55 / 5
Dusty Notes is the best album the Meat Puppets have put out since 1994’s “Too High to Die”. The return of original drummer Derrick Bostrom, the addition of keyboardist Ron Stabinsky, and some great guitar work by son/nephew Elmo Kirkwood has seemed to elevate Curt and Cris Kirkwood’s genius to new heights! The opening track “Warranty”, is a country/psychedelic masterpiece. Other highlights include “Nine Pins”, with it’s carnivalesque keyboards, the title track, “Dusty Notes”, which features a mariachi feel during the chorus, a great cover of “Sea of Heartbreak”, and the hauntingly beautiful “Nightcap”. They even throw in a song “Vampyr’s Winged Fantasy”, which harkens back to the heaviness of the “Monsters” album. Not a clunker on this one. I highly recommend it!
Bizarre and fantastic
55 / 5
With Dusty Notes, the Meat Puppets are reunited with their original drummer, Derrick Bostrom for the first time in over 20 years. However, no longer a trio, their sound is further bolstered by the 2nd guitarist; Curt’s son Elmo Kirkwood and Ron Stabinsky on keyboards.
Although the Meat Puppets will undoubtedly never replicate the visceral stripped down sound of their 80’s SST Records days, it’s for the best. Dusty Notes is extremely well crafted and layered, a bizarrely psychedelic country rock that only they can deliver. It’s funny; while each Puppets album has its own unquestionably unique flavor, they somehow keep the same feeling moving from album to album. Dusty Notes has a decidedly country theme throughout, drawing on frontman Curt Kirkwood’s love of classic George Jones/Hank Williams country gentlemen, as evidenced in songs like Nine Pins, On, and Sea of Heartbreak. Yet simultaneously, the keyboards in this particular outing go a long way in separating it from its predecessors; often sounding like horns, harpsichords, a classic whirly organ and other interesting sounds, adding to the uniqueness of this album. Some songs have a somewhat harder alternative edge than others; Vampyr’s Winged Fantasy almost sounds like a holdover from their last major release in the 90’s, No Joke. But all have the signature Kirkwood sound, stemming from Curt’s way of creating a mood with interesting chord progressions and his sultry voice.
I must admit that I adore this band and may be a bit biased, but if you haven’t exposed yourself to them, they really have a sound and style that no one else has ever really matched. I was extremely impressed with this album, despite high expectations and I highly recommend anyone try it out.