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Secret Machines

Secret Machines gets identified with the recent New York City rock and roll resurgence; fair enough, but the band members cut their teeth in Dallas, TX, and it's there that the direction for Secret Machines' acclaimed debut EP September 000 and their subsequent album Now This Is Nowhere was set. Like a number of interesting bands working in the early years of the new millennium, Secret Machines are very interested in capturing a stadium-sized sense of epic bombast without the self-indulgence and wankery associated with so many '70s and '80s arena acts. If you're looking for rock history refracted through the lens of Secret Machines' big yet oddly intimate sound, you can find shades of everyone from Pink Floyd to U2 to The Bunnymen (the fact that so many young bands are going back to Echo and his motley crew is a happy thing indeed), with ample doses The Verve's anguish and glamour and Mercury Rev's swirling neo-psychedelicism. You certainly can't pick one or two touchpoints. The compelling tension at the heart of the group's songs is between their tendency to open immense spaces with a massive, explosive rhythm section and their fondness for conceptual dreaminess.

Secret Machines got going formally in 2000, but really got people's attention in 2002 after recording the six-song September 000 at Califone's Clava Studios. This Ace Fu Records release leaned towards jammy psychedelic gestures, an inclination that shows up also on their 2004 debut album Now This Is Nowhere, but is complemented by a considerably higher quotient of big, clattering rock swagger (the title's echoing of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is indicative of the band's classicism). The album got extra attention because of Warner/Reprise's groundbreaking marketing campaign, which involved selling the album online months before its actual street date. Now This Is Nowhere saw proper release in May 2004, immediately joining albums by The Liars, TV on the Radio, and The Walkmen as the year's most exciting NYC rock releases.