Local Wire

Meat Puppets @ The Clubhouse Music Venue

The Meat Puppets are rightly considered legends by just about everyone in Arizona. The band's records for SST are generally regarded as classics, unique keepsakes from a time when the band's blend of psychedelic rock, dusty country, and punk rock was inspiring guys like Kurt Cobain, who famously covered a couple of the band's songs on Nirvana's Unplugged in New York, with Puppets founders Cris and Curt Kirkwood playing along, no less. The band had a major-label hit with "Backwater" and used the attention to tack a cover of mythic Phoenix punkers The Feederz' "Fuck You" onto the song's single, a demonstration of their outsider cred, even as their tune dominated commercial radio. Not the least of their accomplishments, the band provided New Times with a pretty sweet name for its music blog, Up on the Sun, named for the band's third record. But you probably knew all that. The real story is that the band's latest album, Lollipop, loaded with jangly tracks like "Damn Thing" and the fuzz-bass-driven rocker "Orange," is more than just a new record from old legends; it's a collection of tunes that actually succeeds on its own merits, rocking in present tense and not beholden to the ghost of former glories.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.