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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Dead Meadow
Matador Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

May 26, 2005
Dead Meadow is a band I should really get behind. Though I'd be ok if psychedelic jams went the way of the hippie, the Matador stamp of approval goes a long way for me (I am slowly working towards a complete collection of everything they've released, though GBV material alone will last me until I'm 40). I picked up Feathers after reading about their recent addition to the label's family, knowing full well that I would like it no matter what.

Predictably, this was the case for the first two months I listened to the album. I threw it on and felt pretty damned pleased with myself for another solid purchase. I never questioned its quality because that would be like admitting Matador isn't flawless - even after Dizzee Rascal's Showtime, I wasn't about to admit anything of the sort.

After a brief respite from Feathers, I realize the record doesn't offer much with subsequent plays. The first few times you hear "Let's Jump In," the main riff sounds trippy and expansive, and the second time you hear it, it sounds even better. However, going back after ten or so listens, I'm not catching what I once heard; I'm straining to hear the genius that captured my attention immediately, which has me second-guessing if I ever heard it at all. By now "Let's Jump In" bores me within three minutes, and I don't always feel like sticking around for the guitar squeals that will eventually wrap up the song.

The moderate psych-rock is remarkably consistent - maybe too consistent. I like Jason Simon's strained, echoed vocals, I like the throbbing rhythm section and I like the meticulous guitar plucking. At the same time, it would be nice to get a few breaks from this type of song. "Such Hawks Such Hounds" sounds like "Let It Pass," which also sounds like "Eyeless Gaze All Eye/Don't Tell the Riverman." These songs embody the Dead Meadow aesthetic of brooding, strung out riffage, but the weirder moments on the CD are the ones that keep me coming back: "Get Up On Down" is more vocally driven with an opener that would frighten the heartiest of Deerhoof fans, "Through the Gates of the Sleepy Silver Door" is nothing more than a drum roll for 2 minutes. The psychedelic genre requires a good chunk of freak-out material. Isn't the whole point to recreate an erratic and unpredictable drug experience?

Despite all of this, I would and have recommended Feathers to friends. There are enough interesting things going on throughout the album to keep it fresh for several listens. Who knows, maybe I'm just going through some growing pains as I become accustomed to Dead Meadow's hypnotic gaze, or maybe I'll suddenly develop a craving for pot brownies and spaced-out melodies. Either way, I'll be keeping this within reach.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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