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Punk/Power Pop

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Dead Meadow | review | rock | Lollipop

Dead Meadow

by Brian Varney

Ever heard of the Jap psych label PSF? I'm betting the guys in Dead Meadow have. PSF was around in the '80s (maybe it still is, I honestly don't know) and hosted great obscure bands like White Heaven and High Rise who worship at the twin alters of Blue Cheer and the Stooges. That last line's prolly got you thinking they're gonna sound like Mudhoney, right? Well, no. Though both Mudhoney and High Rise base the majority of their musical vocabulary on the recorded output of those two bands, they focus on very different facets. While Mudhoney concentrates on the punk snarl and garage rock thunder of, say, Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues," the PSF bands are more interested in the drug-induced swirl/drone of the Stooges' "Fun House" (the song).

Which brings me, kinda, to Dead Meadow. They sound like they might be on PSF. The album's sound is very rudimentary (sounds like it was recorded in a basement or garage), but it kinda works for their sound. The vocals are a bit tentative for my taste, but as long as they throw in the occasional "I'm gonna stand on my wah pedal for ten minutes" interlude, I can tolerate wimpy vox. The band's loose and sloppy, but not enough to put you off. This sorta thing has to have a bit sloshing over the rim of the glass to really work, and these guys understand that.
I'd like to tell you more about the album, naming specific tunes that I like, but the truth is that I can't because I had to sell the disc. I was so enamored with the numb, prickly feeling the songs instilled in me that I had to buy some Percocets, and believe me, they don't come cheap. I didn't think to write the song titles down, so you're gonna have to take my word for it when I say that there are some good ones.

I can still remember the cover, which looks like a wood carving of some sort but is all blurry and swirly and pretty cool. I looked at it for awhile when I first got it. It made me think of drugs too. I looked at it 'til my eyes closed and I woke up in a meadow full of nothing. Now it makes sense but it's too late. I'm out of Percocet and I need another copy of this album.
(PO Box 4412 Arlington, VA 22204)


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