Archive for January, 2008

Black Mountain review – Eye Weekly (1.24.08)

January 26, 2008


Black Mountain – In the Future


Picking up where “Druganaut” and all its bottle-toking, Sabbath-­sludging, stoner rock left off, Black Mountain follow their 2005 debut with an entire album that breathes new resin-flavoured life into The Riff. From the geometrically surreal cover art to the inclusion of a 17-minute opus, In the Future positively looms with grandeur, intertwining Jeremy Schmidt’s wheedling keyboard lines with the infallible rhythm section of bassist Matt Camirand and drummer Joshua Wells for a sound that’s as thick as it is spacey. Galloping guitar riffs and evil-sounding songs about not being evil are the oldest tricks in the Tony Iommi textbook, but Black Mountain stake their claim on both (on “Tyrants” and “Evil Ways” respectively) with enough confidence and excitement to make you ask, “Iron Who?” And with the falsetto-inflected “Stay Free” and soaring guitar solos of “Wild Wind” providing appropriate breathing space for the mammoth build-ups of “Wucan” and “Bright Lights,” not to mention the extra attention to Amber Webber’s soothing comedown of a voice, In the Future is the kind of record for which both headphone head trips and beer-funnelling field parties were invented.

Originally published in EYE Weekly (1.23.08).


The Mars Volta – Eye Weekly (1.17.08)

January 18, 2008


The story of how internal tensions, lineup changes and a demon called Goliath led The Mars Volta to make their best album yet

The Mars Volta are the epitome of defiance. With epic-length concept albums, a penchant for abstract live noodling and a sound that absorbs everything from the intensity of Black Flag and electric-era Miles Davis to the calculus-inspired prog of Yes and King Crimson to something like John Cale playing salsa, they’re no major label’s idea of safe bet. And yet their ongoing success remains undeniable, if somewhat inexplicable, even for singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala. “[It’s] like some gigantic, wealthy family hired a local duct-tape-held-together kind of carnival, and they let us into their house and we stayed there for a while,” he explains — sort of — from the Universal offices in Montreal.

While their success seems to defy all logic, their persistent output continues to defy all tragedy. Bixler-Zavala and Mars Volta co-founder Omar Rodriguez-Lopez began the band by quitting At The Drive-In, arguably the most promising indie-punk act of the early millennium, cleaning up after a history of heroin addiction and writing two albums inspired by the deaths of close friends. You’d think their karmic credit would be in good standing. (more…)

Megacity Ever After – Eye Weekly (1.10.08)

January 14, 2008


Cover Story: a look at the Amalgamation of Toronto ten years after. And a glimpse into the future of the Megacity.