I was feeling a little down at the news that the mighty Centro-matic were over in Europe (small print: Spain only) and not coming to the UK. So, I decided to indulge myself with a marathon Centro-matic session, starting with the still-incredible-after-all-these-years Redo The Stacks. A monumental album that calls to mind everyone from Guided By Voices to Nirvana (that's a broad enough spectrum, right?), and by the mid-point I'd decided I wanted to share a bit with some potential Centro-virgins among my Facebook contacts.
My disappointment at not finding anything bar some shaky live clips (great, but always work better when you were there) was suddenly obliterated by a link to a track I hadn't heard of before. Now, it's not unlikely that even the most devoted fan has missed a track or two, since Will Johnson is arguably the most prolific songwriter around - but, wait, this one has a shiny video attached to it and REALLY IS a BRAND NEW CENTRO-MATIC song! What's more, as the supporting Vimeo page claims, it's a pre-cursor to a forthcoming new album, Candidate Waltz, in 2011.
(UPDATE: shortly after finding/posting this, the video became password-protected. I don't have the password. Sorry. Decided to leave the post up to help promote the band...it's not like the whole world is writing about Centro-matic. Maybe a few more will find them here)
Centro-matic: Only In My Double Mind (Candidate Waltz, Spring 2011):
Will's been working even harder lately, and if you managed to get to any Monsters Of Folk shows, you'll recognise him as the 'fifth Beatle' in that project. Big as fan as I am of Jim James and M Ward (we'll leave Conor Oberst out of it...) I was very excited to see Will involved. Such exposure can only bring good things for Centro-matic (and of course South San Gabriel). As well as the MoF shows, he's been on the road and in people's houses with Anders Parker (another 'guest drummer' strand here, but that's for another time): Anders is a truly exceptional performer, songwriter, guitarist and all-round top dude. You should check out his great 'Tell It To The Dust album (Baryon, 2004). Hmmm, I wonder if Will decorated any of the living rooms they played in too?
What of the other guys...?
Scott Danbom has been keeping busy touring with Sarah Jaffe, who's causing a stir touring with Lou Barlow and (soon) Ben Weaver - and coincidentally has this handsome devil in her catchy new video (you have to wait until around 4 minutes in...I swear the guy's been cloned, how can he be in so many places at once?)
Sarah Jaffe: Clementine:
Matt Pence will be taking end-of-year bows when his work on John Grant's tremendous Queen of Denmark is recognised (never was a big Czars fan, but this record's had me in knots since my first listen - and is easily Midlake's best work this year). Oh, and taking great pictures of anything that moves: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missouri_bottom/
I was going to be even-handed and mention Mark Hedman, but I have to come clean and say I don't know what he's been up to... but he's not forgotten :-)
So, no critical commentary on the video: no, I'm too excited for objective analysis and - besides - my computer doesn't get on with Vimeo. Everything's jerky video and stop-start audio, so you'll likely be enjoying the film way more than I can at the moment. Please share this with everyone you know - is that what the kids mean by 'viral'?
And, if you're in or near Spain in the next couple of weeks, fair play to you - you lucky so-and-so's. Send us a postcard eh?