The Meat Puppets

They were among the first punks to go Americana. Like The Blasters dipped in acid and sun-baked by the Arizona heat, The Meat Puppets play cosmic country and blues, ranging from ambling, psych-singed instrumentals to effervescing folk jangle, led by Curt Kirkwood's warbling baritone. While their first album primarily favored hardcore punk, they quickly abandoned that approach for their signature cow-psych boogie, authoring a trio of absolute classic albums in the mid-'80s. The approbation of Kurt Cobain in his band's MTV Unplugged set and a major-label deal helped 1994's Too High to Die go gold, but touring with hard-partying Stone Temple Pilots (see: Scott Weiland) turned bassist Cris Kirkwood into a heroin and coke addict. His brother forged on without him for a decade releasing the Puppets' Golden Eyes in 2000, and a solo album, Snow, in '05. Curt also played in Eyes Adrift and Volcano before reuniting the Puppets in 2006 with Cris, who was newly clean from a two-year stretch in the joint. Like an aging superstar, 2007's comeback Rise to Your Knees has them rounding into form for May's crackling, infectious Sewn Together, whose hooks and high spirits hark back to their '80s heyday.

 
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