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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Centro-Matic
Flashes and Cables
Misra Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Do you like American music?" asked the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano way back in 1991. As Mr. Gano ascertained 13 years ago, when Bush was president and we were at war in Iraq (thanks, Billy Crystal), you should like American music, especially when it is so unabashedly, uncompromisingly, revealingly American. Centro-Matic's latest EP, Flashes and Cables, clearly shows its country of origin- warts, crags, scratchy voices and all.

Will Johnson creates six reasons to love Denton, Texas, in this little record full of outtakes, outcasts and reinterpretations from their last full-length, Love You Just the Same. Of course there are the Jeff Tweedy comparisons, of course there are the Eric Bachmann comparisons, but what about the Boss or My Morning Jacket? Yeah, they get those too. The title track appears in two forms here, original sad-rocker and stripped down and experimental "Relax/Recline" version, and when Johnson sings, "Nobody told us/ the bastards were here," it's hard not to conjure images of whiskey soaked college dorm rooms, sprawled out over twin beds, listening to All the Nations Airports... but perhaps that reveals too much (about certain writers).

"Why They Are Playing So Loudly" offers up pretty, almost jazz-infused chord changes, and on this song, and throughout the entire EP, fuzzy guitar solos that bring Silkworm to mind resonate without pretension. This is a record that doesn't have to try very hard to feel familiar and worn, through its epic and sometimes sweeping motel room rock anthems. "Infernoesque Grand" collapses into the couch for a bit and scratches the dog moping nearby, as tinkling pianos and brazenly blown horns drift along the underbelly of the distortion guitars and bombast drums.

For the finicky buyer wary of EPs, four videos are included on the CD as well, ranging from a "take this job and shove it" narrative ("Janitorial On Channel Fail") to the requisite lo-fi super-8 tour and live performance footage. Movies for the Centro-Matic completist in you. But back to American music: Centro-Matic are a band that just feels right, purveyors of the rock philosophy that traditional instrumentation can still innovate to move.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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