Black Mountain
Black Mountain On their eponymous Jagjaguwar debut, Black Mountain dress their murky rock songs up in impressively druggy blacks and blues, but an awful lot of sharp classic rock still squishes through: "Druganaut" mines raucous 70s Zeppelin, "No Satisfaction" nods gently to the Stones and Velvet Underground (vocalist Stephen McBeam pulls an awfully convincing Lou Reed-- especially when hollering defensively about how "Everybody likes to claim things!"), and the curious opener "Modern Music" even sounds kinda like E-Street Shuffle-era Bruce Springsteen. "There are five people in the band, and that all adds up to a lot of collective taste," explains drummer Joshua Wells. "But our tastes are not limited to classic rock."

That kind of five-person aesthetic cooperation shouldn't be terribly surprising, given the band's communal origins. Wells describes the larger Black Mountain Army as "an extended family of bands, musicians, and friends who we love and who inspire us." Vocalist Amber Webber agrees: "We all make time and save space for all our bands, because out lives would be really depressing without all this stuff. It's basically saved us from a huge pit of despair."

Despair is, in a way, the Army's other side-project: Four of the five members of Black Mountain also work as mental health care workers in Vancouver's east side, a profession which Webber claims affects their "general state of mind."

"After work we all try not to think too hard about the effect it has on our lives. It keeps us grounded," she admits. But can that kind of consistent underbelly-exposure be shut off entirely? While Wells is careful to point out that Black Mountain does not consider itself "a political band," he admits that it's still "pretty impossible for the shitty state of world politics to not come seeping into your life and affect any kind of art that you might make."

credited to Amanda Petrusich