- Horse without a Cause

Meaningful Fun

A few years ago I was planning to record an album that explored my life growing up in northern Minnesota with horses and a cowboy dad as well as the music I was exposed to at the time.

In the early days my cowboy dad controlled the music and it was almost exclusively Country-Western: Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Buck Owens and all the rest. In those days isolation was real I heard more 40s Big Band (another one of my old man’s favorites) and Burt Bacharach than Bob Dylan or The Beatles. 

Eventually I was exposed to all that 60s music as it was everywhere even in the 70s and I loved it but it was punk that grabbed me and inspired nearly everything I’ve done as a singer songwriter since. 

Fast forward to 2018 I woke to find I had lost my ability to walk overnight. If that shock wasn’t enough I found out I had a tumor on my spine caused by an incurable cancer called multiple myeloma. Over the next year I endured radiation, chemo and a bone marrow transplant all while learning to walk again. I kept writing songs hoping I’d get the chance to make another record if I was lucky enough. 

Well, I was lucky enough and after everything I went through I was looking to connect and have meaningful fun with this new record. Horse without a Cause is in part an homage to the days and music of my youth combined with my experience with cancer, learning to walk again, and facing my death. Every cut on the record has a live performance at its base. Some were left as is while others were dressed up with drums, bass, guitars, keys, mandolin, and some of my best harmonica work in years.

This release is available as a digital download and Compact Disc at Bandcamp and CDbaby. It is streaming everywhere and I’m planning on a Vinyl release later this year.


- No. 9

It is the case with most socket sets that one or two sockets go missing.

This was the situation for Michael McDaeth’s 7 disc Socket Set (2012). No one knew except McDaeth that his Socket was at one point a 9 disc Set and that most of the songs for disc/sockets 8 and 9 were lost through mishap and misplacement along with the master recordings. It’s the kind of heartache you keep to yourself.
Well it happened recently that an early copy of the No. 9 disc/socket came to light. It was found in an old toy box. It looked as though it was used as a launch pad for various rockets and spaceships. In any case, here for you is disc/socket No. 9 to add to the 7 disc socket set
you may already possess.

#1 Eyeball Man

#2 The Echo of your Moan

#3 Beat the Devil

#4 One Sure Thing

#5 How to Build an Empire

#6 Get Low

#7 It’s in the Socket Set

- Blue

Recorded and released in 2016 Band Saw Blue was a side project for McDaeth. It was given a very limited release and only about ten copies of the CD were ever made. It is available in digital form only.

#1 Do you Wanna

#2 I was a Nineties Werewolf

#3 Betty Beauty

#4 Hello Ghost

#5 Miracle Stone

#6 Ordinary

#7 Kentucky Blue Streak

#8 Somebody

- The Socket Set

Recorded in 2010 this sprawling 7 disc 49 song epic journey was a huge undertaking. McDaeth wanted a mountain to climb so he gave himself the task of recording 7 songs on 7 CDs in 7 months.

This release has everything: live acoustic songs, sloppy one-offs, raucous numbers, catchy tunes and practically unlistenable noisey juggernauts. Heartfelt, angry and everything inbetween. This piece is too big to pigeon hole. It must be heard to appreciate.

Disc 1

#1 Just Die

#2 She’s just a Torso

#3 You Should have Known

#4 On Vacation in the USA

#5 Tidal Wave

#6 Things Too

#7 God Loves MaryLou

Disc 2

#8 #1 It Doesn’t Matter

#9 #2 Stuck in Abilene

#10 #3 From the Midwest

#11 #4 Saint Lou

#12 #5 This is Supposed to be Fun

#13 #6 Put it on the Rail

#14 #7 Boomtown has gone to Shit

Disc 3

#15 #1 Surface Life

#16 #2 Maybe

#17 #3 The only way is Down

#18 #4 My Christmas Wish

#19 #5 Petroleum Love

#20 #6 Surface Life Part 2

#21 #7 Help me Understand

Disc 4

#22 #1 I got a headache

#23 #2 Is it too Late to Call

#24 #3 Get it Wrong

#25 #4 You’re gonna Wish you didn’t Know

#26 #5 You’re Everybody’s Savior

#27 #6 We go Hard

#28 #7 There goes my Baby

Disc 5

#29 #1 I will do the complaining from now on

#30 #2 Vertical Stripes Horizontal Lines

#31 #3 Serial Society

#32 #4 My Electric Impulse

#33 #5 Down South

#34 #6 Why oh Why

#35 #7 Hell is Here

Disc 6

#36 #1 Happy just to be Happy

#37 #2 I need some Hell right now

#38 #3 Bamp a Bamp

#39 #4 Lookout Below

#40 #5 A Waltz in the Parking Lot

#41 #6 It won’t be Long

#42 #7 It’s Over

Disc 7

#43 #1 It’s all in Your Head

#44 #2 We Ha!

