Joy of Speed

What’s up with the lack of four-on-the-floor rock’n’roll in the world these days? To paraphrase James Murhpy, can we sell our turntables and buy back our guitars?

Since I wasn’t around in the 1970s, I can’t imagine what it was like for a real ROCK album to come out. You know, Led Zeppelin IV, or Quadrophenia, or Machine Head, or something like that. But I bet it was exciting to come home and put that needle on the first track, and an epic 9 minute mastodon-of-a-track would crank out of the speakers. Oh, to be 15 years old in 1972. But unfortunately I wasn’t.

But … if you want to hear a full-scale ’70s rawk vibe updated for the 21st century, there is no better place to begin than The Secret Machines. Now, I haven’t kept up with them that much in the last few years but their debut album from 2004 entitled Now Here is Nowhere is quite the prog ROCK album. Imagine if you will a Pink Zeppelin with some Can thrown in. The lyrics are suitably obtuse, the rhythms are motorik, and the drums are positively GIGANTIC. At the time of the debut, the band was basically two brothers (Brandon and Benjamin Curtis, who played bass/keyboards and guitar, respectively) and Josh Garza. Since then, Benjamin has left to find his muse in shoegazer band School of Seven Bells, but the band remains a three-piece with the addition of new guitarist Phil Karnats. In the proud tradition of the three-piece power trio (think Cream or the Police or [choke] Rush), they crank out some high stakes rock music. They are on this world to rock, not to roll, if you know what I mean. All their strengths are on display on this live version of the first track off of their debut, "First Wave Intact," a massive, MASSIVE song, in which all three gentlemen (the original 3) crank out some nasty monolithic riffs to pummel the crowd into submission. Enjoy.

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