Dead Meadow continue their retro heavy-psych shuffle | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Dead Meadow continue their retro heavy-psych shuffle

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This heavy-psych band from Washington, D.C., caused a stir when they released their self-titled debut album in 2000: they seemed to have tapped a vein of blues-based trippy rock from the early 70s that had lingered underground in its purest form while the genre was mined and embellished by innovators such as Deep Purple, Hawkwind, and Uriah Heep. Dead Meadow had a successful stint on Matador Records, releasing pitch-perfect instant museum pieces Old Growth and Shivering King and Others (and others), before founding their own label, Xemu, in 2010. Since rock trends are so cyclical, sometimes retro is prescient—and throughout every change in label or lineup, Dead Meadow have rammed on through the waves like a very stubborn ghost ship out of the past sailing a straight line through a sea of bongwater. Last year’s The Nothing They Need (Xemu) was a reunion of sorts, bringing back all the former members (at various times, they’ve had three or four) to orbit the core duo of guitarist Jason Simon and bassist Steve Kille. Dead Meadow’s streamlined riffy shuffle has a melancholy bite throughout all the album’s leisurely tracks—but in their hash den, some of the pillows have spikes, and in their space-truckin’ travels, sometimes rogue black holes go on the prowl to devour the unwary.   v

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