Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Rebirth Of A Dead Meadow
I'm a massive fan of psychedelic rock music of all kinds, but especially the heavier, dirgier kind. I think the genesis of this may have come with discovering Led Zeppelin with my dad (who, whilst not a musical aficionado, did also introduce me to Johnny Cash, Australian Crawl, The Boss and 'Brothers In Arms' era Dire Straits, which I still have a soft spot for). The first album I can recall truly grabbing me in this mould though was The Warlocks' Rise & Fall, which was playing at the old Rockinghorse Records store PA back in 2002 (and a record very close to my heart). I've been a hapless acolyte ever since...
I haven't had the pleasure of bathing in the cavernous dirge of Jason Simon and his Dead Meadow brethren as yet - but again I have a sort of origin story for these guys too. Before wholesale piracy was passe, I remember being stuck out in the middle of nowhere in 2003 (Roma, Queensland to be exact) on my first stationed education position with nothing to do, so I delved into Amazon's then music website, CDNow. I discovered some pretty amazing things that year through that thing (Neutral Milk Hotel, Explosions In The Sky, Mono, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead), one of them also being Dead Meadow's third LP Shivering Kings & Others. From there it was The Black Angels, Black Mountain - further down the spiral I would go.
As the years have gone by I have drifted somewhat from the "lightening" of Dead Meadow's aesthetic - despite the excellence of Feathers (2005), 2008's Old Growth didn't grab me at all, whilst I only gave 2010's Three Kings a cursory once-over. I have to say though that new album Warble Womb is a true return to form (some people will strenuously argue that the form never dissipated - whatever). Certainly more sonorous and less kosmiche than compatriots Wooden Shjips, Dead Meadow does have the same propensity for creating a cyclical, familiar groove that permeates their records - Warble Womb is no exception. But when you have the lackadaisical, off-kilter wooze of a track like 'Mr Chesty' or a roiling magma purge like 'This Song Is Over', you can't deny the trio's inimitable power. And this might be a bit of cribbing (who doesn't in this genre?), but 'I'm Cured' sounds like the sun-blasted paisley malaise of The Warlocks - full circle.
They aren't mellowing out so much as becoming one with their mystical powers, and Warble Womb may be the moment that I fuse with them. They are still masters of the domain, after all...
Warble Womb is out through their Xemu Records label - I have no idea where to get it. Hassle them I guess? But never fear. Stream the entire record here.