Dead Meadow formed in 1998 from the remnants of two local DC bands, The Impossible Five and Colour. The band started as Jason Simon on vocals and guitar, Steve Kille on bass, and Mark Laughlin on drums. They attempted to combine 70s hard rock and 60s psychedelic rock with themes from authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and H. P. Lovecraft. The first album, Dead Meadow, was released in 2000 on Tolotta Records, a label run by Fugazi bassist Joe Lally. The LP version was released by Planaria Records. This was quickly followed by 2001's Howls from the Hills, also released on Tolotta Records.
In Spring 2002, Laughlin parted ways with the band in order to pursue a career as a lawyer. He was replaced by Stephen McCarty. A live album, Got Live If You Want It, was released in mid-2002, which was followed by a Peel Sessions recording in Fugazi's studio, the first time a Peel Session was recorded outside the BBC studios. In early 2003 the band signed with Matador Records and released Shivering King and Others. Along with the heavy rockers and bluesy numbers as on the previous two records, the band went deeper into the psychedelic realm, with chiming acoustic touches and lovely, disorienting ballads. With the addition of second guitarist Cory Shane and beautifully spacious production, Feathers opens up the Dead Meadow sound still further, seeming at once more experimental and more accessible than anything they’ve recorded thus far. The record captures the famous intensity of their live show, but songs like "At Her Open Door" and "Stacy’s Song" reveal an obsessive beauty as jarring as sheer volume. Simon’s guitar virtuosity is at its peak, as influenced by the droning modal character of Eastern music as by classic rock riffs. Jason Simon is the nephew of The Wire creator David Simon. Dead Meadow's music was used briefly in an episode of The Wire.
As of 2007 the band has reverted back to a three piece, made an appearance at the 5th annual Green Man Festival in Crickhowell, Wales and has relocated from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, California.
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