Show Up!: Black Mountain

August March
3 min read
Re: Black Mountain
Stephen McBean (courtesy of the artist)
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Black Mountain is at Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) on Monday, Nov. 4.

They’re a band that is thickly adorned with the Northwestern rocanrol aesthetic. Founder Stephen McBean came up in Victoria, British Columbia, after all, digging deep into a scene that included bands like Nomeansno and The Accüsed.

But listening to the band doesn’t involve yielding to the usual droning onslaught of wickedly dirty guitar licks and big booty bass associated with acts that get heaped into the ever-embiggening pile called “stoner rock.”

In fact, though the music of Black Mountain may indeed be great in combination with the consumption of cannabis—and may even speak to deeper motives and tender philosophies—it’s even better when viewed as a symbol of psychedelic outrage, with licks courtesy of Flipper, complete with harmonies that begin to recall the sweet harmonic rage of Grace Slick and keyboard digressions that call The Residents up from their mysterious hideout somewhere on the Left Coast. Throw in a Swans-like affinity for finding and discoursing on long-haired rituals of hipster glory, and you’ve got the band called Black Mountain.

The band’s marketing team certainly has the dark beatnik adventures theme down to an art; the cover of Black Mountain’s latest,
Destroyer, features an image of a huge stereo speaker from the ’70s, just like half of the set that every American who was a teenager in the late 1970s wished and prayed for; whether this is further artifice or authenticity is difficult to determine because the music itself genuinely rocks … and coasts and glides like a slick muscle car from the same era might, if powered by Molly and millennial ennui.

To find out more about the feels we have about this band and their music,
Weekly Alibi sent McBean a few questions to answer as he rode the plane back to America after a cray European tour. Here is what he sent back.

Weekly Alibi: Discuss growing up in the Northwest in the ’80s and being part of the punk scene in Victoria.

Stephen McBean: It was good. I saw The Accüsed, Red Tide and Nomeansno a lot.

What was it like playing in a band called Ex Dead Teenager?

Similar to being in other bands with different names.

What about Jerk With A Bomb, how did that go off?

Sometimes well, but often met with indifference.

Why was In the Future the best indie rock album of 2008?

It was released on Jagjaguwar.

Describe the new work on Destroyer, please.

Super pleasing.

What’s important to you, musically?

Time alone.

Who are your big influences?

Friends with turntables.

What are you not trying to do with your music?

Reinvent the wheel.

If an entity from outer space approached you after a show and asked you the question "What is Black Mountain," what would you answer?

I don’t know. Depends on my mood.

Black Mountain

Monday, Nov. 4 • Sister

407 Central Ave. NW • 8pm • $18 • 21+.

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