Everything old is new again. Bands like Earth, Dungen, Black Mountain, and countless others are creating dark, organic, psychedelic works. And The Secret Machines is one of the bands that were ahead of the curve, pioneering the "new" sound eight years ago.
In 2000, this Dallas power trio, which then consisted of the Brandon and Benjamin Curtis brothers and Josh Garza dropped one of the best retro albums of the last ten years. Now Here Is Nowhere was simply awesome. Then Ben Curtis left at around the time the band released the disappointing Ten Silver Drops. I don’t know if the brothers had been fighting or what, but
“Drops” was . . . Boring.
But now they’re back. They’ve been dropped from Warner Brothers, who refuse to put money into a band without a proven track record, and picked up by the independent, and smart folks at World’s Fair group.
The self-titled album is kind of a relaunch. It’s easily as ambitious as their first album, but it’s
retro in a different way. If the first one recalled heavy spacerock of the 1970s, this album is closer to another band’s relaunch: Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason. It’s soaring, heavy, huge, and ominous, but it doesn’t have a lot of screaming at the universe. This makes it a very tough album to digest. For example, the 10+ minute long closing track, “The Fire Is Waiting,” sounds like late-era Metallica or early-ear Sabbath, only without the blazing solos,
with epic crawl and mystic, swirling percussion. The song creeps forward, in no hurry, but ultimately explodes into a six-minute noisefest of arena rock. Benjamin Curtis isn’t back, but he’s no longer missed. What an amazing record!
As I listen to the album for the second time, I’m starting to hanker for more crunchy psychedelia. Any interest out there in a big modern psych post?
After the tour dates, check out the bonus MP3s and drop a comment if the answer is yes.
Atomic Heels-Secret Machines
Oct 16 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Oct 17 - Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
Oct 18 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Oct 20 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
Oct 21 - Montreal, QC @ Les Saints
Oct 22 - Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
Oct 24 - Chicago, IL @ Metro*
Oct 25 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre*
Oct 27 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre*
Oct 28 - Aspen, CO @ Belly Up*
Oct 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ Key Club*
Nov 01 - San Diego, CA @ Belly Up*
Nov 03 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent*
Nov 05 - Portland, OR @ Berbati’s Pan*
Nov 06 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos*
Nov 07 - Vancouver, BC @ Richards on Richards*
Nov 09 - Calgary, AB @ SAIT Polytechnic^
Nov 10 - Saskatoon, SK @ Louis’ Pub^
Nov 11 - Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret^
Nov 14 - London, ON @ Call the Office^
Nov 15 - Ottawa, ON @ Babylon^
Flowers In the Rain (The Move Cover)-The Kaiser Chiefs
Breathe (Pink Floyd cover)-The Shins