Music » Critics' Picks

Centro-matic with the Deathray Davies and Shelby

Friday, Sept. 7; Hi-Pointe

by

comment
Denton, Texas, indie-rockers Centro-matic have, over the course of their relatively short career, crafted some of today's most interesting and rewarding quiet rock. Striking a perfect balance between strong songwriting and creatively experimental arrangements, their albums -- the latest of which is Distance and Clime, on Idol Records -- never fail to surprise and challenge. Even after repeated plays, new wrinkles in the songs reveal themselves. Similar to experimental risk-takers Calexico, there's a uniquely American sense of lonesome desert in Centro-matic's sound, of wide-open spaces that are best filled with weirdness. Singer/keyboardist Will Johnson brings a strong Southern drawl to his vocals, which have the raspy, whiskey-soaked rawness of Jay Farrar or Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers singer Eric Bachmann. This may explain why the band is occasionally lumped in with the alt-country crowd, despite the utter lack of anything resembling traditional country in their music. Centro-matic, though truly resembling no one but themselves, should appeal to fans of other American adventurers such as Granddaddy, the aforementioned Calexico or Canyon. St. Louis' Shelby open the show with their clean, pretty indie emo-pop. Their newest recordings are hook-filled state-of-the-art Vagrant Records-style punk, reminiscent of a full-band Dashboard Confessional or Alkaline Trio, minus the distortion pedals.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.