Posts Tagged ‘Black Mountain’

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The rock canon has many anti-heroes, Black Mountain being the latest. In the past, Can’s ‘Tago Mago’ established that the only rule in rock and roll is that there are no rules. Delinquent proto-metallers Black Sabbath demonstrated that you can make a lot from not that much. Now Black Mountain teach us that you don’t have to be afraid of the past to move bravely into the future

This single continues in the vein of last record Destroyer, with a more mechanized, sterile ’80s sound, with a b-side more in the ’70s freak rock style of the earlier albums. “Echoes” was kicking ‘round for years before Randall Dunn took the IV production reins and transformed it from its original Gene Clark tailcoating.
The b-side, “Flux”, is Black Mountain’s Turkish psych homage. It’s original title may have been Flounders In A Turkish Bathhouse.”

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Released May 1st, 2020

In early 2003 a young Steve McBean was living in Vancouver and in the midst of a transition from his sorely overlooked rock band Jerk With A Bomb into an auspicious new chapter. JWAB was his umpteenth band in as many years woodshedding as both a front-man and a supporting musician in countless punk & hard core bands in the Canadian wilds starting in his teens and going through his twenties. JWAB was arguably the band in which he’d finally found his signature singing voice and started collaborating with drummer Joshua Wells and vocalist Amber Webber.

Around this time his friend Dan Bejar (Destroyer, New Pornographers) sent to Jagjaguwar a demo tape of new songs that Steve had been writing. He wasn’t sure if it they were JWAB songs or something new entirely. The songs were randy & ribald, with a primitive drum machine beat and a Bo Diddley guitar swagger. They were scintillating and taught us things that our parents were too scared to teach. These were the demos for the songs that would be re-recorded as the debut album by Pink Mountaintops, a sister project to the other McBean-fronted rock band that was being born at the same time — Black Mountain. This was an exciting time not only for McBean — who was bubbling with songs & ideas — but a turning point for Jagjaguwar, thrilled to sign two of its most significant projects simultaneously.

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We’re very pleased to be able to share these first demos which bred so much inspiration and provided a horny clarion call for things to come.

released May 1, 2020

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Black Mountain’s Stephen McBean turned 16 after Woodstock but before Varg started burning down Norwegian churches. And yet, until just two short years ago, McBean had lived his entire adolescence and adult life without a proper driver’s license, that first and most coveted ticket to personal independence. When he did finally take the wheel in 2017, he essentially became a Sixteen Year Old for the first time, blowing out the doors off the DMV like a pyrotechnics display at a W.A.S.P. gig. Black Mountain’s new album, “Destroyer”, named after the discontinued single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, is imbued with all that wild-ass freedom and newfound agency (and anxiety and fear) that comes with one’s first time behind the wheel. McBean, welding mask pulled over his Alan Watts beard, has even been rebuilding a 1985 Destroyer in his step-dad’s garage all spring — building it from its frame, putting in weekends of work to have this beast ready for sunnier days. And wouldn’t you know it: when the Destoyer’s engine gives its deep snarl and the stereo rattles with Metallica’s $5.98 EP, McBean is fully in the driver’s seat.

Destroyer is structured around that first time behind the wheel of a hot rod. The fat, charging “Living After Midnight” riffs of opener “Future Shade” is, according to McBean, “Straight outta the gates. FM radio cranked.” He ain’t kidding. The song, and all of Destroyer for that matter, seems to exist at that crucial nexus of the early-to-mid 80s Los Angeles when a war between punk and hair metal was waged. Black Flag’s My War tried and failed to keep the peace. The heavy extended player “Horns Arising,” with its Night Rider vocals and golden, climbing Blade Runner synths, is a fill-up at a desert gas station just in time to see a UFO hovering near a mesa.

And other songs, like The serpentine “Boogie Lover” is a cruise down the Sunset Strip. You pull into The Rainbow Bar & Grill to take the edge off. Doesn’t matter what year it is, Lemmy’s there in flesh or spirit. To continue the teenage theme, there’s also a sense of to these cuts — “High Rise” is a foray into Japanese psych, rounding the bend to a careening, youthful sense of discovery, while “Closer to the Edge” feeling like falling in love with Yes (Remember how good they were for a minute there in your youth?). “Licensed to Drive” would easily be the most exhilarating and dangerous ripper on a titular film’s soundtrack, a dose of heavy right before the muscle car’s wheels fly off going 100 mph on the freeway.

Shacked up in his rehearsal space, McBean found an old chair in an alley, spray painted Producer on the back and pressed record. Friends from the endless rock’n’roll highway were invited over and 22 songs were brought to life. And while some were laid back into shallow graves to dig up once again at a later date, the remaining skeletons were left above ground — given organs, skin, eyes, and the opportunity to grow their hair real long and greasy. Some of these zombie hesher jams were sent on a journey to Canada where longtime band member Jeremy Schmidt, slipping on the Official Collaborator satin jacket, had at them with his legendary synth arsenal. As he added long flowing robes, sunglasses, driving gloves and medallions, the undead songs began to transform into the new breathing creatures that make up Destroyer. Schmidt’s work with these songs was the needed transformative glue for this new era of Black Mountain.

Coming off his newfound automotive freedom, McBean also saw some personnel shuffling within Black Mountain. Both Joshua Wells and Amber Webber have retired their Black Mountain Army uniforms while Arjan Miranda paid his outstanding membership dues and rejoined. New members include Rachel Fannan (Sleepy Sun) and Adam Bulgasem (Dommengang & Soft Kill) plus other familiar names like Kliph Scurlock (Flaming Lips), Kid Millions (Oneida), and John Congleton (St Vincent, Swans) take a turn in the shotgun seat. Collectively, there’s a renewed vitality to Black Mountain on Destroyer — a seasoned, veteran of heady hard rock that’s found new, young muscles to flex and roads to explore.

Black Mountain – “Licensed To Drive” from the new album ‘Destroyer,’ out May 24, 2019 on Jagjaguwar  Records.

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We invited one of our favourite bands and it is straight up rock and roll. Their album “IV” is nasty and beautiful with its groovy old-school Sabbath feel and symphony of synthesizers. Black Mountain elevated the House into another dimension.

SETLIST:

0:00 Mothers Of The Sun 9:00 Florian Saucer Attack 12:20 Don’t Run Our Hearts Around 19:35 Space To Bakersfield

The Strombo Show and House of Strombo reflects the beautiful and the badass of Canada’s diverse cultural landscape. There are no boundaries, with the gamut running from Aretha Franklin to Slayer and everything in between.

Band Members
Stephen McBean – Guitar/Vocals
Amber Webber – Vocals
Jeremy Schmidt – Keyboards
Colin Cowan – bass, keyboards
Joshua Wells – Drums/Keys

Vancouver-birthed psych-rock greats Black Mountain haven’t released a proper studio album since 2010’s Wilderness Heart , but their latest album this year comes bearing the appropriately-epic title IV.

Every music note cast by Black Mountain instantly turns to gold and no, this is not a statement that is up for debate. Very few bands can start their album with an eight-and-a-half minute song and keep you completely glued to it for every last millisecond of this album’s 56 minutes. Songs like “Florian Saucer Attack” possesses a sound that countless bands are trying to emulate, but none of them can do it justice quite like Black Mountain. It’s a testament to what they are: a true rock band, through and through