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Dead Meadow

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Album Review

In Dead Meadow's universe, the wah-wah pedal is just as important as the guitar itself, and both are clearly more important than any sort of vocals. In fact, at first listen, singer/guitarist Jason Simon's barely audible whine puts the band's eponymous debut in some jeopardy before it has a chance to get underway. Coupled with the all-too-sluggish haze through which early tracks "Sleepy Silver Door" and "Indian Bones" slowly drift into focus, it may scare off many listeners before they can discover the secret of Dead Meadow's true appeal. First hinted at by the sweet, acoustic simplicity of "At the Edge of the Wood" (where the singer redeems himself with a gentle, much more effective Neil Young-like delivery), this subsequently takes shape via Simon's inspired guitar work. Displaying a subtle but nevertheless formidable control of tone and feedback, the guitarist creates a hypnotic wash of sound akin to a softcore Hendrix. Having figured out this small mystery, open-minded stoner rock enthusiasts can then appreciate the laid-back perfection of the album's stellar second half. The beautifully chiming notes of "Dragonfly" and the stunning, eyes-closed, head-swaying vertigo induced by "Greensky Greenlake" merely set the stage for the disc's central tour de force, the sublime, lazy epic "Beyond the Fields We Know." Over its nine-minute swirl, the song's swimming waves of lysergic grooves qualify it as the direct offspring of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter." As "Rocky Mountain High" (not the John Denver hippie-lite standard) draws the record to a close with one of its heaviest, darkest moments, one gets the feeling that Dead Meadow's vision isn't yet fully realized — but there's plenty here to suggest that the final destination is within sight. [This edition features bonus CD-ROM material.]

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Washington, D.C.

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Dead Meadow's unique marriage of Sabbath riffs, dreamy layers of guitar-fuzz bliss, and singer Jason Simon's high-pitched melodic croon have won over psychedelic pop/rock and stoner rock fans alike. Although the band's members met while attending all-ages shows in and around Washington, D.C.'s punk/indie scene, the trio draws more of its sound from such classic rock legends as Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. The trio formed in the fall of 1998 out of the ashes of local indie rock bands the Impossible...
Full Bio
Dead Meadow, Dead Meadow
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