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Dead Meadow

OK, so what if Dead Meadow only has one song? How many did Black Sabbath have? The DC trio is as heavy as a Cadillac, while harnessing a hell of a lot more power. And if you've been communing with Old Mother Herb lately, you'll find few things sweeter than the epic psych swirl of Jason Simon's guitar.

In fact, Dead Meadow's "one song" is actually an entire sonic landscape that can't be mistaken for anyone else's work. The essential elements: a monster low-end, thick, swirling, psychedelic guitar riffs, and Simon's moody, oddly airy, reverb-swathed vocal musings. Dead Meadow is clearly working within the heavy rock tradition, playing off the achievements of Sabbath and Zep as well as the spaciness of Floyd, but their sound wouldn't be possible without the seething walls of noise thrown up by the shoegazer boys at the end of the '80s. Anyway, if you're looking for music that'll transport somewhere you've never been, Dead Meadow is definitely your ticket.

The trio, which also features bassist Steve Kille and drummer Stephen McCarty, came up through the DC punk scene (Simon and Kille used to play in the excellent post-punk band The Impossible Five), but in 1998 they cast those sounds aside in favor of the dark, enchanted world of Dead Meadow. Their 2000 self-titled debut and their 2001 follow-up Howls from the Hills, both on Fugazi bassist Joe Lally's Tolotta label, were ultra-sludgy lo-fi affairs that saw the band figuring out its unique blend of bluesy stoner rock, spacey instrumental ambience, and dense otherworldly psych. With 2003's Shivering King and Others, their Matador Records debut, the trio has got it down. It's a potent hour-long rock and roll hallucination and without a doubt one of the best records of the year.

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