Meat Puppets Supporting Dave Grohl and Sound City Players at SXSW


March 12, 2013

Meat Puppets have released a stream for “Down,” the first single from their 14th studio album, Rat Farm, out April 16 on Megaforce Records. Click here to listen. The album features the brothers’ almost-there harmonies, latticed guitar work and the sort of mind-bending psychedelic sound that cements their contribution to the cosmic country genre, stretching back to the Louvin Brothers and beyond. The legendary desert punks have announced their SXSW appearances, including the opening slot for Dave Grohl and the Sound City Players on Thursday, March 14 at Stubb’s in Austin at Grohl’s invitation. The live band consists of the Kirkwood brothers, singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood and bassist Cris Kirkwood with drummer Shandon Sahm and new addition on second guitar, Elmo Kirkwood (Curt’s son).

The 12 original tracks on Rat Farm are confident and colorful with the playfully droll, surreal lyrics that have become a Puppets trademark. It’s a strong statement from a band entering its fourth decade of a career that’s been legendary since they exploded on the ’80s underground punk scene. They came from a scene that was DIY from cradle to grave and has shaped American musical culture ever since. To this day, they’ve remained true to that ethic, continuing to call the shots on their career. Rat Farm finds producer, songwriter and arranger Curt Kirkwood constructing — in his words — “real blown-up folk music.”

“I tried to write stuff that would stand on its own, just the chords and the melodies, and play it kind of straight,” he says of the songs on Rat Farm. “I think that was the guiding boundary that I gave myself. It was one of those things where a lot of times, in the past especially, Cris would go, ‘Well, that’s all there is? Let’s put a prog rock part in the middle.’ But I tried to hold off as much as I could.”

Following SXSW, the Meat Puppets will tour Southern and Eastern US markets from March 28 through April 13. They’ll perform in Panama on March 23 and then travel to Primavera Festival in Barcelona on May 25 for the ATP-curated stage where they will join up with Band of Horses, Nick Cave, My Bloody Valentine, and Dead Can Dance. This date is repeated in Lisbon May 31 and then the Puppets join Mudhoney for a week-long UK tour ending in June 8.

Click to stream “Down” from Rat Farm: