17. Black Mountain "Wilderness Heart" (2010)

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
Notable Songs: "The Hair Song", "The Way to Gone", "The Space of Your Mind".

On my itunes list, Black Mountain is nestled right between the Black Keys, and Black Sabbath. Which, strangely enough, could probably be used as a shorthand to describe the group - they're not quite as heavy and riffy as Black Sabbath, and not quite as bluesy and pared down as the Black Keys. And this is, of course, a very good thing.

Black Mountain are this decade's version of Stoner Rock, with a liberal dose of indie, a touch of keyboard-driven new wave, and even a bit of acoustic hippiness thrown in for good measure. If you're not familiar with "Stoner Rock", think of 1970s hard rock without the guitar solos, focused around the rhythm section, and lacking the aggression of heavy metal. Or, as I describe it, pure musical bliss. I was a stoner rock fanatic for years. And Black Mountain has singlehandedly reminded me of just why I loved it so much for so long.

It's the perfect storm of detuned guitar awesomeness.

That being said, this album isn't "pure" or "classic" stoner rock, if there's really such a thing. In addition to the "typical" stoner sound, it has acoustic guitar lines, female vocals, and atmospheric keyboards that manage to NOT be "prog rock". This is a very good thing for me, because it's almost as if Stoner Rock was saying "look, Dave, we have that stoner sound you love... but we've added those indie things you love, too!".

In short, Black Mountain seems to be perfectly suited for me. And because of this, I've spent the last two days in my living room, in absolute musical bliss. Easily the best album I've heard in 2011. Even if you don't like hard music, you need to check out this album. Listen to a few tracks, and I guarantee there's something in here that will appeal to you.

Like I said before. A Perfect Storm.

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