#45 #3 Oh Jane

#46 #4 I wanna be

#47 #5 In General

#48 #6 Heisenberg counted on that

#49 #7 Going on Nothing


Michael McDaeth exists in a sonic landscape of his own devising while functioning temporally in North Seattle. This landscape is conceived largely in the moment, capturing a DIY spirit infused with spontaneous emotionalism and a willful need to create. He is a prolific artist, having authored two novels, built several websites, and filmed a myriad of videos to give a visual rendering to a fair number of his really, really distinctive songs.

His most current production is a seven c.d. boxed set called ‘The Socket Set’. To summarize the entirety of the proceedings in 350 or so type characters is well nigh impossible, at least for me. But, I am so fascinated by his take on music-making that I feel compelled to try.


Hell is here. I will do the complaining from now on. I got a headache. These song titles, names of 3 of the 49 tracks, give a somewhat unified understanding of the mindset at work here. The music itself is a chaotic, noisily expressive sound collage produced via overdubbing; in some respects, this man is a musical anachronism, because there is some thing in his overall sound that plays out as if he was some backwoods, homespun country-blues musician who woke up in a studio. At times it sounds like everyone was too hungover to play. When the realization strikes that all of this is completely intentional and is as utterly necessary to his artistic vision as a recontextualized urinal was for Marcel Duchamp all those years ago, everything begins to make a lot more sense, and becomes a lot more compelling in the process.


Over the course of a few conversations I have had with him, I have come to understand the importance of ‘the moment’ and its importance in this man’s process of creation as a musician. It is in the moment that emoting occurs in its most honest and unfettered way. It is the moment that requires the seeming chaos; the truth is that there is no chaos, just the overwhelming force of spontaneous emoting. Think of trying to saddle a hurricane; notions of form are merely guideposts.


There’s another song written by him, called ‘I was punk when punk was punk’. The music contained in this set proves that Michael is still punk when punk is not, when it has succumbed to its own worst excesses and devolved into a pantomime. It is also a reminder that when all else is stripped away, when all considerations of technique, genre and fashion are stripped away, that emotion is what hums at the core of sonic expression, and this is the most important and urgently necessary consideration of all.

~ Paul Paradis ~

- Dissipation

Beginning with Shine in Reverse (2005) and concluding with Buy this Car and Dissipation both release in 2009 McDaeth recording and released some of his most adventurist music. During that period he was interested in capturing the creative explosion that occurs with the birth of a song: raw, spontaneous, what Hap Mansfield referred to as McDaeth letting the music make him. These albums were not about refined and polished material but the outburst of creation that begins the journey.

#1 Try to keep it in G

#2 The Demon Song

#3 Dissipation

#4 I couldn’t see you in the Moonlight

#5 What do you Call It

#6 Teacup

#7 Shit on the Motherfuckers

#8 Now you’re just an Asshole

#9 Long Gone

#10 Living in Hell

#11 Let’s get together and Die

#12 I Don’t Matter

#13 Nothing that you Know

#14 I will

#15 Don’t try

#16 Fuck these borders and shakedowns

#17 Be Sad for the Channel Surfer

#18 Sweet Love

- Buy this Car

Beginning with Shine in Reverse (2005) and concluding with Buy this Car and Dissipation both release in 2009 McDaeth recording and released some of his most adventurist music. During that period he was interested in capturing the creative explosion that occurs with the birth of a song: raw, spontaneous, what Hap Mansfield referred to as McDaeth letting the music make him. These albums were not about refined and polished material but the outburst of creation that begins the journey.

#1 We’re back Together

#2 Another Smoke Stack

#3 Get it Right

#4 Buy this Car

#5 Drink this Beer

#6 Christmas Gifts

#7 Do your best to get in the way

#8 Call

#9 Hard Little Round

#10 Here comes the President

#11 Slide

#12 What to Think

#13 I’m not Here

- The Un-Orchestrated Me

Another side project The Un-Orchestrated Me was something I did with my then eight year old son. He sang, I sang, at times versions of the same song. We had a great time.

