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The first incarnation of the Milwaukee, WI-based Modern Machines was a punk band from nearby Washington County called the Shrubbers, which consisted of singer/guitarist Nato Paisano, bassist Dan Z, drummer Jon Hands-On, and at the beginning, guitarist Ben J. Oihawk. In 1999, Nato and Ben moved to Milwaukee to attend college, and were soon joined by Dan and Jon. Through the Shrubbers broke up in 2000, Ben and Nato were still writing songs together, albeit with a poppier bent, and decided to start the Modern Machines, bringing in their old bandmates to complete the group. They played their first show in January 2001, and their debut, Thwap!, came out in 2003 on New Disorder Records. Though Ben left the group in early 2005 to join the Peace Corps, the band still managed to issue its second album, Taco Blessing, actually a 12" EP, later in the year. After going through a few more guitarists, the Modern Machines released Take It, Somebody in 2006 on Dirtnap as a three-piece group.