Black Mountain Archive

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Black Mountain – Mary Lou – free mp3

After blowing us off our feet with the taught, hooked and stoned riff-fest that was Wilderness Heart, Canadian rockers Black Mountain are back to their more droning, experimental ways with “Mary Lou”. We’re not sure if this unwound, psych jam signals a return to form, or if it’s just something they happened to pull together for that film, Year Zero, that they scored recently. But we’re always stoked to hear something new from these dudes…

Black Mountain – “Mary Lou” by Jagjaguwar

(Fader)

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Black Mountain announce LP of unreleased material


There aren’t many (active) rock bands left that we freak out about, but Black Mountain is one of them. The Canadian rockers knocked us out of our seats last year with the mighty Wilderness Heart (which, by the way, made our list of Top-25 Albums last year), but they’ve been laying pretty low in 2011. So we’re stoked to hear they’re scoring a new, post-apocalyptic surf video, Year Zero (trailer below).

No, the band isn’t writing new material, instead they’re pulling together a bunch of unreleased stuff for Year Zero soundtrack. And if you want to hear it, you’ll need a record player. Fortunately, Jagjaguwar records is only releasing the soundtrack on vinyl (sometime in January). Awesome. Hm. Where have I heard this before? Oh, that’s right, another one of our fav rock bands, White Denim, pulled a similar stunt with Jack White’s Third Man Records back in September.

Anyway, in other Black Mountain-related news, frontman Steve McBean’s Pink Mountaintops side project is back in the studio. A new record should be out next summer. In the meantime, catch them on tour this fall. Dates below the video…

YEAR ZERO TRAILER from GLOBE on Vimeo.

Pink Mountaintops Fall 2011 Tour Dates
10/26 San Francisco, CA – The Independent+
10/28 Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst +
10/29 San Luis Obispo, CA – Kahlo Cultural Center
11/3 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
11/5 Los Angeles, CA
11/11 Porto, PT – TBA
11/12 Lisbon, PT – ZDB
11/14 Madrid, SP – El Sol
11/16 Rome, IT – Init
11/17 Napoli, IT – Galeria 19
11/18 Ravenna, IT – Bronson Club
11/19 Brescia, IT – Vinile 45
11/20 Dudingen, CH – Bad Bonn
11/22 Vienna, AT – Arena
11/23 Prague, CZ – Alternativa Festival
11/24 Berlin, DE – Schokoladen
11/25 Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who? Festival
11/26 Brussels, BE – Autumn Falls Festival
11/27 Paris, FR – Point FMR
11/28 London, UK – Lexington

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Best Albums of 2010 [15-6]


25-16 15-6 5-1

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15. Dom
Sun Bronzed Greek Gods

Dom gets high marks for coming up with a fresh rock sound on their debut EP, “Sun Bronzed Greek Gods”. Somehow, the lads have put together a sound that falls somewhere on the heavy side of the spectrum between glo-fi (like Neon Indian, Washed Out) and indie rock.

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14. Tweak Bird
Self Titled

Imagine the Black Keys traded in their Robert Johnson records for Black Sabbath’s catalog and started smoking pot out of a four-foot bong. The result would probably sound a lot like Carbondale, Illinois’ Tweak Bird

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13. Alain Johannes
Spark

Usually when a mad genius with a passion for all stringed instruments locks himself in a recording studio, the resulting album is long and complicated (boring). But on Alain Johannes’ debut solo recording, “Spark”, the product is short, spare and darkly inspiring.

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12. Crystal Castles
II

On the Crystal Castles sophomore effort (um, “II”, shall we call it?) the synths are more heavily layered and menacing, the vocals are more shredded and the beats pound with more attitude. But something is still missing. Despite their skill at hijacking attention, I’m not sure they have anything to say (perhaps that’s why this is the second album in a row from the band that’s self-titled). But maybe that’s not important. Maybe the point is to crank up the strobe lights and thrash around in the dark with your best friends for no reason at all. And you know what? That’s totally cool.

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11. Black Mountain
Wilderness Heart

Black Mountain attack with all of the most lethal Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath weapons in their arsenal on “Wilderness Heart.” It’s a steam train passing through a forest packed with slashing riffs, psychedelic ballads and thumping rhythms. Take a break from the relentless stress of the Great Recession-era’s digital torture, and head back with us to an analog daydream of Golden Gods, Holes in the Sky and tadpoles in a jar. Valhalla, we are coming.

