Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 08:00

Hear and Now: Stream the new album 'Scorpion' by Will Johnson (of Centro-matic)

Hear and Now: Stream the new album 'Scorpion' by Will Johnson (of Centro-matic) Matt Pence
Written by Roy Kasten
Rate this item
(3 votes)

Audio for this feature is no longer available. Browse all Hear and Now features.

In the eight years since his last solo release, Will Johnson, leader of Centro-matic, has been far from idle. "Scorpion" is the sound of a prolific songwriter digging deep inside for more.

Along with his ongoing work for Centro-matic -- last year's "Candidate Waltz" was a career record -- Johnson has taken to painting (delightful baseball-themed portraits) and recording (and touring) with New Multitudes, the Woody Guthrie project that also features Anders Parker, Jay Farrar and Yim Yames (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket).

For "Scorpion," Johnson stayed close to his home of Denton, Texas, an unassuming college town on the northern outskirts of Dallas. Working with Centro-matic bandmate Matt Pence, Johnson gets a sound that will be familiar to fans of his solo work: it's largely acoustic, spare at first listen, and then revealing more and more sounds, fleeting and surprising and mysterious, in the spaces between the guitar, piano and voice. Along with Pence, Johnson enlisted the multi-talented Scott Danbom of Centro-matic, Howard Draper of Okkervil River and Mikey Kapinus of Magnolia Electric Company. Together they spent five days getting as close to the secret soundtrack one imagines plays through the soft-voiced Johnson's head. It's quiet and drifting at one moment, then violent and lurching the next. And it's always luminous.

In contrast to Johnson's recent work, "Scorpion" was written and recorded with notable spontaneity, with some songs composed in the studio. Rather than resulting in unfinished fragments, the songs -- especially opener "You Will Be Mine, Here" the title track and closing track "Vehicular and True" -- sound like complete expressions, needing sometimes nothing more than Johnson's guitar and echo-drenched voice, doubled and tripled, to tell their personal stories. Johnson has never been a linear songwriter or traditional storyteller; his songs riff on rhymes and melodies and surprising diction, and yet they never come off as random. They always sound and feel natural and new.

Breathe aloud, release
Sing a new world hymn

And that's just what Johnson does on this poised and poignant album.

"Scorpion" will be released on September 11, 2012 on the Undertow Music Collective label.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-crowd.jpg

KDHX Recommends

May
Thursday
07

Midwest Mayhem presented by KDHX

KDHX proudly presents the 10th Midwest Mayhem, KDHX’s biggest party of the year, sprawling across 600,000 square feet of the famed City Museum. Tons of bands and DJs are scheduled to perform, as well as other wild...


May
Friday
08

New Music Circle presents Tim Berne's Snakeoil

New York-based alto saxophonist Tim Berne has long been regarded as one of the Downtown scene’s most forward thinking bandleaders. Active in New York since 1974, Berne has fostered the creative talent of subsequent...


May
Saturday
09

Brunch at the Stage: JD Hughes

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


Online Users

0 users and 14479 guests online
Sign in essaywriter with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook