Saturday, March 23, 2013

MODERN MACHINES - 4 Tapes - 2001 - 2006

   One of my goals of 2013 is to be a more positive person. I don't mean that I want to kill people with kindness or be fake. I just want to be less negative. The state of this world leads people to just be complete jackasses to one another and there's really no need for it. The internet is a vast network of faceless shit-talking and hate-mongering where folks are encouraged to foist their bile and are rarely expected to hold themselves accountable. I think people should be open about what they don't like, but they should also be able to talk about ways to make it better without being condescending or shitty. It's possible and it's something I'm working towards.
   That being said, I never liked MODERN MACHINES, but I appreciate their existence. I also think Jon Hanson is a fantastic drummer. I understand that the band meant a lot to other people, so I decided to let one of those people talk about them for a while. Here is Mike Wilson (from B ARTHUR) to talk about the MODERN MACHINES:

   THE MODERN MACHINES at their peak were my favorite existing band in the Midwest... I was living in Tower MN (try to find that on a map) and I was obsessed with Bay Area CA punk from the 80's, 90's, and current. I was getting very into bands on the label NEW DISORDER RECORDS. I noticed that label had released a split CD with two Milwaukee bands THE MODERN MACHINES and THE FRAGMENTS (pre-Holy Shit! and others). I got that CD in 2003 when I was 15 years old and was really into it. Really really good catchy poppy punk done the way that I liked. Particularly I was into the MODERN MACHINES side of the split. I contacted both bands separately suggesting that they should play in Duluth, since conceivably they lived not that far away. Both bands responded excited that somebody from northern MN was into them, which was really nice to hear. THE FRAGMENTS broke up probably not that long after that, and I never did see them.. But Nato from the MODERN MACHINES was particularly into the idea of playing up in Duluth / Superior and he eventually contacted me to seriously inquire about getting a show. I didn't really know how to set up shows quite yet (I didn't even live in Duluth) but I knew of an existing show the day that they wanted to play in Superior WI with my friends THE UNDESIRABLES, and a Grand Rapids MN pop punk band THE VALENTINES. I got the folks from that show to let MODERN MACHINES hop on. I was slightly bummed and worried I wouldn't even get in, because it was at a bar and I was 15 years old. But Nato insisted on sneaking me in as their roadie. It worked! All of the MODERN MACHINES guys were really nice, and I was so happy. Jon Hanson, their drummer, had a HICKEY tattoo on his chest which was maybe the coolest thing I had ever seen at that point. PLUS they even covered "Waiting For The Swelling To Go Down" by HICKEY. They KILLED it. I video taped that show and still have it. 

   MODERN MACHINES made a lasting impression and everybody from the show was really blown away by them. Highly energetic raging poppy punk with heart and plenty of rock and roll. One of those bands I'd consider "perfect", having every element a band should have. Constantly compared to bands like THE REPLACEMENTS and HUSKER DU, which is accurate but still were beyond that and were not derivative. MODERN MACHINES had just released their first full length CD "Thwap!" on New Disorder Records, so I got that and a shirt from them at the show. I liked their stuff from that previous split CD but this new album totally destroyed their previous material. That album "Thwap!" is to this day one of my favorite Midwestern punk albums of the 2000's, no question. MODERN MACHINES kept going for years after this, and at least once a year they would hit me up to play Duluth / Superior and it was always a blast to see them and hang out. I was always very flattered they were so into playing up there. Their second album "Taco Blessing" on Recess Records is arguably even better than "Thwap!" but I'm not really sure. The MODERN MACHINES eventually broke up and Nato moved to Brooklyn and started THE USED KIDS (who toured through Duluth as well), and then eventually they broke up and he now resides in Minneapolis playing with NATO COLES & THE BLUE DIAMOND BAND. Over the years Nato's songs progressively were getting less punk and more on the rock and roll (Bruce Springsteen type) side of things. A simple way of putting it, THE MODERN MACHINES were a self proclaimed "basement band", but NATO COLES & THE BLUE DIAMOND BAND are definitely more of a "bar band". I don't mean that as an insult, I think Nato would probably agree with me (even though they play basements all the time). I can't help but strongly prefer those amazing early MODERN MACHINES shows and records over anything after, but still, I love everything Nato has done and I can't count how many times I've seen him play (especially now that he's living in Minnesota and comes up north every chance he gets). He is a great song writer and an amazing performer and puts everything he's got into every show.

   I didn't mention any of these early tapes here yet because I can't even remember how or where I got these, so figured I'd just talk about the band in general. I always listened to their full length albums more than these tapes. I think these tapes pre-date all their albums, but I'm not sure.. This many years later I'm excited to actually listen to these tapes finally since I've exhausted their other material over the years.

This download includes 4 tapes by MOMACS. "Huberty" was originally posted here, but has since been deleted by Mediafire. You can now download it in this file. 


erick lyle said...

The MoMacs, with their boundless enthusiasm and astonishing Forest Gump-like ubiquity, might be, for better or worse the era-defining band of the mid-Zero's. Though I will always cherish the sincere love for music displayed in these early tapes, I will go to my grave marveling at how impervious the band was to what others thought of them.

Mike Wilson said...

I feel like a jerk- I pretty much talked about Nato the entire time. Danny Z rightfully pointed this out to me. Both Nato and Danny moved to NY and started The Used Kids together. Danny still resides in NY and has played in other cool bands including MARVIN BERRY & THE NEW SOUND and probably others. Jon Hansen went on to play drums in TRUTHDEALER and also guitar in BEAR PROOF SUIT and other bands too. I think I focused on Nato mainly because he not only wrote / sang most of the songs in MoMacs (though Danny's songs were also fantastic), but I also see him on a regular basis where as I've lost touch with Danny and Jon a bit over the years.

alex stillman said...

what you should really track down is their high school band, THE SHRUBBERS. eric shultz made me a copy of their tape, "The Last Cup of Coffee" years ago while also making me breakfast (because he rules) when i was staying at his house on tour and it's freaking insane. NOW THAT WAS A BAND. (he also included the black rainbow demos on b-side of the tape. I would play it at parties throughout that tour and it was a major hit.) long live mke punks!

Paul McCutcheon said...

Hey thanks for these. I love the fact that the band "modern machines" put out demos on cassette. Cd's were finally accessible to just about anyone and they stuck to cassette (I guess one could argue that digitizing music is part of the "post-modern" turn so cassettes and vinyl would be only truly modern format available, but I prefer to imagine the band being intentionally ironic). MAD props for keeping these tapes in such good condition. The sound is fantastic!