_dec 17, 2003 // go*machine show preview
"On Christmas break from their respective institutions of higher learning, the members of Pico Vs. the Island Trees will hit the stage of The Lincoln Theatre for a CD release party on January 4[sic]. The disc, though, will not be available from Raleigh's Deep South Records until February 18. International Orange - featuring Robert Sledge, who also makes a guest appearance on the Pico record - will open, along with Chapel Hill's excellent Go*Machine."
~Grayson Currin, the Independent Weekly
_oct 12, 2003 // go*machine / prayers & tears preview
"This week, The Buzz is all about GO MACHINE, and although I enjoyed the band on stage this weekend in Johnson City, you can appreciate their eclectic, original style online and enjoy a lot more than the music.
It's no secret that technology is turning the music business upside down and despite the woes about "file sharing," the Internet is an artist's most useful tool to sell an image, get the music out and develop a fan base.
GO MACHINE is a four-piece band from Chapel Hill, N.C., that has a great Web site - the site shares complete de tails about the band, photos, interviews, music clips and more. Their newsletter and e-mail efforts are two of the reasons we decided to go to Johnson City and catch the band at a new venue on Main Street, Heather's Hideaway.
Before we headed to the club, we visited the band's Web site at gomachinemusic.com. We downloaded a few songs, watched the new video to "Doppelganger" and browsed other details about the band in its online journal. We absorbed all the media about the band before we left and were excited to see the performance. Their music is un usual and unlike anything we've heard on stage in the region.
Jeremy Portwood is the drummer for GO MACHINE, and when we arrived in downtown JC, he was outside Heather's. I recognized him from the Web site and talked about the band and its tour that began the night before in Knoxville. They have been playing together for several years and are just starting a 10-day tour that ends up in the Midwest before heading back home.
Heather's Hideaway recently reopened in the old Hyper link Internet Cafe couple of doors down from Gatsby's. The venue itself has some work to do. The band is in a corral and I felt like we were in a deli, not a live music venue. Heather's didn't have a beer license yet, so we continued our conversation with Jeremy at Gatsby's.
"There is a lot of diversity in our music," Jeremy told us as we watched college football on TV at Gatsby's. "All the guys in the band have lots of influences and that works its way out in the music."
We first heard GO MACHINE this past summer, when the band opened for Green Rode Shotgun at the original Hide away venue. I was amazed at their haunting vocals, the musicianship, the instruments and the musical devices they presented with their music. Together, they construct mesmerizing songs with odd time signatures and third world harmonies.
On stage, the band delivers everything the Web site promises, too, and if asked to describe their sound, I would compare them to Radiohead and King Crimson. Their performance was confident, electric and spellbinding!
Treat yourself to this hypnotic band and their Web site experience. Be sure to check out the video to the song "Doppelganger." This is one of the best underground videos we've seen among the local scene and you'll also be able to download their music and decide what you think about the band.
Heather's Hideaway continues to bring great bands to the region. Our experiences have treated us to some extraordinary new sounds and we hope they continue their survey of the regional underground scene. We trust that they will also continue to work on the venue and we'll look forward to coming back soon. You can check out Heather's schedule online at ahideaway.com.
New technologies allow bands to record their own music, sound samples of anything imaginable and package a product like never before. It's not that the music is any better, but now more than ever it'' easy for a band to jump in to the mainstream.
We're not forecasting the future for GO MACHINE, but we wish them the best. Enjoy them online or onstage. You can drop the band a line and sign up for their e-mail list too. They'll be glad to keep you in the loop."
~David Cate, Go Tri Cities
_oct 12, 2003 // go*machine review
"Hats off to Texas for sending the four Dallas boys that form GO MACHINE, one of the area's most creative indie rock acts by a mile, our way. Imagine Roger Miller collaborating with Johnny Greenwood, The Dust Brothers and Beck Hansen. Daniel Hart, former violinist for The Polyphonic Spree, is an instrumental wizard, shifting seamlessly from the violin to turntables to the guitar in a few numbers, and Alex Lazara perpetually wows virgin ears with his world of Theremin and keyboards. With tunes that indicate scholarly attention to The Beatles' "White Album," 80's pop, and fundamental hip-hop, these guys are on the vanguard of the local eclectic."
