Machine Go Boom
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Machine Go Boom

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The best kept secret in music


"One of the best albums of the year"

"After one listen, [Machine Go Boom] have become one of my new favorite bands. Thank You Captain Obvious harkens back to when punk was rebellious and completely anti-pop. This album sounds like a long lost recording from the '70s. It fits nicely next to London Calling and Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.

Both 'Captain Obvious' and 'Hot Potato' sound like The Pixies met IMA Robot. Both songs are spastic, jumbled messes of beauty. 'Hail to the King' takes all the niceties of music and quietly blows them away by repeating one guitar note and having a call and response session with a bunch of kids... screaming kids, of course.

Machine Go Boom also know how to write a great acoustic ballad. The Weezer-esque 'Ms. Hepburn’s House' displays Mikey Machine’s softer side, like 'The Sweater Song' did for Weezer. 'Kamikazi Plane' could have easily been an outtake from Beck’s Sea Change. . . .

Thank You Captain Obvious is one of the best albums of the year, because of its deft concoction of quirkiness and seriousness. Machine Go Boom has made one of the few albums where the cover of the album perfectly illustrates the contents: Nothing but pure enjoyment." - Ink 19

"Perk up your ears"

"If, like me, you've grown a bit disenchanted with fashion-dance-rock, with its requisite new-wave haircuts, and have been embracing records from the indie pop-rock stable (Ted Leo, A.C. Newman & the New Pornographers, and Of Montreal) simply because they feel like breaths of fresh air, perk up your ears. Machine Go Boom's energy and unpretentiousness, not to mention Mikey's knack for writing a catchy a pop hook and willingness to shriek out 'la-la-la' whenever necessary, are plenty charming. Naysay if you must about the titular instrument of 'The Kazoo Star' but the song built around it is, like the rest of the album, so fucking likable that one can hardly argue with the results. MGB throw everything they've got into Thank You Captain Obvious, and props are the least one can offer."
- tiny mix tapes

"#1 Album of 2004"

(DAN ZP's #1 ALBUM OF 2004.) "I guess the first name to invoke is Neutral Milk Hotel, but Mikey Machine has 1) a sense of humor and 2) a Midwestern appreciation for sloppiness. Both qualities pile their way into Captain Obvious as gleefully as frat guys cramming into a phone booth. Then once you're chuckling, deep in the task of puzzling out MGB's sonics and asides, the emotion of the songs will ambush you utterly. Sneaky bastard, that Mikey. 'Li'l Devil' boils our President down to a pair of hot, angry-red nubs; 'The Punchline Song' out-wearies Mark Eitzel by throwing in a wink, and 'Ms. Hepburn's House' is startlingly beautiful, even as its helium vocal trembles. This is a crazy-sounding album from a goofy-sounding band -- but in the end it isn't fooling around at all." - Zapruder Point

"A pretty incredible thing"

"At the heart of it, Thank You Captain Obvious is a remarkably innocent, unfiltered, joyously free chunk of pop genius, infused with a sense of childish glee and plenty of reckless abandon (see the full-on rock blowout of 'Madeline isn't Coming Home'). That's a pretty incredible thing to find in our sad era of pre-fabricated, too-thought-out, made-to-sell rock bands. At the beginning of 'Lil' Devil,' Mikey Machine admits that 'I don't think I think the way I'm s'posed to think / I don't think that that's gonna stop.' I certainly hope it doesn't."
- Space City Rock

"Something completely original and fresh"

"At times, Mikey is creating terrific Ween-like rock, as on 'Captain Obvious,' and other times he's mixing that style up with some Devendra Banhart-ish moments as on the opening track, 'Lil Devil.' So basically what you have here is something completely original and fresh and worth picking up. Other tracks, like the oddly sincere 'What My Buddy Said' almost border on '70s acoustic So-Cal pop, while 'Hot Potato' and 'The Kazoo Star' take off in the freaky directions you might expect them to with those titles. But it's all very modern and quirky in the end, making Thank You, Captain Obvious one of those albums that reminds you of how great indie-pop can often be." - PopMatters


