Canadian Music Corner: Black Mountain & Amos the Transparent

Black Mountain
Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

With nearly 10 years behind them, Black Mountain has put together a strong collection of work best described as hard psychedelia. This isn’t the light melodic psychedelic rock of Tame Impala or Dinosaur Jr., there’s more of an edge, but it still includes the big wandering guitar solos and some dreamy vocals.

In fact, Black Mountain’s vocals should be noted due to their mixture of male and female, adding a broader complexity to the flowing style of music. It doesn’t hurt that Amber Webber has a very good voice, which mixes well with lead guitarist and vocalist Stephen McBean’s more genre-typical rough wail. But she doesn’t leave the band behind; with guitar licks worthy of the ’80s and a heavy rhythm section this is the ideal level of metal for people who aren’t fans of metal. There’s none of the screaming or misery, just some heavy psychedelic rock reminiscent of a variety of eras, ranging from the 1970s psychedelic rock originators to 1990s grunge bands like Mudhoney.

The Vancouverites have done well for themselves as well, with a long list nomination of Wilderness Hear for the 2011 Polaris Prize, where you can find the title track, which would be a good introduction to their sound.

Amos the Transparent
Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω

Perhaps Amos the Transparent’s claim to fame is having the song “After All That, It’s Come To This,” featured on a Plenty of Fish commercial. It would seem they were hoping for another shot in the limelight with their track “Catch and Release” off their newest effort Goodnight My Dear, I’m Falling Apart.

At the time of Goodnight My Dear, I’m Falling Apart‘s release the band was seven members strong.  Now just more than a year after the release, Amos the Transparent is down to five members.  Though their band numbers are dwindling, Amos the Transparent tracks often rely on a big, full sound.

As a nod to amateur culture, the band released guitar chord progressions to all their songs in their early days. For some songs the band even released YouTube instructional tutorials, providing fans with insight into the work behind the scenes of select Amos songs.  This was well received and proved to be a nice personal touch from the Ottawa, Ont. group.

As a starting point, give “Greater than Consequence” a listen. The band ramped up this track’s sound on Goodnight My Dear, I’m Falling Apart. “Greater than Consequence” was originally featured on an EP entitled My, What Big Teeth You Have as an acoustic song, but appears on Goodnight My Dear, I’m Falling Apart with a greater tempo and driving electric guitar riffs.

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