Altered States 

The Secret Machines' Narcotic Bliss

The Secret Machines
Fri June 18
Dante's
1 SW 3rd

"The First time you take acid, or have any kind of a psychedelic experience, from that point on you look at the world a little differently." Brandon Curtis squints his eyes a little as he says this, like a scientist subtly underscoring the tenets of his lesson. The Secret Machines, for whom young Brandon sings and plays bass and keyboards, play post-acid rock--flavored with sorbet-light touches of Flaming Lips frazzle, a never-ending motorik groove they liberated from the Germanic likes of Neu!, and the heaviest kick-drum detonations since John Bonham's gargantuan kit finally fell silent. But this isn't just about the drugs.

"Meditation is a part of it too," he continues. "We're all into self-examination, the processes of the brain. Drugs separate you from your usual point of view, offering a different perspective. It's not necessarily advisable," he grins. "But anything could throw you into that state. Like hearing a groove for 10 minutes--that alters my state every time, with or without chemicals."

"You can't underestimate the mystical impact of the things you don't understand," adds his younger brother, guitarist Benjamin. "Whether it's hearing great music, or a drone that lasts for ages, or having a 9-hour acid trip, or driving for 15 hours straight, no breaks."

Traveling is second nature for them, anyway. Brandon and Benjamin hail from Norman, Oklahoma, and later moved to Dallas; charismatic, hirsute drummer Josh Garza moved to Norman a year after the Curtis boys quit town, later hooking up with them in Dallas. They released a debut EP, September 000, in 2002, showcasing frazzled morsels of Lipsian psychedelia that showed a promise their new album, Now Here Is Nowhere, pays dividends upon. Drawing upon the grooves and Krautrock leanings of their live shows, there are a number of metallic, mantric noiseouts amongst the blissed-out ballads and anthemic rockers. Given that their stark, white-light-drenched concerts are fast becoming the stuff of legend, that's definitely a good thing.

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