Read full review

10. Strong Arm Steady
In Search of Stony Jackson

Rich with all the elements the Downcast looks for in great hip hop, “In Search of Stony Jackson” delivers layers of brilliant/hazy samples (courtesy of ingenious producer Madlib’s sprawling archive of 60s and 70s R&B, Soul, Funk and Jazz), a rotating door of killer MCs (from underground LA royalty like Sick Jacken and Planet Asia to out-of-towners like Talib Kweli and Guilty Simpson) and that bullet-proof attitude that makes you drive your car a little slower with the windows down and your arm waving in the air.

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9. LCD Soundsystem
This is Happening

Bowie-obsessed synth pop with all the swagger of John Tavolta in Saturday Night Fever. But rather than bell bottoms and a butterfly collar, your Avatar is decked in skinny jeans and a scoop-neck t-shirt with stripes under a suit jacket. This is the dazzling edge where hipster culture collides with ecstacy-littered fields of Electric Daisies.

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8. Twin Shadow
Forget

Dominican-born Brooklyn-ite George Lewis Jr. (also known as “Twin Shadow”) sometimes gets lumped in with the glo-fi crowd (Neon Indian, Toro y Moi, Real Estate). And that’s not bad company. But whereas typical glo-fi is delivered with a sunny, dream-trance grin, Twin Shadow’s “Forget” is a more sullen, tangible object. It’s 80s goth-pop (think Depeche Mode, The Smiths and Duran Duran) rather than 70s glam rock on ecstasy.

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7. Free the Robots
Ctrl Alt Delete

On their debut album, “Ctrl Alt Delete”, Free the Robots delivers an impressive clash of hip-hop and dub step rhythms layered with creepy synth textures, sci-fi sound effects and the occasional dash of experimental percussion.

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6. Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest

Early on, we at the Downcast have had trouble getting into the (critically acclaimed) “ambient punk” band called Deerhunter. But that changed with “Halcyon Digest”.

Maybe the ambient is more balanced with the punk on “Halcyon Digest”? Actually, there’s not much resembling punk on the new record. Maybe they replaced punk with psychedelic, pop-ish rock? Maybe we need to go back and listen old Deerhuner again?

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The Downcasts’s 25 Best Albums of 2010
25-16 15-6 5-1

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Black Mountain – Old Fangs – Video

Black Mountain (seems) to be having an awesome year. Not only have they released the best album of their career (usually records get worse as bands age these days), but they’re cranking out some pretty cool video, too.

In the video for Old Fangs (a smoldering, arena-rock cruiser featuring gnarly, distorted keyboards), we’ll see muscle cars, hitchhiking hippie chicks and witches delivered via faded, grainy film with a couple of colorful throwback effects for good measure. Smells like 1970 in here. Smells good.

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Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart – Album Review

Black Mountain attack with all of the most lethal Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath weapons in their arsenal on “Wilderness Heart.” It’s a steam train passing through a forest packed with slashing riffs, psychedelic ballads and thumping rhythms.

I’m not sure why Black Mountain have always ended up in the stoner rock bin (they sound nothing like stoner standard-bearers Kyuss, Sleep or Fu Manchu), but Wilderness Heart is just about as non-stoner as they’ve sounded. So if you’re one of those people that have avoided this band because of the stoner mark, it’s safe to give these Canadians a shot.

Yes, the band rocks (they do it best on the title track, “Wilderness Heart”). But refreshingly, the album is heavy on acoustic guitar and psych ballads (the highlight being “Radiant Hearts”).

Take a break from the relentless stress of the Great Recession-era’s digital torture, and head back with us to an analog daydream of Golden Gods, Holes in the Sky and tadpoles in a jar. Valhalla, we are coming.

Essential track: Download “The Way to Go”, a bouncy power-folk anthem that plays like the theme of a beautiful, reluctant road trip.

The album’s dark spot (and I mean that in a bad way) is “Let Spirits Ride,” a tired rehash of Black Sabbath’s “Symptom of the Universe.” But just because a band uses a Sabbath-y riff doesn’t make them a stoner rock act.


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