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Spree music with Elizabeth Lovria: Centro-matic

Courtesy of Centro-matic

In early July, while most people are gearing up for a long weekend of sun, fireworks, and BBQ gluttony, some of us are scheduling time to see all the great bands touring through the area. For these people, I highly suggest you check out Centro-matic at Mohawk Place on July 1 in support of their new record, Candidate Waltz, which happens to be the band's tenth full-length release. Although this band was not on my playlist prior to the announcement of this show, I can tell you that I find myself easily drawn into their raw and earthy sound. Listening online I feel like a geeky high-schooler again, discovering a new band and then eagerly awaiting the opportunity to tell my other geeky friends about my new find.

Based out of Denton, TX, Centro-matic formed almost accidentally in 1995 as a side project for lead singer Will Johnson (Undertow Orchestra, Baboon, and Monsters of Folk). Described as alt-country or indie rock, Centro-matic is reminiscent of a well-rehearsed garage band from the 90s. It’s the type of music you would use as the soundtrack for a road trip with friends. Similar to Pete Yorn, Centro-matic utilizes the rock formula of lead singer with a soulful (yet often gritty) voice and a steady bass and drum backbone highlighted by guitar work that hearkens the days when guitars dominated the air waves. While the music is what pulls you in, it’s the lyrics that will keep you coming back for more. Unlike other songwriters who use their songs to tell stories to an audience, Centro-matic’s Will Johnson uses lyrics to paint pictures for the listener to decipher. By placing the listener inside a visual piece of music, the listener can lose themselves within the guitar hooks and drum beats rather than simply being a bystander. With Candidate’s Waltz’s first single “Only in my Double Mind”, the drums hit the ground like a long distance runner’s feet on the pavement, guiding the listener along through a four minute ride as, one by one, the other musical puzzle pieces fall into place.

For those of us tired of bands using extra flash to entertain, a Centro-matic show is cleansing. With their impressive music, vocals, and intelligent, prosaic lyrics, the band entertains the audience without the unnecessary bling. Centro-matic employs the stripped down band concept to achieve what they have set out to do— wow their loyal audience. Sometimes haunting and at others exuberant, this band, with its simplistic approach, encourages the audience to enjoy the music for what it’s worth without distraction.



Mohawk Place

47 East Mohawk St, Buffalo. 855-3931


Elizabeth Lovria is a graduate of Lake Shore Central Schools and Syracuse University. She resides in Hamburg with her husband and their daughter.


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