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Will someone tell me when the hell Tripping Daisy became the most influential alternative band of the last decade? The nicest thing that the 1997 Trouser Press Guide to ’90s Rock had to say was that the guys were “confused, but intermittently entertaining.” Yet here we are in 2004 with two hyped, major-label bands that branch off from Tripping Daisy: the Polyphonic Spree and the Secret Machines. Though they both peddle what passes for psychedelic music these days, the Secret Machines should be lauded for not wearing those creepy Jonestown choir robes and singing songs about playing Hacky Sack with the sun. The Machines have been likened to Pink Floyd, but I must insist that a band needs more than nine-minute songs about dystopias to earn such a reference. The stuff is pretty and spacey, but it doesn’t live up to the buzz. Don’t give up hope, though—maybe the dudes from Eve’s Plum are doing something new. The Secret Machines play with the Helio Sequence and Neil Hamburger at 9:30 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (David Dunlap Jr.)