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The Socket Set (2012 & 2016)


Michael McDaeth
The Socket Set
(audio CDs)

Socket Set Press Kit pdf

A few years ago, something odd happened to Michael - this is more or less
documented with Rusted on Through (2004 Sophisticated Monkey). Hard to describe. The music starting making him, maybe. He broke through all the frames of song structure and style. He started surfing on the Andromeda Galaxy. Something like that. All that songwriting and guitar playing and singing started coiling and writhing and twisting and exploding.

The Socket Set - 8 discs 56 songs - McDaeth's organic deconstructed approach to guitar and vocals.

song downloads from 7 disc original Socket Set:

It doesn't matter | stuck in Abilene | Saint Lou | surface Life | you're gonna wish you didn't know | Is it too late to call | We Ha! | it won't be long | vertical stripes horizontal lines |

(To download these songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on a mac you would control-click on the link.)

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.

No. 9 is now available at cdbaby.

Socket No 9 booklet pgs 1 and 2

Review of The Socket Set

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 ~ http://mvremix.com/rock_blogs/2012/07/michael-mcdaeth-the-socket-set-boxed-set-review







Rusted on Through (2004)

picture of the blank album

Liner notes "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

Dispensing with the intrusive sound samples that marred Sacred Cow (2002), McDaeth wisely refocuses on his abrasive vocals and unhinged acoustic guitar, while pushing his songs ever further into a drumless rock realm. Whereas Tom Waits was an obvious antecedant to earlier works, with Rusted On Through Michael mines deeper, stranger lodes of inspiration like Screaming Jay Hawkins and Hasil Adkins. Wacked tracks like "Shimeleski Fun Time," "Radio Play," "Death By Suicide" and "Think I'll Become A Communist" are exuberant, hard-eyed and fearless, marking a welcome return to form for an always intriguing artist.

Jim Santo

downloads from Rusted on Through:

I was punk when punk was punk | think I'll become a communist | radio play

(To download my songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on the mac you would control-click on the link.)








Splendid magazine review - Rusted on Through - http://www.splendidezine.com - 08-14-04

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

Shine in Reverse (2005)

picture of shine in reverse discs and case

Liner notes for "Shine in Reverse" by Hap Mansfield

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

song downloads from "Shine in Reverse"

torn apart | do Anarchy | frog | Love Abides | Ole Ole Ole Hey Hey Hey

(To download my songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on the mac you would control-click on the link.)








Splendid Magazine > review of Shine in Reverse > 9/1/2005

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




Michael Mcdaeth - Shine in Reverse Review 
By Morley Seaver

I've listened to a lot of "normal" music lately. It was time for something like this and "Shine in Reverse" is definitely not "normal". As somebody I know remarked (before they all fled the room), this is the most uninhibited record I've ever heard. You have to really admire a guy who has the balls to release a double CD set. Particularly when you're a guy that no one has heard of ever.

This is just one guy and a guitar. One weird guy. One guitar. Oh yeah, I forgot. One directionally-lacking harmonica. Songs like "At Least Leave a Note", "Not Drunk Enough" and "It Sure Is Another Day". Michael McDaeth is a singer-songwriter and as he puts it, "the Mayor of Crazy Town". Each of his songs are almost all made up of one chord progression repeated ad infinitum with his almost stream of consciousness vocals. He shouts out during some songs and mumbles throughout others. He is prone to breaking out into wordless sounds frequently. There are some of the most entertaining songs I've heard in recent memory on this disc. And then there's the liner notes….

I love this record. Then again I may be crazy. Michael McDaeth may be crazy. Maybe you're all crazy. Whatever. 99% of the general population will hate this record. For the other 1%, you owe it to yourself to check out this record. You'll feel strangely better after listening to it. Except when you're not in the mood for it. Then you'll want to scoop out your eyes with an ice cream spoon. God help everybody else.

CD Info and Links

Michael Mcdaeth - Shine in Reverse

Label: Sophisticated Monkey Records
Rating: You can't rate this record. It's brilliant. It's crap. OK OK, if you insist…


The Blank Album (2006)

picture of the blank album

about "the blank album" by Hap Mansfield

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 mcdaeth.com 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.

