COSMIC PUNK: Real Life Time Machines deal in gobs of zonky alterna-pop bad-assery.
Real Life Time Machines are not insane morons. Having known them for almost two years, I can attest that they are kindhearted gentlemen of integrity and patriotism whose knowledge of popular music is matched only by their passion for playing it. But I understand why some might think otherwise, especially anyone who’s had to clean up styrofoam peanuts, confetti, glitter, broken vacuum-cleaner parts, French fries, Hostess snacks, and God-knows-what after one of their shows.
I’ve done my part in spreading the misconception. When last I wrote about the mostly JP-based RLTMs, keyboardist Ben Izenson and drummer Chico Suave expounded on fetish porn and slaying ninjas, in flagrant disregard of my questions. Singer Eli Osheyack couldn’t fathom why he was being interviewed in the first place. The ordeal did have a silver lining: the term “cosmic punk,” which I coined to describe their sound, has since turned up in enough of their publicity for me to feel I’ve added something to the lexicon.
But nobody wants to read my made-up words, and though all four RLTMs often say rational things in real life, trying to get them to do so in print is a recipe for disaster. So I sought out alternative perspectives.
“I’ve seen people’s reactions at their shows, and some people are like, ‘I don’t even like this band, and I’m having a great time!’ ” says avid RLTMs devotee (and Campaign for Real-Timer) Michael Potvin, who produced and co-mixed RLTMs’ first-ever studio excursion at the Compound 440R space in Somerville. “The first B-52’s record was definitely an inspiration to me for working with these guys. It’s loose but dancy, y’know? The Time Machines have the same thing, where the song almost loses itself and [then] comes back in at just the right time. That looseness was what I wanted to capture on the record. It has this life that could easily be stripped out by a computer. We chose not to do that.”
The resulting as-of-yet untitled, barely 10-minute-long gob of zonky alterna-pop bad-assery is slated for release later this month on CD and vinyl, with different spiffy extras appearing on each edition.
Potvin is just one among the growing ranks of influential Boston music types disseminating the RLTMs. It’s getting to the point where they’re in danger of becoming trendy and alienating their “true” fans. Fans like one Jonathan Tierney, also of JP. Tierney first bonded with Osheyack when an assignment on lipids for their 10th-grade health class went straight to hell, almost getting them suspended from Hanover High School, in New Hampshire, which the rest of RLTMs also attended.
“We decided to make a video art piece, to go around asking people about fats and obesity,” Tierney explains. “Questions that were very unsubtle. Like: ‘When you’re around people fatter than you, how does that make you feel?’ ‘Are you scared of fat people?’ I think that was the question that got us in the most trouble.”
Some events are too stupid not to be prophetic.
“I read this interview with the Edge once,” Tierney goes on. “He said most people in bands were very insecure when they were younger and have this need to prove themselves and be sort of centers of gazing and discord. This film was definitely us being really insecure and wanting to make other people feel bad.”