~Grayson Currin, the Technician
_oct 12, 2003 // prayers & tears review
"When would-be pundits mistake Conor Oberst for "the new Dylan," they fail to recognize one of Oberst's foibles as one of Dylan's constant strong points-the amazing capacity to cut to the quick of the song without fail or hesitation. Indeed, Oberst may have some of the best songwriting ideas (both lyrically and structurally) of anyone not born before Vietnam, but his genius often gets buried behind his own pretentiousness, production and verbosity. Perry Wright, the unnervingly brilliant youngster behind The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers, learned from Dylan, delivering on Bright Eyes' biggest misses. Signed to Bu Hanan Records (the flagship of GO MACHINE), Wright has the smarts and the musical chops to do something remarkable. Screw Omaha."
~Grayson Currin, the Technician
_jul 25, 2003 // go*machine - Look to The review
"A Radiohead comparison means about as much as a Beatles comparison (i.e. not a lot), and as lazy as it is to issue one, I'm going to have to go ahead and liken GO MACHINE to the world's most critically acclaimed rock band. Now let's remember, a Radiohead comparison can embody one of a number of things, so don't put GO MACHINE in your little box just yet. It could signal a moody, studio programming happy modern rock band, it might mean we've got a bunch of Bends-era soaring Brit-rockers on our hands, and there's also a strong possibility we'd be talking about an intriguing electronic act. GO MACHINE is in fact none of those, though at their core they remain, like Radiohead, an experimental pop group. Sometimes one of GO MACHINE's merry-go-round of vocalists hits a Yorke-ian level of tortured crooning, and "Many Times" goes through the same soft-to-bellowing-to-waning journey as "Exit Music For a Film", but the similarities lie largely in the spirit and intent of the music, and perhaps a bit in the searching, personal lyrics.
Although Look to the packs a modest six songs, it's hard to imagine this Chapel Hill foursome putting out a better first album. Their alarming fusion of pop styles is stark and nearly shocking in their first song, "Great Northwest"; the opening uses a mildly mechanized beat, turntable scratching and samples to hide the hayseed guitar that's strumming away in the background. The guitar eventually catapults to the forefront of the soundscape, with a sharp fiddle joining the fray for a riotous sing-along brimming with more rustic Americana than a barnyard field full of rusted farm implements. When the disco drumming kicks in and a synthesized pulse bounces alongside the words, we're treated to a surreal but highly listenable moment of genre-defying genius.
As previously mentioned, "Many Times" sports a steady Radiohead sensibility, though GO MACHINE works through the song with their very own folky ethos. All in all, it's the album's most accessible song. "Doppleganger" follows with more daring ingenuity -- violin, drum machine, theremin and just the right touch of soul, like an eclectic rock song as seen through the eyes of Justin Timberlake or Michael Jackson. It also marks the only time that the country tint is absent, though there's still that aching, searching spirit to contend with. "Ghost in the Machine"'s lyrics are still concerned with filling voids and seeing things in a new way, with a bed of programmed noise and moody guitar plucking that excellently frames this troubled existence. As is often the case on Look to the, GO MACHINE moves their music in an ambitious, dreamy direction while expressing a grounded anxiety, a bit like Grandaddy without the technology-based themes. More expansive goodness abounds on "Red Balloon", where the disco percussion returns to usher in a funky, sample-ridden mid-song break, though the song's symphonic strings and ride-off-into-the-sunset hook are not to be missed either. "What Can You Do (But Keep Movin' On)" closes the disc with the choral bravado and world-weary exhortation of a good Negro spiritual.
With well-received discs by Radiohead, Grandaddy and Broken Social Scene already making this a great year for brave pop music, GO MACHINE's sad-eyed country-electro-rock fusion should not be overlooked. This is excellent stuff that doesn't deserve to be underground for much longer."
~Philip Buchnan, Splendid
_jun 25, 2003 // go machine - Look to The review
"GO MACHINE is four people. GO MACHINE is an Army.
Imagine how Radiohead might sound if they came out of North Carolina and had a violinist.
I wasn't sure what to think when I started listening to track one. It starts off with slow dialog samples and scratching records while a down-home country guitar gets into a hillbilly groove. Vocals enter, and you realize that this is a straightforward country song. When the fiddle joins in, you prepare for lyrics about the Devil going down to Georgia. Then, at the three minute mark, the music switches seamlessly into a disco bassline and drumbeat ? but the vocals and that crazy fiddle are still in full-tilt country mode. I went from thinking that this was going to suck to thinking that this was pure genius in just a few minutes. GO MACHINE had to win me over, but once they did, I was sold.
