THE MUSIC MACHINE - (Turn On) The Music Machine LP (Remastered/Stereo/180gr)
Sixties garage-rock history is littered with one-off albums and standalone singles whose creators burned bright before fading into obscurity. Collectively, they’re now the invigorating evidence of a vibrant, short-lived scene that paved the way for punk while also offering a bratty tangent to the burgeoning psychedelic movement. The Sonics, the Monks, the Seeds – all namechecked by the garage-rock agitators that followed in their wake, it took the most committed fans to do the detective work and discover more about the musicians behind the sounds. When the Music Machine released their single “Talk Talk,” in November 1966, a month ahead of their debut album, (Turn on) the Music Machine, they immediately took their place alongside these garage-rock legends.
Two minutes of pummeled drums, fuzzed-up guitar, head-spinning organ and frontman Sean Bonniwell’s snarling vocals - “Can’t seem to talk about/The things that bother me/Seems to be/What everybody has/Against me” – “Talk Talk” captured the perennial disaffection of younger generations who feel persecuted by adults that never seem to get it.
The song was recorded in just two takes and still explodes with all the energy of a band working in the white-hot crucible of creation. After “Talk Talk” became a surprise Top 20 hit, the Music Machine’s label, Original Sound, rushed the band back into the studio to try and recapture the lightning. On December 31st, (Turn on) the Music Machinehit the shelves. A mix of covers and Bonniwell-penned originals, it remains a fascinating insight into how these original garage-rock bands captured the zeitgeist before – seemingly inevitably – imploding. At just 32 minutes, almost half the album’s songs were covers apparently recorded with a view to gaining spins at an LA nightclub; among them were Neil Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry,” the Beatles’ “Taxman” and Ma Rainey’s ’20s blues classic “See See Rider.” (Turn on) the Music Machine’s original numbers, however, capture the band at their best: complex, sometimes harrowing songs suggesting that, when The Music Machine flipped the switch, they were a unique proposition among a bunch of misfit bands.
Official reissue on Craft Recordings.
This album has been in constant rotation for me for as long as I can remember. Top marks all around from me. -Jensen
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