Black Mountain
Sun Feb 13
1905 NE MLK

For every future-focused rock movement there's a complementary group still tinkering with the past. Vancouver's Stephen McBean is unapologetically tethered to the latter classification, as the Vietnam era flashes like amber-tinted slides across the buttes and bluffs in his bands, Pink Mountaintops and Black Mountain. Both of McBean's Mountains display classic rock referencing, sepia-toned songs recorded on an old eight-track and dumped "to the digital domain to squeeze more sounds [out of] 'em," writes McBean via e-mail. "But," he adds, "we love analog and always try to reap its full rewards sonically."

Pink Mountaintops' anatomy-referencing material is rife with double entendres, as a lyrical romp through "Bad Boogie Ballin'," "I (Fuck) Mountains," and "Sweet 69" is soundtracked by tousled, textured, minimalist Velvet Underground blues. Black Mountain shows the former Jerk with a Bomb frontman ringleading a sound that expands on the Pink concept, swaying between a murky, proto-metal aesthetic, free-jazz experimentation, and heavily stoned pop.

Rather than aping the past by slapping a new coat of paint on a used vehicle, McBean and his Black Mountain Army collective treat their inspirations as patchwork pieces, to be stitched together delicately and in colorful new combinations. Black Mountain is exemplary, as spartan woodwind, handclaps, and tambourine accents flesh out simple arrangements.

"Classic rock, or whatever you wanna call it, was probably the first sound I was exposed to when I landed on this plane," McBean explains then you at least know you're not listening to a room full of robots or computers."