Thank You Captain Obvious (2004)
Mikey Machine (2001)

Split 7" (w/ Self Destruct Button):
"Distance Yourself (The Building Song)"/
"I Only Have One Head" (2004)

"Copycat" (Refugee Records compilation)


Feeling a bit camera shy


ELYRIA, OH: Mikey Machine dabbled in recording school in his teens, and armed only with a 4-track, acoustic guitar, and some pots and pans, released his feverish self-titled debut Mikey Machine in 2001. His infectious melodies and strange songs soon brought ever-increasing crowds of happy drunken friends and curious strangers to see him perform at open mics and at Cleveland's premier rock venues.

Then Mikey formed a band: long-time friend Brian "Bubbles" O’Connor on bass, Carrie Bukala on keys, and (following a succession of drummers) the powerhouse rock battery of Mr. Arran Biggart. They took the name Machine Go Boom and made the rounds in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. With Mikey's distorted pop inventions -- a frighteningly good mix of acoustic folk balladry, amphetamine-lit punk, and synth-fed new wave -- the band stood out from much of the industrial clang of Rust Belt rock. Word spread quickly.

Early in 2004, Cleveland beheld a most stunning and welcome musical event: the release of Mikey Machine’s sophomore effort, "Thank You Captain Obvious." It was generally agreed that the city had not seen a more original, well crafted, or flat-out rocking record in many, many moons. Mikey enlisted his songster friend Mike Uva on second guitar, and with a stellar LP in tow, Machine Go Boom have made children dance and housewives cry in every town they’ve played, performing with such acts as The Thermals, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, and Parker & Lily.

Go see a Machine Go Boom show. The room is packed. The amps blare. And the crowd knows all the words. No really, I'm not kiddin' ya.

You will love them.

Here's how one of Cleveland's leading rock critics describes "Thank You Captain Obvious":

"The new full-length from Machine Go Boom is executed with so much energy and depth of feeling, you’d think Mikey Machine once lived on the moon, and that somehow a mix-tape had fallen to its gray surface after being loosed from a wayward satellite. And that Mikey (in his loneliness and rapt amazement) absorbed so much from a cassette’s worth of our planet’s modern pop heritage, that his own songs trimphantly encompassed and compressed that genre in its entirety -- but in a weird and extraterrestrial way. For when Mikey’s songs fell back to Earth, they became faster, more maddening, more beautiful, and more haunting than most of the music his soon-to-be Earth friends had ever heard.

Stunningly recorded by rising Cleveland engineer Paul Maccarrone, and performed in its entirety by the one-man orchestra that is Mikey Machine, 'Thank You Captain Obvious' sounds like a glowing artifact from a cartoon moon. It bristles like the Pixies and careens comically like Ween. It’s popsloppy like early Modest Mouse and whimsically anthemic like early Guided By Voices. The opener 'Lil’ Devil' just yowls with melodic terror. After this cathartic shot, the title track winds up like a caffeinated Kinks cut, then explodes into a punk stomp that would have sent Doolittle-era Black Francis back to his guitar. Giddy munchkin vocals (which can be found all over this record) steer 'Captain Obvious' to a 10-car technicolor pile-up of hooks. More petulant is the hyper-distorted 'Madeleine Isn’t Coming Home,' a surefire and twisted hit whose cheery atonal lead line (synthesizer? fuzz cornet?) pulses with fist-pumping energy.

Alongside these punky pop-gasms are quieter gems like 'What My Buddy Said,' 'Kamikazi Plane,' and 'This Song is A Secret,' songs whose genius lies in a childlike nature that discloses nostalgia and sadness, with an adult yearning for real truth. 'This Song Is A Secret' closes the album with a weary sing-along redolent of a sorrowful Pogues toast or the Archers of Loaf’s 'Greatest of All Time.'

Extraterrestrial? Maybe. True outsider art, Machine Go Boom’s Thank You Captain Obvious defies all that surrounds it. It seems too good to exist. But these songs demand existence. And your ears."

--Ed Sotelo

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