Dead Meadow Came to Town?
Did you know that a couple of weeks ago, one of the most acclaimed indie rock bands played in our town? A band whose most recent album has earned nothing but kudos for their combination of 70’s hard rock and 60’s psychedelia? A band whose quieter, acoustic side has garnered comparisons to Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away”?
Said band was also featured on one of the final episodes of my favorite television show, The Wire. I’m not talking about background music that is barely heard and quickly forgotten. They even got a name check by the show’s main character in a scene where Officer McNulty asked his kids what they were listening to. (Ok, it’s not topping the charts with a weepy soundtrack ballad, but it’s a pretty big achievement for any up-and-coming band these days.)
The band I’m talking about is Dead Meadow, who released their latest album in early February. It’s an amazing record that is destined to make my year end best of list, and if I had known about the show I would have even put my computer down and ventured out to Nutty’s North.
One would think that a band that’s attracting so much attention would at least have been mentioned in our daily paper. I even went back and searched that week’s link. No, instead the cover story was a feature on a band that had already sold a lot of tickets and had plenty of publicity on local radio. Even without that, they had a built-in audience due to their many earlier appearances in our town.
The only other music item in that issue was the third (or was it fourth) article on a local band who is undeniably making a name for themselves but whose coverage is quickly becoming a bit embarrassing…particularly since there is a family connection to the rag.
So two music stories, neither on this band…and no mention of the show in the listing of events in the back pages. (There wasn’t any ads for the show, either, but that’s the fault of the promoters of the show.)
The problem is simple. The Argus does not have a music writer these days. When Robert Morast left earlier this year, they failed to hire another person for the job. Instead, the food critic (along with occasional contributions by other Argus staffers) have had this burden added to their list of duties.
I understand that a lot of people had issues with Morast’s material. I certainly did at times. But nobody can say that he missed writing on not only the major shows that came to town but the smaller shows that desperately need publicity.
He also, for the most part, would do a bit of research before writing on local shows. Do you realize how embarrassing it is to ask the BoDeans how they were able to get acclaimed producer T-Bone Burnette to work on their latest album when the only album of there’s worth owning was indeed produced by that same person?
Come on, Argus Leader, it’s time to find some money in your entertainment budget and hire a music writer. You could have gotten away with not having somebody on the scene back in the 90’s when there were alternative papers such as the Tempest to inform the hipsters. You’re now the only print outlet that can give us this info, and sometimes losers like me don’t want to miss out on those rare times we get a band that’s not at least five years past their prime.