Secret Machines - Day 21/Dreaming Of Dreaming [EP]
“Secret Machines stood out with their entrancing combination of propulsive rock ’n’ roll, droning textures and winding arrangements” – The New York Times
“A stylish return for one of the underground’s most cherished acts.” – Under the Radar
“Monolithic space-rock sound from the primal thud of drummer Josh Garza and the hypnotic instrumental textures of brothers Brandon and Benjamin Curtis” – Relix
“The result is a deeply felt production informed by the group’s long-standing love of ambient music, psych-pop, and kinetic, ’70s-style Krautrock.” – All Music
One of the most acclaimed rock bands of the 2000s, Secret Machines helped define the sound of the era, alongside contemporaries Interpol, Spiritualized, and TV on the Radio. Laden with sprawling arrangements occasionally pushing the 9 minute mark, the sound of the band has always been grandiose, and in their 2008 review of the band’s third self-titled album, Pitchfork made comparisons to Machines influences Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Alternately labeled as prog, Curtis and Garza have always been most comfortable with the term “space rock.” “Brandon’s songs and my drumming meld into the sonic landscape that is Secret Machines,” says Garza from his home in Los Angeles. “I think people will be able to hear that immediately.”
A quick history lesson: Secret Machines were born out of Dallas, with the first incarnation consisting of Brandon on vocals, bass and keys, Benjamin Curtis on guitar, and Garza on drums. After two well-received EPs, the band signed to Reprise and dropped their first full length, Now Here Is Nowhere, in 2004, which began their legacy as critical darlings. 2006 brought what many consider their masterpiece, Ten Silver Drops, which won them further critic love and the attention of David Bowie, who became a serious fan and mentor of sorts. In 2007, Benjamin left the band to work full time with School of Seven Bells, but Curtis and Garza charged ahead with their self-titled 2008 LP, with Phil Karnats on guitar. And then…there were crickets on the Secret Machines front, and as time marched on, with no official breakup announcement, fans were left wondering if they’d ever hear from the band again.
“Josh moved to LA, and I got hired to be Interpol’s keyboardist,” recalls Brandon, from his Vermont home. “I started touring, and Secret Machines just got further on the back-burner. Without ever really talking about it, we both just went our separate ways. It feels totally natural and organic that Josh and I are working together again.”
Their fateful reunion wouldn’t happen until years later in 2015, when Garza went to see Cosmicide, a project Brandon originally formed with Benjamin. “Brandon invited me on stage to do a Secret Machines song, and that was the moment that we broke the ice, after drifting from each other for years,” Josh recalls. “We’ve always remained friends, but we needed that moment to spark everything again.” The songs played that evening laid the groundwork for 2020’s Awake in the Brain Chamber, of which the New York Times wrote, “Dreamy harmonies hang in the air without resolving into conventional structures; guitars thrum and crackle with hair-raising energy; crystalline synth lines pierce the noise like spotlights shining through the fog; Garza’s powerful drumming sounds capable of bludgeoning an elephant into submission.”
Following their 2020 release, Secret Machines return with a double-EP of music. Day 21 is a collection of new songs recorded in the early part of 2019 as the finishing touches were being put on the Awake in the Brain Chamber mixes. The songs represent a shift in style, a subtle departure, but ultimately remain fully recognizable as the Secret Machines. The Dreaming of Dreaming EP includes formerly unavailable tracks such as “Daylight (Won’t be Long)” and “Dreaming is Dreaming,” as well as a never-released version of “Dreaming Of Dreaming” featuring legendary Bad Seed, Jim Sclavunos, and underground guitar hero, Peter Mavrogeorgis.
With additional releases planned for the fall, fans of the Secret Machines will be pleased to know that there is still more new music to come. Brandon states, “I’m excited to release this collection of songs as I feel it connects some of the dots between where we were and where we are going”.