Spotlight: Secret Machines

Midnight, Red Eyed Fly

Spotlight: Secret Machines

"New York is a weird city," says Secret Machines guitarist Ben Curtis, explaining why a recent recommendation in The New York Times' weekly "Pop & Jazz Guide" means less then you'd think.

"It seems like everyone gets in the Times somehow. Either you fall off the subway platform or your band has a gig. It's gonna happen one way or another."

Even so, there's no discounting the momentum behind the Secret Machines' Warner Bros. debut, Now Here Is Nowhere. Whether you classify the trio of Dallas expatriates' singularly loud and ambient soundscapes somewhere between Pink Floyd and Wilco (as the Times did) or between La Dusseldorf and the Band (their bio), what's got lips flapping is that nobody else right now sounds like them. Equally refreshing is that the Secret Machines know full well that originality is often more curse then blessing when it comes to selling albums.

"At the end of the day, the question is whether we can sell this product to people who could care less about Can, Neu!, and underground German music," says drummer Josh Garza. "But I think we can. I think this album is our way of saying you can do both – you can get far out, yet also let people dip their hands in and shake their asses a little."

Or a lot. There are moments on Now Here Is Nowhere funky enough to evoke John Bonham sitting in with the Flaming Lips, but there are also plenty of multilayered and oddly sculpted frequencies and pulses – wacky studio flourishes that already have fans more than a little curious about what happens next.

"Before we recorded, people said, 'Shit. How ya gonna record this?' Now the very same people are saying, 'Can you do this live?'" says Garza. "Not a problem. This is what we do. Put us in a studio, we'll do that. Put us in front of people, we'll do that. I'm not sure why that confuses people. It seems natural enough to us."

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Secret Machines, Josh Garza, Ben Curtis, Now Here Is Nowhere, Warner Bros.

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