Release Date: Feb 5, 2008
Record label: Matador
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
It sounds as if a recent move from Washington to California may have had a significant influence on the neo-psychedelic trio’s sound. Their latest moves slightly away from the spacey and suffocating density of older material in favour of a lighter and noticeably sunnier approach, while still maintaining the overall ethereal effect their songs tend to garner. Instead of heavy blues and otherworldly stoned-out quasi-Sabbath moments, Old Growth walks a line between instantly accessible and likeable songs like I’m Gone and What Needs Must Be and the successful experimentation of the Eastern-influenced Seven Seers.
Dead Meadow's fifth studio album, and their third for Matador Records, was recorded in two locations: Sunset Sound, a 50-year-old studio on the Sunset Strip, rumored to be haunted by Jim Morrison's ghost, and in a restored abandoned Indiana guest house next door to the farmhouse of drummer Stephen McCarty's parents -- where the band first recorded Howls from the Hills. Potential for a doomy throwback to their early works seemed high, with the latter space boasting 14-foot ceilings perfect for massive drum reverb, old cupboards, and closets for isolation rooms, and surrounding a bottom-lit brick well in the center of the kitchen to make shadows dance while mysterious ghost stories circulated about the shack. As legend has it, a park ranger who rented the secluded space prior to the recording pulled his gun on hand prints that were making their way towards him across the carpet in the middle of the night, and supposedly, as a result of the eerie environment, if you listen carefully, you can hear paranormal sounds bleeding through on some of the guitar tracks, along with footsteps and violin noises coming from nowhere.
Old Growth is the sixth full length album from Dead Meadow, and the first one I’ve spent any substantial time with. This isn’t due to a predisposed prejudice against them, but mostly because the quest to work my way backwards through all of Joe Walsh’s solo records is taking longer than I thought it would. And hell, there are only so many hours in the week with which to stay on top of the new jams, as it were.