Song downloads from "the blank album"

more morphine please | everybody's fault | shoo

(To download my songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on the mac you would control-click on the link.)


Dissipation (2009)

picture of dissipation

"Dissipation" (2009)

Song downloads from "Dissipation"

teacup | Long Gone | shit on the motherfuckers

Buy This Car (2008)

picture of buy this car

"Buy this Car" (2008)

Song downloads from "buy this car"

mean mr mustard

(To download my songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on the mac you would control-click on the link.)

The Un-Orchestrated Me (2007)

picture of un-orchestrated me

"The Un-Orchestrated Me" (2007)

Song downloads from "The Un-Orchestrated Me"

Charles Bukowski | not anymore | no baby | do look out the door | just like the old days

(To download my songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on the mac you would control-click on the link.)

Sacred Cow (2002)

picture Sacred Cow

"Sacred Cow" (2002)

Song downloads from Sacred Cow:

Beautiful Slave | Sugar Headache

(To download my songs to your computer - right-click on the link and choose "save link as" from the menu - on the mac you would control-click on the link.)

Group - Weeds (aka Weeds Peterson)
George Beasley - bass
Anthony Houston - drums
Michael McDaeth - guitar, vocals
All Hail the Coming of Weeds (2004)

Weeds Peterson

All Hail the Coming of Weeds

Weeds Peterson's third album All Hail... like their previous effort Fat wasn't officially released but is now available digitally. The boys punch it out as usual; see We're Anonymous or Death by Suicide.

Edie, in Issue 12 of Dig this Real says,"'All Hail the Coming of Weeds', is above exceptional."

Fat (1995)

Weeds Peterson


Press for Weeds

"Weeds Peterson second release, titled "Fat" delivers in a big way. It's crisp poignant lyrics mesh with tight beats to deliver a sound which will be hopelessly categorized as "alternative." In reality, it goes far beyond most of the wind-up toy bands saturating this market.

Michael McDaeth is the poet songwriter, and emotional heart of the band. His songs and gutsy vocals give fathoms of depth to Weeds sound. McDaeth combines the grit and wit in his voice like adding a new instrument. Seamlessly mastered together by bassist and producer, George Beasley, Weeds focuses on the lyrical melodies provided by McDaeth..." -- The University Reporter -- Seattle

"Lead singer/songwriter Michael McDaeth's incredible voicings on these songs push it over the top and kicks this genre back to where it should be. There is not one clam on this CD. Their controlled energy is enough to power all the lights in their home city of Seattle.

Every song has great lyrics, a hook that snags your jaw as if you were a spawning salmon caught unaware and has the bonus of a variety of intrumental virtuosity that never ball hogs. George Beasley is both a talented bass player and a fucking genius at mixing. Anthony Houston's drum work hits your solar plexus with wanton thuds and yet can be as subtle as a heartbeat. They are one of those bands that makes your mouth water at the prospect of hearing them live.

They actually do sound live on this CD in every sense of the word - vital, hard breathing, fresh, pulsepounding, active, real and alert. With so many zombie-like pretenders picking up guitars and spitting out gnarly nonsense, it's quite a treat to hear living flesh and blood guys dispensing the genuine article." -- CAKE Magazine --

Turn You Away (1994)

Weeds Peterson

Turn You Away


"This little classic is going to take some digging to find and once again, I think you will find it worth the search. Popping hooks, yes. Grungy edges, they got 'em. Tunes? Oh yeah. Lyrics? Amazing. But what distinguishes this trio from everybody else on the Pacific Coast (or anywhere else for that matter) is their exquisitely casual attention to detail. Harmonicas waft bluesy smoke through a grungy tune. The sorrowful sweet thread of a mandolin weaves through a pop ballad. And in spite of the folk/grunge bent their instrumental skills shine like a handful of jewels dropped by hasty pirates on the sand of some faraway island.

My suspicion is that these guys can grind you to a pulp live, kind of like Heatmiser mixed with Nirvana and tossed lightly with a bit of Dylan. It will be a real treat when they hit town.


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