The Joup Friday Album: Secret Machines – Now Here Is Nowhere

secretmachines I honestly had no idea what record I was going to write about for today’s Friday Album. Over the last several months, I’ve written and reminisced about so many different albums that are “special” to me on my 35 Albums in 35 Years weekly column, and with the final home stretch of that column now on the horizon, I was at a loss. So, to remedy my situation, I just grabbed a handful of CD’s from the shelf that I haven’t listened to in a long while and started jamming them in my car while driving to and from work. Albums that I forgot all about. Albums that time forgot. Albums I should have been paying more attention to.

It still amazes me how the mind, heart, and soul can react when listening to something again after years of neglect. The music will make you remember old times, relive old memories, and remind you why you loved it in the first place. “First Wave Intact” is the album opener for Dallas band Secret Machines’ debut LP Now Here Is Nowhere. And it’s a beast. I knew I would be writing about it after the first two minutes. First off, there’s that propulsive beat that remains a constant, with little flair, but that just pummels you into submission. You will pay attention for the next 45 minutes. And you will like it.

The first memory to find its way back into my cranium upon relistening to “First Wave Intact” was the first time I actually heard the song. I was still driving my first car at the time, a 1995 Honda Passport that I loved and called “Nigel.” In 2004, “Nigel” was on his last leg with too many mechanical problems to even note, and both my cassette deck and CD player were shot as well. So, I listened to a lot of radio. Being that the majority of Austin radio stations are terrible, I spent most of my time checking out the music on UT’s college radio station, KVRX 91.7, a station I deejayed at long, long ago. That is when I heard Secret Machines’ glorious and bombastic mix of 70’s Krautrock and 90’s space rock. And it went on for nine minutes. And I drove to the record store and bought it that same day.

The rest of the album does not disappoint, keeping with the Krautrock and space rock influences, but with additional dashes of prog, psych, and shoegaze interspersed throughout. “The Leaves Are Gone” is a beautiful, effects-laden ballad, while “Nowhere Again” revives an almost motorik beat for sublime purposes, a section of which resurfaces on album closer and title track, “Now Here Is Nowhere.” It’s driving, and spacey, and wonderful, and the album makes for a fun listen.

Sadly, the band’s guitarist and back-up vocalist Benjamin Curtis (who was also a member of UFOFU, School of Seven Bells, and Tripping Daisy) lost his battle with lymphoma in December of last year. Tragedy aside, the man made some great music, and you should listen to it today. And as always, If you like what you hear, please, please, please buy the album.

 

Shawn, I hate to pull you away from something much more important (your novel), but hit us up with some tunes next Friday if you please.

 

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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