#1 Do Lookout the Door

#2 Up

#3 No Baby

#4 Summer is coming to an End

#5 Made you Feel Down

#6 Charles Bukowski

#7 Down

#8 Mama Motorcycle -BW

#9 Mama Motorcycle – MM

#10 Just like the Old Days

#11 In

#12 Not Anymore

#13 I’m insane

#14 Out

#15 The End


- The Blank Album

I’m not patronizing you here, I’m protecting you. Move along. You aren’t ready for this. Buy it for your unborn children. What are the chances you’re going to understand the fierce softness and the soft ferocity? I wouldn’t bet on you. And I like you.

Part Daniel Johnston, part Stravinsky, part Kurt Cobain, part Foggy Mountain Boys, Michael McDaeth breaks through all the frames of form and comes out the other side with something so odd, so brave, so beautiful and so irritating you won’t know what to make of it. When it hits you, it may leave a mark i.e. I hope you don’t bruise easily, i.e. I hope you don’t cry easily, i.e. I hope you dig it. It’s only one guy and only one guitar and one ill-used and slightly grumpy harmonica. How does it sound like a firestorm on Mars? Beats me. Beats me good. Go to and listen to “We’re Anonymous” from Shine In Reverse. It’ll ease you into it.

This is slam dancing for the soul. Hope you’re insured.

#1 A little Laugh

#2 More Morphine Please

#3 It’s a Weapon

#4 Everybody’s Fault

#5 Shoo

#6 Peter and Mike and the Flashlight

#7 Screamin’

#8 Better Wait until you’re Dead

#9 It Shapes My fuckin’ Head

- Shine in Reverse

You are always in the engine room of the universe. You work there. You sleep there. You eat and make love and shit and piss there. You get angry there. You find happiness there. If the universe was a shopping mall and you were looking for the cookie pizza/cinnamon roll/kettle-cooked fudge/freeze dried ice cream/candle place/martini bar and you couldn’t find it so you went looking for one of those Lucite-encased mall maps to tell you how to get there, you’d see the Engine Room on the map with a little arrow pointing to it saying YOU ARE HERE. This is because everywhere you are is the engine room of the universe. The map would always tell you the same thing: YOU ARE HERE. Because you are always in the engine room of the universe.

Let’s say you are listening to this CD and you are thinking, what is this? Is this guy crazy? What the hell kind of music is this anyway? Michael Mcdaeth must be the mayor of Crazy Town, you say to yourself. Maybe you say it out loud. You can if you want, we’re not stopping you. You may be looking at the song titles and thinking, who the hell does this guy think he is, The Minutemen? Donald Wilson? (Of course, this would be contingent on whether you knew who Donald Wilson was but if you do know, you might be thinking it.) You don’t know how long you can take this howling and that caterwauling and the incessant pounding on the strings and what the hell. Also, at this juncture you might even be thinking, what kind of lousy liner notes are these? Isn’t Derrida dead?

They found green glass on the moon, did you know that? Also, there are some astronomers at Princeton who claim that all potential life flies around the universe on rocks. Scientists have found life existing in some form or another in volcanoes and in the deepest coldest ices of the Antarctic. You think you’re special? Well, who says you’re not, bub?

Perhaps now you are writing off Michael as one of those musical theory types. Maybe it’s time for a sandwich or a beer. Maybe your mother’s calling you. Maybe you have to be somewhere (which is, as I’ve already pointed out, pretty difficult for you because…do I have to say it? Fine. You are always in the Engine Room of the universe.) Ah, perhaps the music is finally sinking into you. Maybe you dig it. It could happen. It’s bewilderingly refreshing, this music. MM is a solid sender. Of course, your engine room may not be able to handle the load. It’s okay. It’s a big universe.

Are you familiar with Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? I’m not. We’ve met but I’m not certain our relationship could be termed as familiar. This CD could be the musical equivalent of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Or maybe it’s Glenn Gould playing the upside down sheet music for Blood On The Tracks on a guitar made out of auto parts. It could be the soundtrack for a knife fight on the moon. That could account for the green glass. Make up your own story, I’m tired. (Okay, I’ll get you started; maybe the green glass was from a broken beer bottle. Maybe Brian Eno was there. Your turn. You make up a story. I’ll wait…..)

Finished? There’s nobody like Michael Mcdaeth anywhere in the universe. This is his rock. You gettin’ the hemi-semi-demi quavers? You rolling with the sarcastic laughter, frustrated tears, smoke-filled mystery? YOU ARE HERE; you dig?

