Secret Machines Wrap CD

New York trio to release "Nowhere" follow-up next year

July 8, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Although the Secret Machines just released The Road Leads Where It's Led EP last month, the New York City-based trio has already finished recording their next album. The as-yet-untitled follow-up to their breakout debut, Now Here Is Nowhere, is due next year.

The Machines -- bassist/singer Brandon Curtis, guitarist (and brother) Ben Curtis and drummer Josh Garza -- recorded at Allaire Studios in the Catskills in upstate New York. The album will be mixed in London in September with producer Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine). "We have tons more material than we had to choose from for the last record," says Brandon Curtis, "which is a blessing and a curse."

Much of the new material -- including the songs "Lightning Blue Eyes," "Faded Lines" and "Daddy in the Doldrums" -- has been thoroughly road-tested. "We knew we were going to make another record this year, so we took a batch of new songs and performed them pretty regularly," says Curtis. "So they actually were afforded the chance to be developed in a live setting. By the time we got into the studio, it was almost like we were recording songs that we'd already recorded." Another live standard on the new LP is "I Want to Know If It's Still Possible," which features the Band's Garth Hudson on accordion.

While the upcoming full-length features original material, the six-song The Road Leads Where It's Led EP marries a pair of originals with covers of classics, such as a moving rendition of Bob Dylan's "Girl From the North Country," a woozy version on Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" and a glacial take on the Motown staple "Money (That's What I Want)."

"It was good to take a song or structure you don't really have any personal attachment to, except for being a fan of it, and work with that," Curtis explains. "It was very instructive for us in working on our next record -- it opened up the way we approach songs, that state of mind where you can approach the song more as a form and interpret the musical parts and instrumentation with a bit of an objective view."

The Dylan song, in particular, proved a challenge. "On the Nashville Skyline version, he's kind of taking the piss out of it with Johnny Cash," says Curtis. "But when I hear that song, it makes me feel something, a really poignant longing. So it was less about duplicating the artist's original intentions, and more about figuring out what the song means to you and what emotion or image or thought it conveys."

After they wrap their current European tour, the Secret Machines will tour the U.S. with Kings of Leon.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »