Monday, November 1, 2010

Secret Message Machine- Abandoned Children

Secret Message Machine is Michael Barrett from here in Greensboro, NC. His music is arty, but not too arty. Poppy, but not too poppy. Serious, but not all that serious. It doesn't conform to any genre or trend but remains accessible. It's homemade and lo-fi but sounds warm and clear. It's difficult to describe in short but holy shit does it get under your skin. Few musicians with this much talent and individuality can remain so modest, and regrettably unknown.
This album is a collection of outtakes from around the time of "Giants Madmen and Ghosts," which, as far as I know, he only gave to a handful of friends. Some tracks are more experimental, some are more bare bones than what ends up on his albums, a great Guided By Voices cover (many tracks here remind me of lo-fi GBV), but all are endearing and stimulating to the imagination.
Some of you may think that odds and ends collections aren't the best place to start with any band, but if this is the stuff that got cut, imagine how good the albums are.
Taking a chance on a SMM album is a chance well worth taking.
More to come...

More at:

A track from the newest (and ridiculously great) album, "Orphanville," which you can buy or stream at

A live solo performance

I must admit that the first time Michael played me some of his songs, I immediately offered my services to be in a live version, and still do play bass in the live band. BUT, since I had no part in the writing or recording of any SMM song I can thereby praise the records this highly and not be a self-serving bastard.

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