Just because a few dozen people have passed through Michael while he sings doesn’t mean he’s channeling the universe. Oh, wait. That’s exactly what it does mean.

Okay, the frame is broken on this picture. I’d be an idiot not to mention it. If form follows function then it’s up to you to figure out why anybody listens to anything but Bach. Einstein liked Mozart. Just sayin’.

Michael made this with and for the universe. Which, now that I think on it, is you, pal. You were meant to take this personally. How else is there?

hap mansfield
Engine Room
The Universe

#1 We’re Anonymous

#2 Do Anarchy

#3 Fortune 2005 – aka Personal Terrorist

#4 Torn Apart

#5 It sure is another day

#6 Love Abides

#7 Shimeleski Funtime

#8 Before I

#9 Ridiculous

#10 Hard at Work at Nothing

#11 Bang It

#12 Frog

#13 All Hail

#14 At Least Leave a Note

#15 Ole Ole Ole Hey Hey Hey

#16 Under the Underground

#17 Julie Was

#18 Tidal Wave

#19 Not Drunk Enough

#20 Something is Missing

#21 Change and Change…

#22 Sing or Get Out

#23 I’m just Sayin’

#24 She was a He

#25 God Awful

#26 Here’s to our Digital Decay

#27 Cut that Out

#28 If this is High Civilization Now

There are two types of singer/songwriters. Many of them write surface-level songs (a reflection of the “hard times” experienced during their surface-level lives) with the intent of shopping their five-song demos to labels. The others — a far smaller group — write to purge their systems of the toxins within, composing to maintain their day-to-day sanity. These artists have few goals beyond releasing their work to friends who pester them with, “I want to hear your music!” Okay, you asked for it.


Fortunately, artists such as Michael McDaeth are around to keep that second group alive. He’s back for a sixth solo round — a freshly printed ink-jet label wrapped around a double-disc of madness, a continuation of his “the music started making him” explorations. Using only a guitar, a harmonica, his voice and his imagination, he works magic


There’s no need to provide a detailed account of every song on Shine in Reverse; once you’ve heard a few of McDaeth’s songs, you’ve kind of heard them all. Well, yes and no. McDaeth’s creativity isn’t housed in an explosion of multi-tracking or tape-edits. His craft is in the details, the ability to persevere in (literally) pounding out 26 songs, all in the same style — and to your attention while he does it. He accomplishes this goal by never really finishing what he’s talking about, cutting and pasting sentences together while splicing in words and harmonica blasts to “end” phrases. You’ll consider his observations later, coming up with your own conclusions, then returning to the song to piece together your version of the story. In other words, he’s a great director who gives you the stage, a few details about the characters and a little fuel for your imagination. As dumb as it sounds, it’s refreshing to experience this type of ambiguity, given the genre’s surplus of let-me-explain-every-little-detail-so-you-don’t-have-to-think artists.


However, if you listen carefully, McDaeth’s madness is merely a façade; behind it, you’ll find an endearing songwriter who enjoys his creative freedom. When you let go of the idea that an audience or your bandmates are listening to you, as McDaeth does, you can say “fuck” and “shit”, call world leaders “terrorists”, ramble “duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh”, yell “shalalalalalalalala” and squeak and squawk in keys well beyond your vocal range. His insulated approach is bolstered by the courage that comes when you focus on the idea that only you and “the requisite fans” will listen to your music and “get” it. McDaeth uses this weapon to its fullest, and regardless of his angst, his performance betrays the satisfaction he derives from getting things off of his chest; think about Noam Chomsky’s peace when he corrects others, or the first John Frusciante album, or Evangelical preachers, or some of the “tortured” yet brilliant bloggers whose work you peruse every morning.


Once you get over Shine in Reverse’s initial abrasiveness, you’ll understand that McDaeth isn’t trying to be weird — he just lets what’s on his mind come out, jagged edges and mumbling included. While his predecessors have moved on to Mitsubishi commercials and their own line of iPods, McDaeth will continue his trek, giving renewed meaning to “three chords and the truth”. — Dave Madden