This album is headphone candy. Apparently all four members are multi-instrumentalists with studio engineering experience. This doesn't sound like four guys recording on their own. It sounds like a thirty-member musical collective in a state-of-the-art studio, pissing away a huge record advance and loving it.
GO MACHINE are obviously influenced by a lot of different styles of music. It's impossible to describe them without hyphens. They've got that violin. They've got stuttering electronic beats. They've got a group sing-a-long. They sound like an indie-rock band, then they sound like an electronic band, then they sound like a country band... They even start singing in a different language in the middle of "Red Balloon," before switching back to English, and you hardly even notice - that's how smooth the transition is. The point here is that they bring all this crazy stuff to the table - stuff that shouldn't work, but somehow does - and still make it sound heartfelt.
This CD is over the 30 minute mark, which ought to classify it as an album. Then again, there's only six songs, which screams EP. I don't care what you want to call it. It's brilliant. Get this."
~Jason Erb, Left Off the Dial
_jun 25, 2003 // go*machine review
"GO MACHINE is hypnotic! From the first note to the last, this band is truly an eclectic soundscape. Some of the early references described the band as Radiohead meets Wilco, but I'll go one step further and sprinkle in a little King Crimson and Ambient Hip Hop to the reference point. Gomachine is truly a unique elixir for some of the most interesting modern music I've heard from this side of the coast.
The band's vocal arrangements are sublime. ...when you see them live, the voices are not only intriguing, they are haunting.
From the stage, youlll see guitar, bass, a violin, unique keyboards and a Theremin. I was incredibly impressed with their drummer, Jeremy Portwood ...even the best session players would have been impressed with his timing and imagination.
Treat yourself to one of the most intriguing artistic experiences on the music scene today."
~David Cate, Go Tri Cities
_jun 25, 2003 // go*machine in review
"Though they may not quite agree, the Triangle quartet of GO MACHINE sounds as much like legendary Vermont act Phish as any band trying to make it at the moment. Make no mistake though, the GO MACHINE - which includes Daniel Hart (of Polyphonic Spree notoriety)-- is no jam band. But the debut EP from these ex-Austin [sic] boys moves with the same Talking Heads-meets-White Album bounce and mystery as "Billy Breathes." Like Anastasio and Co., GO MACHINE is epically unafraid of sonic risk, implanting turntable, Theremin, and violin escapades among breaks running amuck within scattered, scat-riffed jive in two languages that break loose amidst refrains that are almost too memorable, leaving one ... absolutely breathless!"
~Grayson Currin, the Independent Weekly
_aug 11, 2003 // david karsten daniels in review
"David Karsten Daniels has a doleful, lethargic grace underscored by a variety of approaches from a sturdy thrumming undercurrent of
electronics, washes of psych folk acoustic to sparse, minimalist guitar. The tone recalls Drag City's '90s roster with echoes of Bill
Callahan, Will Oldham and The Silver Jews in Daniels' mournful confessional elegies. There's a scrapbook/journal-ish stream of
consciousness style that makes his latest album, Angles (Bu Hanan), an especially intimate portrait of a break-up.
Similar to: Smog, Radar Brothers, Royal City"
~Grayson Currin, the Independent Weekly
_jun 15, 2003 // go*machine review
"GO MACHINE - Chapel Hill band deconstructs sound using ambient scapes and rhythm adjustments incorporating turntables, violin, computers, Theremin, doumbek, accordion and more. It works in a pop contortionist manner, while keeping melody in check. Damn intriguing."
~Samir Shukla, Creative Loafing Charlotte
_may 20, 2003 // go*machine review
"...Next up were GO MACHINE, one of those happy discoveries everyone looks forward to at W.E. Fest ? a Chapel Hill group who turn laptops, turntables, accordion, violin, a Theremin (!) and a few things I didn't recognize into a quirky yet danceable art-rock mishmash. They were so good that a lot of people skipped the next night's WE Fest to go see them again at another downtown club venue."
~Jim Testa, Jerseybeat
next year: 2004
previous year: 2002