Sep 27, 2010

BLACK MOUNTAIN "Wilderness Heart" LP

Radio, for the most part, sucks. Yeah, it's not some great statement of any kind and it sure ain't no secret to people (or at least I hope it's not) but having not only having a LP copy of this for home and when out on DJ night missions there has been a CD copy of this album in my car for a couple of weeks now. It been getting played an awful lot when I'm out driving. Every time it comes to and end I eject it while looking for something else to pop in. Usually one of the commercial rock stations (be it the one that plays what they claim is "alternative/modern", "hard" rock or "just the best" rock). The keyword is ROCK. Downtuned and autotuned ROCK which knowledge and history of groove, feeling and structure may go back a few decades but stops at anything before Nirvana and sounds like all the other fake angst ridden douchebags that have appropriated that sound then "improved" upon it by making it more strip club and sports bar friendly. Yep, it's ROCK but it has no ROLL.
"Dammit" I yell at the radio. It's all I can do really because there's little sense in calling the station to rant on the dj because more than likely it's prerecorded voice tracked or satellite fed and even if there is someone live in the studio it's not their job to have any discerning taste or pick what to play as it is to pretend they actually enjoy playing shit with names like Hinder, Breaking Benjamin, Crossfade and on and on. I would like to think though that if they did have a choice though they would play ROCK that has some ROLL and Black Mountain would be jamming all over the nation's ROCK (and roll) radio airwaves.
A 3 way marriage of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind happens on tracks like the album's lead single "Old Fangs" with it's hotboxed organ sound and total joyriding the country roads guitar riff (and who's title may or may not be a play on a Them Crooked Vultures tune from a year or so ago called "New Fang"), the psych-boogie of the album's title track and take the slamming pace of the Purp's "Highway Star" and headbang against some boulders on "Let Spirits Ride" (which also features some of the most sinister sounding singing co-singers Amber Weber and guitarist Stephen McBean have laid down to date in the band's 5 year career).
Other tracks like the folky but funky (as in grooving-not stinky) "Hair Song", "Way To Gone" and the campfire country finds a psychedelic orchestra tinged "Buried By The Blues" could make the an otherwise super annoying hippie party tolerable for their 4 or so minute run times. "Radiant Hearts" and "The Space Of Your Mind" have a more than a slight "Yes, Roger Waters is the brains behind Pink Floyd but I am the star" thought process that David Gilmour probably still has going though his head but greet the ear with a warm and friendly embrace than cold and overblown isolation.
Nope, Rock radio will probably not add any of the songs. Not because they don't ROCK but because they not only ROCK AND ROLL but show a whole lot more personality and ideas than what they choose to spin these days. That might challenge the listening audience...and radio programmers don't want to do that at all, do they?
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3 comments:

Carlo(ad)s said...

youre reviewing hipster hippie rock and loving it now?

zcientist said...

I totally agree. In a different time span rock radio would be all over Wilderness Heart. And by now, it would be certified gold.

Nightwolf said...

You're right about radio audiences. Being in your car alone with people, you want to hear what you want to hear or what others would like to hear so it becomes a very personal thing. Mainstream radio plays the hits and sticks to genres and formats. Sometimes they don't even have DJs at all and just hit a button and that's it. No Jobs a button did the work. Anyways, I still believe there's good radio programming out there but you have to definitely look for it harder than you do when you pick up an album of a band you've already looked into.