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Dead Meadow - Howls From the HIlls CD (album) cover

HOWLS FROM THE HILLS

Dead Meadow

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.00 | 6 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars If you are ever in Columbia, Missouri check out a hole-in-the-wall called Slackers located on their downtown strip. I try to stop every time I travel through there and spend an hour or so trolling through their used CD and album bins. You can find some really great (and sometimes obscure) stuff that mostly comes from the local college student community. That's where I found this CD and bought it with no knowledge whatsoever of the band.

I still don't know much about them, except that they sure love psych fuzz guitar and lazy, sonically ear-pleasing songs. This album was originally released in 2001 on the Tolatta label, which is owned by one of the guys in Fugazi. It is apparently in the process of being reissued with some bonus material, so I assume the guys got signed to a bigger label with decent distribution channels, although I don't know which label.

The influences range from Deep Purple to Butthole Surfers, and probably just about every blues/psych band that ever lived. This album was recorded mostly at a barn in Indiana and has a pretty intense vibe that makes the thing seem a whole lot longer than it really is.

The tracks all kind of flow together fueled by Jason Simon's persistently fuzzed-out guitar and a thudding bass line courtesy of Steve Kille. A couple tracks ("Jusiamere Farm" and "The White Worm") feature a little cello and conga, but mostly this is just heavy psychedelic guitar, bass, drums and vocals.

The lyrics are full of poor grammar, non-sequiters and strange sentiments, which is to say that this is a pretty typical indie-psych offering:

"If I was but a cow that you milked before dawn, what would you say when you came and all my milk was gone?"

and

"I hoped in my heart a fire would start, but the fire I made to keep me from my grave serves to attract the hungry depraved."

Sucks to be you I guess. The more interesting tracks are the longer ones. "The White Worm" has a guitar/bass funk going on that sounds like it was lifted out of 1972, and "One and Old" has some awesome feedback taming that is probably Hendrix- inspired.

The other ear-catching tune is "The One I Don't Know" with a guitar/sitar meandering arrangement that not only varies the tempo of the album for a few minutes, but makes me think these guys have listened to a little Syd Barrett somewhere along the line.

In all a decent record, not great, but certainly done with some amount of energy and enthusiasm for this type of music. Three stars is probably the right place for it, and recommended to psych fans looking for something newer than 1972 to listen to.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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