Will Johnson’s “Swan City Vampires”


Joshua Daniel

Rest in peace goes to Centromatic,the Denton, Texas, band is a staple in my record collection. Last year the band decided to call it quits. I was heartbroken, though hopeful for future projects from members of the band. Will Johnson, the singer for Centromatic had released a couple of solo records in the past and has just released his newest record “Swan City Vampires”.
“Swan City Vampires” is a refinement on Centromatic and other Will Johnson solo material. The album opens up with an instrumental piano piece featuring a heavy reverberated noise. It’s a new styling for Johnson who has often played it safe with acoustic guitars and voice only on previous albums. The 2nd track heads straight into classic guitar and vocals you can come to expect.
Will Johnson is best known as a songwriter. He is somewhat of a hidden gem in a field of songwriters though. This year, he has benefited from a reissue campaign of his previous 2 albums on vinyl. Both albums were particularly amazing in their own right. “Swan City Vampires” does not disappoint. If you are looking for strong songwriting you can always count on Will Johnson. A lot of the songs remind me of the Molina / Johnson collaborative record that came out years ago. “Nameless but a Lover” is my absolute favorite track on this album and draws obvious influence from a shared favorite artist of both Johnson and I “Songs: Ohia”. The dingy blues riffs along with moon references in lyrics show a nod to a friend that passed to early. Another classically beautiful styling is the track “Multnomah”. The soft acoustic guitar and melody is on point.
I highly recommend “Swan City Vampires” and both his other reissues “Vultures Await” and “Murder of Tides”. If you enjoy folk rock or singer songwriters, be advised Will Johnson is on top of his games and only stands to continue to gain more fans. Silver Platters has all these records in stock on my accord, and really please just buy them.