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The first three Meat Puppets albums were the holy trinity of my delayed adolescence, as important and formative an experience as quaaludes with lapsed Amishmen or pot with pig farmers. The band’s first LP was a breakneck joy ride of twisted hayseed punk; the second, a more contemplative work of cowpunk genius that was as timeless as it was out of tune; and the third, a glorious fusion of hardcore rhythms and desert psychedelia. Together, they constituted a mind-blowing end run around the midfield pileup of bruising hardcore conformity—not to mention a blissed-out yes in the face of straight-edge’s firm no. Behind the Puppets’ music was Curt Kirkwood, whose Jerry Garcia-like guitar heroics, long hair, and predilection for playing Led Zep covers live made him the most unlikely hardcore hero who ever lived. And though the Puppets have had their ups and downs, Kirkwood has come as close as anybody (since Gram Parsons) to truly creating a cosmic American music. He plays with Buffalo Tom guitarist Bill Janovitz at 8:30 p.m. at IOTA, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $13. (703) 522-8340. (Michael Little)