- Rusted On Through

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone or thing quite like the work of Michael McDaeth. It’s not at all what one expects from a (oh no, not another one!) singer/songwriter. It has flashes of familiar stuff, sort of like driving through a strange new town and seeing, for a moment, a friendly grocery store or gas station. You recognize it. But then, it turns out the grocery store has a sign in the window advertising the big canned weasel head sale or the gas station says that they carry “irregular” and “un-leading” gasoline. Michael McDaeth is full of stuff like this: some whimsical, most scary. It all starts out sort of pretty. Lo Rez Beauty Queen has a thoughtful sad quality sifted into the world-weariness of it. But then you get Shimeleski Fun Time like a sharpened-to-a-point Popsicle stick in the eye. Every Other Day is a sarcastic romp through broken pop bottles with a guy who may or may not be giving a priest a blowjob. On My Way is either brilliant understatement or overstatement. Can’t quite tell. It actually slouches as it runs along. A laughing guitar line skitters and smirks perversely in the background. Radio Play is what wolves would do if they could sing and play guitar like a punk. It’s downright disturbing. Money To Be laughs at everybody and their dogs. Then a guy leaps off the top of a building after spitting the obvious in Death By Suicide. He looks good, too. Somewhere in the tart cheeky recesses, a sharp tongue is lurking in Think I’ll Become A Communist. Broken Fences is the pulse rate of wild animal after being shot with tranquilizers. And the title cut, Rusted On Through, breaks your heart with a recalcitrantly strung guitar as an accomplice. You can hear the churn of an old Cadillac while Michael sings one thing and the guitar tells us something different. The guitar, actually, is most always telling us something different from Michael, who is playing the guitar that is commenting on his words. His guitar seems to be somewhat of a cynic. This is possibly because of its hard use. The whole thing is more than slightly disconcerting. It’s brutal, beautiful and hovers somewhere between complete equipoise and wildly unbalanced. I really love this CD.

Hap Mansfield

#1 Lo Rez Beauty Queen

#2 Shimeleski Funtime

#3 Every Other Day – aka I was Punk when Punk was Punk

#4 On my Way

#5 Radio Play

#6 Death by Suicide

#7 Money to Be

#8 Think I’ll Become a Communist

#9 Broken Fences

#10 Rusted on Through

#11 Think I’ll Become a Communist – Electric Guitar

It takes something special to pull off the singer/guitarist act, though that rarely discourages the loads of folk singers who turn up at open-mic nights. They could all learn a lesson from Michael McDaeth (sic), who pulls this stripped-down ensemble off with grace, reeling you in with his voice and locking the box with his rambling-yet-intriguing stories. His I-just-ate-a-bag-of-straw croon has all the elegance of a Tom Waits, a Paul Westerberg or a Greg Dulli — so either he’s brilliant or he sounds like shit, depending upon your perspective. The aforementioned comparisons apply not only to McDaeth’s zesty croon, but to his ability to pull a melody out of bizarre, if extraordinarily primitive, harmonic progressions. “Shimeleski Fun Time” is basically a barre chord tour up and down the guitar-neck, but McDaeth, attempting a falsetto that’s nowhere near on-key, finds sanctuary in its swagger. The hypnotic “On My Way” layers his voice over a simple two-chord vamp, something that would bore you to tears if it weren’t for McDaeth’s dynamic delivery. In “Death by Suicide”, the artist is standing on a ledge, shotgun in hand, note written; he spills his guts that “everyone can be the one / will you be mine forever / hey I think I’m gonna die / death by suicide.” Despite his desperation, he sounds sexy as he whispers and screams, pounding his six-string into a woody pulp.


The aesthetic here is demo-like, but I wouldn’t change a thing. In the same way that you wouldn’t dare add a bass guitar line to “Needle and the Damage Done”, fleshing out these songs would detract from their sincerity.


Regardless of what you think about McDaeth’s four-track production or ignorance of second takes, his honesty, passion and depth make Rusted on Through 27 minutes you won’t soon forget. — Dave Madden

- Sacred Cow

This was recorded when McDaeth was mixing media with his songs. Old western movie soundtracks, News Media, among other soundbites underlie the songs.

#1 Escape from Bravo

#2 Beautiful Slave

#3 Sorry isn’t Enough

#4 Urbane

#5 Unmade

#6 Little Havana

#7 One Minute

#8 Goddamn Love

#9 Here comes the Apocalypse

#10 Blue Kazoo

#11 Beautiful Slave 2

#12 Everybody says Goodbye

#13 alex

- Gondwanaland

A riverboat tour guides voice underlays simple acoustic songs and quiet  live performances.

#1 Taking my Time

#2 You got the Blues Again

#3 Another Ghost leaves the Room

#4 Stepmother

#5 Profitability

#6 My Sister

#7 Typical Destitute Day

#8 King of the Underworld

#9 Denial