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Black Mountain

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Biography

Drawing on blues, psychedelia, acid rock, Led Zeppelin, and the Velvet Underground, Black Mountain's sound was a cross between the darkness and grit of the Warlocks and Brian Jonestown Massacre's trippiness, with a folkie undertow weaving through it all. Black Mountain leader Stephen McBean previously fronted the semi-acoustic cowpunk band Jerk with a Bomb, but after releasing two albums, he reshaped the Vancouver-area band into a group called Black Mountain. After debuting in October 2004 on Jagjaguwar with the 12" Druganaut, Black Mountain stayed with the label for an eponymous full-length, issued the following January. Joining McBean for the album were local players Matthew Camirand, Jeremy Schmidt, Joshua Wells, and Amber Webber, listed collectively to preserve the band's communal ethic. (Black Mountain ran concurrent to and intermingled with McBean's other band, lo-fi classic rockers Pink Mountaintops.) The debut album earned enthusiastic reviews in the music press, and Coldplay tapped Black Mountain to open for them on an arena tour. In January 2008, Black Mountain released their sophomore album, In the Future, and showed off their willingness to explore proggy (and druggy) territory with the 17-minute opus "Bright Lights." The group's third full-length album, Wilderness Heart, arrived in 2010, and earned the group the Polaris Prize, one of the highest honors in Canadian music. In 2012, Black Mountain released their soundtrack to the film Year Zero, an ambitious documentary about surfing set against a dystopian, post-apocalyptic backdrop. In 2015, the self-titled debut album was reissued in a special expanded edition for its tenth anniversary, and the following year, Black Mountain issued their fourth proper album, IV, which was produced by Randall Dunn, best known for his work with Sunn O))). IV also featured Arjan Miranda on bass, replacing Matthew Camirand in the lineup. The band followed up on the album's release with an extensive international concert tour. ~ Johnny Loftus
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