Black Mountain - Black Mountain (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Black Mountain

Black Mountain (2005)


Hey kids. Remember rock'n'roll? You know, all types of it. The simplicity of the Rolling Stones; the thunder of Led Zeppelin; the droning rebellion of the Velvet Underground; the dirty, raw power of the Stooges; the heavy riffs of Black Sabbath; the stoned out of your mind freak of Pink Floyd; the chanting group vocals with males and females. Wait. I don't remember those. But I guess Black Mountain does. Regardless, Black Mountain is the epitome of all forms of rock and roll (this, of course, ruling out the original fathers of the genre a.k.a. Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, etc.). On their self-titled 2005 release, Black Mountain is able to conjure up every derivative of the genre I can imagine.

It's a pity that I don't do drugs. For eight songs, Black Mountain is able to churn out just over forty-five minutes of music. The songs generally rely on a deep groove and lots of repetition, which would be totally radder if I was stoned out of my mind. That's not to say it isn't rad already. Even without the drugs, I'm digging this release. From the saxophone on the Velvet-y opener "Modern Music," which takes lyrical stabs at, you guessed it, modern music, to the sleigh bells on the "White Rabbit"-y "Faulty Times," I'm entranced in what seems to be more of a quick history of rock'n'roll as we know it. "No Hits" is a synth-heavy, straightforward bass and hand clap-driven dancey tune with the signature group vocals floating over the music. Then shit just starts freaking out. If I learned anything from James White and the Blacks and Funhouse, it's that adding a saxophone just makes your freakout that much crazier.

"Don't Run Our Hearts Around" is a classic Zep/Sabbath riff-heavy song, and "Heart of Snow" is a classic, acoustic introductiory epic that builds into a basic riff before the rock hits. Think "Stairway to Heaven" when Jimmy Page slams out the power chords.

But while I spend so much of this time relaying how the band takes influence from other groups before them, it's hard not to take note of Black Mountain's original way of composing and arranging what seems to be the same rock songs we grew up with (depending on how hip your parents were to the rock'n'roll). I think I was reading a Buddyhead interview with the band when the interviewer referred to Black Mountain as a collective. And I couldn't agree more. Black Mountain, to me, sounds like a rock'n'roll experiment by a group of people that, live, eat, and make music together. Maybe it's just the group vocals. I dunno. But I do know this: This is one band that definitely lives up to my standards. Now, I know that they carry a fair amount of hype behind them. I know that scares some of you off. But think about how many douchewads you see wearing Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath T-shirts. That doesn't stop you from listening to those records when you're alone in your house. So why should some hipster press stop you from enjoying some good ol' rock'n'roll? Plus, four out of five of the members are social workers. Rock with a conscience. How does that work?

Oh, they're Canadian.