A couple of weeks ago I went to a party for an indie rock listserv I’ve belonged to for a long time and found myself listening to DJs spinning ’70s hard rock bands like Starz and Nazareth. Not what I had expected from the message group where I used to go for gossip about Belle and Sebastian. But as the softer end of the indie world has been co-opted by the mainstream, a certain part of what used to be called the “alternative” audience has drifted toward the ’70s sounds that punk was supposed to have wiped out.
The results can be kind of disorienting. A couple of years ago I was talking to a community radio station DJ about the heavy psych act Dungen, which was getting a lot of hype at the time. She said it sounded like the stuff her older brother used to listen to, the stuff she hated when she was growing up. This hatred was one of the things that, as a teenager, drove her to seek out new and different music — a passion that has remained with her to this day.
My point in bringing this up is to say I have mixed feelings about Black Mountain, a Vancouver band that is getting a lot of attention with a sound that is part Velvet Underground and mostly Deep Purple. It’s all riffing guitars and gurgling organs and lyrics about drugs and witches. I mean, it would sound awesome blasting out of a custom van with a unicorn airbrushed on its side, circa 1973. And I can’t justify why this is true, but I admit it also sounds awesome blasting out of computer speakers, circa 2008.
BLACK MOUNTAIN, The Casbah, Thursday, February 7, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $10.