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Dead Meadow

March 22, Neurolux


It's easy to limit yourself to liking bands that don't exist anymore. Their major works have aged well, and you even like their flawed later works in a patriotic way, even if you don't listen to those so much. And, thanks to digital file-sharing, you can find enough rare demo, live and studio-outtake versions of just about any famous band's golden era to preserve some meager sense of discovery and excitement.

That's nice, but as a fan of many dead musicians, I contend it's sometimes also important not to know how the story ends. That's why, right now, my favorite band extant is the Washington, D.C., four-piece Dead Meadow. They put out their incredible self-titled debut album six years ago (just re-released with a bonus track), and after their four additional records and a soon-to-be-released Peel Sessions performance, I'm more excited about a band's future than I've been since Radiohead about a dozen years ago.

As for the tunes themselves, the frequent comparisons to Black Sabbath are inevitable because Jason Simon's riffs are so bleeding loud, and he uses guitar effects more freely than almost any player I've heard. Likewise, the lyrics he slowly bleats in a whiny, high-pitched voice contain enough Biblical-sounding language and Lord of the Rings references to put the band squarely in the myth-rock hall of fame alongside Led Zeppelin, Sabbath and Hawkwind.

But the similarities have limits. Through the wonders of distortion, even Dead Meadow's loudest songs aren't heavy in that bombastic, early '70s kind of way. They're heavy like a summer fog: balmy, disarming and without a hint of aggression. Simon and new guitarist Cory Shane sound like they're sitting down while they play. They don't want to scare us or smash us; they just want to dig a big, deep groove for us all to hang out in for a while.

--Nicholas Collias

Thur., March 22, 9 p.m., $5, with Kris Doty. Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., 208-343-0886,