a crunchy riff that drives it forward, akin to some of Johnson’s work in Centromatic, but there’s a slight brightness in the way he opens the chords up to listeners, matched by the fragility of his distinctive voice. As the song progresses through its five (plus) minutes there’s a lot going on beneath the main mix, but I always come back to just how powerfully emotive Will’s voice is. Can’t wait for you all to hear Hatteras Night, a Good Luck Charm on March 24th when Undertow releases it unto the world.

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Show Preview: Centro-Matic @ Red 7 (9/19)


Date 9/19/13
Location Red 7
Doors 9pm
Tickets $13 @ Red 7

What more could we possibly say on this website about the always underrated veteran rockers Centro-matic?  We have continually made it well known that we adore this band and any intelligent music fan should make it out to their shows when they play around town.  Thursday night at Red 7 is yet another opportunity to enjoy this always tight and energetic live show on the cheap (only $13!!).  Joining Will and crew on stage are Houstonians Buxton and local boys The Rite Flyers.


Download: Centro-matic – Flashes and Cables [MP3]



Show Preview: Centro-matic @ Frank (6/7)


Date 6/7/13
Location Frank
Doors 9pm
Tickets $12 @ Ticketfly

My apologies first off for the late notice on this show, but we deem it necessary to keep you informed on great shows despite our lack of timeliness.  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss our highly anticipated show by veterans and always underrated Texans Centro-matic.  These guys have been doing their thing for a long time and it’s hard to believe the amount of music they now have to choose from in the live setting.  Opening support is provided by locals Kingdom of Suicide Lovers.  Don’t miss out.


Download: Centro-matic – Flashed and Cables [MP3]

Molina & Johnson – s/t

molinajohnsoncoverRating: ★★★★½

You had to know this was coming; you had to know that a combination of these two men could lead you to nothing but greatness.  Jason Molina and Will Johnson live two separate lives.  One man, Jason, fronts Magnolia Electric Co, while the other hangs out in Texas and fronts Centromatic, not to mention his own solo stuff under the name, surprisingly, Will Johnson.  United, they have risen above their individual prowess and united to make a conglomerate of sad-bastard music that surpasses most everything else that came our way this year, in regards to that particular genre at least.

When you first hear “Twenty Cycles to the Ground” you immediately feel the comfort of home. Will Johnson‘s voice always sounds like your aged father singing on the back porch with his acoustic guitar in his hand.  At the same time, the warmth of Molina accents the throatier moments from Johnson.  Such a natural harmonization could not be imagined in this mind.

And for the larger part of this album, you encounter such beautiful moments time and time again.  “Almost Let You In” sees the two gents casually trading vocal duties over gentle piano structures and simple strumming of acoustic elements. There is such a clarity in the music that can only come from its simplicity, leading the listeners to the height of audial enlightenment; such as it is when the two combine near the end of the song, just as the piano begins to carry you away.

You are not very likely to find anything overtly beautiful and fanciful in this album.  It seems steeped in a sense of melancholy, which is mostly due to the instrumentation.  Yet, despite the down-trodden mood simulated by the instrumentation, nothing is as enchanting as Will Johnson walking quietly through his songs, with throaty vocals intact, pushing you to the edge of your bed, grasping, no, hanging, on every last syllable that he emits. The light in this album comes largely from Molina, however.

Take, for example, “The Lily and The Brakeman,” one of the songs that only goes to Molina. There is a different emotional appeal in his vocal delivery, and as it yanks on your heartstrings, it also seems to soothe you just a bit more than his counterpart.  This is precisely why this album is such a wonderful collection of songs.  There exists a perfect juxtaposition between the warble of Johnson and the calm delivery of Molina, both captivating, and both working together in unison. Together, they’ve created an album that seems born of the past, only to live in the current landscape.

Not a moment on this album is really discardable; not a one. Perhaps the off moments will be off-putting to casual listeners, but once you immerse yourself in the waters of Molina & Johnson, you’ll feel as if you’ve been washed in one of the most masterful collaborations.  Do yourself a favor and get lost in the world of these two, as you’re likely to never want to leave.


Download: Molina & Johnson – Almost Let You In [MP3]

Will Johnson @ Space 12 (9/12)


Date 9/12/09
Location Space 12
Doors 7pm
Tickets $12 From Undertow

We here at ATH are long time fans of Will Johnson and his work in and out of Denton band Centro-matic.  We say this because Will is making another stop in Austin at Space 12 on Saturday night and we think you should check it out.  If you aren’t familiar with Space 12, it’s a non profit community center on the east side focusing on bringing the arts to the east side.  Opening support will be provided by Liz Durrett.

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/will-johnson-closing-down-my-house.mp3]

Download: Will Johnson – Closing Down My House [MP3]

Centro-matic @ The Parish (5/15)

centro-matic-460Centro-matic and Will Johnson get all kinds of coverage on this site so we will of course be alerting you every time the Denton, TX band makes it through town.  Friday evening Will and the boys will be making a stop at the Parish downtown along with Monahans and locals Future Cloud and RadarThe Parish should be an ideal venue to see such an underrated and talented band.  Doors are at 8pm/music at 9.  Tickets can be bought online now for $14.

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/centromatic_flashes_and_cables.mp3]

Download: Centro-matic – Flashed and Cables [MP3]

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