They released their six-song debut album in 1999 on Fugazi
bassist Joe Lally
's Tolotta Records
and a joint vinyl release on D.C. indie label Planaria Records
. In 2001, the band released its second and third albums, Howls from the Hills and Dead Meadow, on Tolotta
. Within a relatively short period, the D.C. trio received offers to tour with everyone from local D.C. hipsters the Make-Up
to seedy psychedelic rockers Brian Jonestown Massacre
; eventually, they landed the opening slot for high-profile indie veterans Guided by Voices
. The group was also invited to record live for longtime cutting-edge British radio personality John Peel for BBC Radio 1. Got Live If You Want It! arrived in 2002; that year, the band lost Laughlin and found a new drummer in Stephen McCarty.
The band moved to Matador
for 2003's breakthrough Shivering King and Others, one of their best-focused efforts to date. Cory Shane joined the band in time for 2005's Feathers, a more melodic set that turned up Dead Meadow's folk and psychedelic influences. The band embraced a harder attack on its fifth studio album, Old Growth, which followed in 2007. In 2010, Dead Meadow released Three Kings, a live album and concert film in the tradition of The Song Remains the Same. Later that same year, an Australian tour was announced that would include original drummer Mark Laughlin, eventually developing into a full-on reunion tour of the U.S. and Europe and Laughlin's official return to the band as 2011 began. The group spent a long, patient time self-producing and recording 2013's epic double-album-length release Warble Womb, the first Dead Meadow album made by the all-original lineup since 2001.
The reunion of the original lineup didn't last long, as Laughlin left the group, with Juan Londono taking over on drums. In 2017, Xemu Records
released The Peel Sessions, a six-song set recorded in 2000 in Arlington, Virginia -- the only Peel Session to be recorded outside of the U.K. -- and originally issued as a limited-edition vinyl-only release. March 2018 saw the release of The Nothing They Need, a relatively contemplative set that gave the noisy but folky side of their personality a hearing. ~ Rick Kutner & Mark Deming, Rovi