Monday, May 16, 2005

No Hits - your weekly fix

No Hits is a new weekly item here at Shake Your Fist. Named after our first selection, No Hits will feature a song that's on heavy iPod rotation.

No Hits (mp3) - Black Mountain

From the debut album Black Mountain on Jagjaguwar Records.

Black Mountain is, for the most part, a throwback to the 70s--making psychedelic stoner rock with heavy input from the usual suspects (Stones, Zeppelin, Floyd, Sabbath). Normally, this wouldn't be my bag, but this Stephen McBean-led rock collective (yeah, I know) from Vancouver has at least one interesting trick up its sleeve: Some of Black Mountain's songs have a beat you can dance to. With its mechanistic thump, thump, snaky synthesizers and bracing hand claps, No Hits betrays the band's Can influence. And once the droning, hashpipe vocals cut in, you'll be reminded of kitchen sink artists extraordinaire, The Beta Band. This genre-hopping track can be offputting at first, but as you slip into the infectious groove, you'll probably agree it's a pretty great little slice of techno prog.

Interesting fact: Four out of the five Black Mountain members are mental health workers toiling on the front lines of Vancouver's drug epidemic. In case you don't know, Vancouver is North America's biggest port of entry for Asian heroin, which has proved a magnet for addicts across Canada and the U.S. A few years ago, the city implemented a European-style initiative to reduce the devastating crime and drug-related deaths in its Downtown Eastside neighborhood. This harm-reduction program includes supervised injection sites where addicts are provided with needles and a safe place to inject. Like any controversial new policy initiative, it has generated some debate. But it sure beats the hypocrisy and hysteria that greets pragmatic alternatives to the "war on drugs" this side of the border.


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