The Secret Machines

Caryn Ganz

Whenthe Secret Machines relocated from Dallas to New York, the experimentaltrio of '70s-rock aficionados lived together in a one-room Brooklynapartment that doubled as their rehearsal space. But nobody gripedabout bunking Brady Bunch-style. "We were our own bestfriends," says guitarist Benjamin Curtis. "Just sitting on our beds,out of our minds on mushrooms together."

On their shape-shifting debut, Now Here Is Nowhere,the band harness Benjamin's psychedelic noise to Josh Garza'sbone-crushing drumming. Like the group's live sets (all rock, no talk),the album is a mind-bending odyssey, where lengthy, spacey tracks flowinto propulsive, riff-heavy mini-anthems.

Each song is marked with a truly one-of-a-kind sonicimprint--the group hired producer Jeff Blenkinsopp (a former engineerfor Pink Floyd), who rewired their gear to achieve otherworldlyeffects. Benjamin's brother, keyboardist/bassist/vocalist Brandon,explains the group's philosophy: "Sometimes the knob doesn't go up to11--but it could, if you had a soldering iron."

The close-knit threesome's huge sound is matched only by apropensity for big thinking--just ask about their moniker and you'llget a treatise on technology and modern life. "I think we're coming tothe realization that we're really boring guys," says Brandon. "We justtalk about esoteric, weird German bands." Benjamin brainstorms a quicksolution: "Maybe we should get our asses kicked by the White Stripes."

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