Side projects from bands known for their distinctive sounds are typically elusive beasts. They can either display fallen, rejected aspects of the primary group, or they can be revelatory, brilliant beings of their own. Dead Machines, made up of Wolf Eyes agitator John Olson and Tovah O'Rourke, who used to play with communal folkies Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice, actually embody both tendencies. Dead Machines certainly lean more toward Wolf Eyes' cascade of disgusting sounds, but they lack the trademark death stomp that distinguishes Wolf Eyes' attack. Instead, Dead Machines are much more of a lurking, hungry creature, a kind of subtle, free-floating cousin band.

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Nevertheless, Dead Machines still make noise music in the classic sense—alien sounds coming out of reconstituted homemade equipment. The difference between Dead Machines and other groups of similar methodology is the patience DM put into their work; it's not all barrage and volume, but rather a slow-burning effort to build broken sounds back into some semblance of order. In this way, they fuse pure Frankenstein's Monster jams with an Easy Rider, psychedelic-outlaw visual aesthetic.

Dead Machines have been putting out a plethora of terror-laden releases within the noise-cassette-label scene and have recently attained a higher profile with the 2005 release of Futures on Troubleman Unlimited. While the group's ethereal drone may not eclipse Wolf Eyes' popularity, Dead Machines remain a compelling find for those willing to scratch beneath the surface.

editor@thestranger.com