Vermont

Opportunity

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This six-track EP is a fine introduction to two excellent, often mellow bands: Milwaukee's Vermont and Denton, TX's Centro-Matic, with each band contributing a pair of originals plus a cover of one of the other's songs. Featuring both the drummer and singer/guitarist of the Promise Ring, Vermont sounds like a countrified, chilled-out version of their day band; their innate sense of melody shines through on two breezy originals, "Lil Blonde Hairs" and the terrific "What to Do," as well as on their version of Centro-Matic's "Say Something/95 Frowns." Centro-Matic's three songs are slightly higher-fi, although all of these tracks could have been -- and probably were -- recorded at home. Their take on Vermont's "Old Blue" is great, using a drum machine and keyboards to reinterpret the song without changing its heart at all -- even when singer Will Johnson improvises a bit of Prince's "Purple Rain" halfway through the song's seven minutes. Centro-Matic's two originals are good, too; "Strong Sentences Within" is strongly reminiscent of the Grifters.

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