MUSIC Canada's west coast gives Black Mountain its sound

Black Mountain combines soul and contemporary grit in its music.
To hear drummer Joshua Wells describe his indie band, you'd think Black Mountain was a full-on stoner rock outfit, naturally requiring lava lamps on stage with spirited fans offstage.
"People have classified it as stoner rock but I would say we don't just sound like [Black] Sabbath," said Wells, during a phone call to his Vancouver, British Columbia, home.
"I'd say there's more going on than just rock or like hash rock. It's pretty all over the place and I think we all kind of bring a lot to it. Basically, it's a real creative outlet for all of us and we're not really limited in anything we do. We don't really feel like we have a sound other than what comes out of it."
Admittedly different from say Fu Manchu or Dead Meadow, Black Mountain does manage to add some soul (organ and sax sounds) and contemporary grit (modern blues guitar), which can be heard on its self-titled debut released earlier this year.
"I think our influences are our lives in general and the people around us," Wells said.
"We have a lot of really talented friends out here who keep us stimulated all of the time, whether it be art or photography or other music or bands. It's just really our environment that inspires us."
That atmosphere is the west coast of Canada, which is quickly giving competition to the east coast Canadian trendy scene in Montreal. Among the high-profile and critically acclaimed bands coming out of Vancouver are the New Pornographers and Destroyer.
Not riding coattails
Though it's a good time for Black Mountain to be touring nationally, including two stops in Cleveland over the past year, Wells stresses he's not hoping to ride on anyone else's coattails for publicity.
"We're not really hoping to grasp onto anything but there are a lot of great bands here and they're doing really well," Wells said. "There are fantastic people who make amazing music and a whole bunch of bands that you haven't heard of yet but you will."
Coming through Youngstown with Black Mountain is rock act Ladyhawk, as well as Wells' other band, the rootsy/Americana Blood Meridian.
The show takes place Saturday at Cedars Lounge, 23 N. Hazel St., downtown Youngstown.
Considering Wells is doing double duty on tour, the question must be asked: Is this a good thing or bad thing?
"No, I love it," Wells said. "It's more work but I love what I do. Doing more of it is never a problem. I don't know. I love collaborating on the music, and playing live is a great thing because it really provides an outlet for more spacey, out-there tendencies. There is just such a different feeling for each of the bands so I'm able to get into that sort of head space."
It sounds like you better arrive early at the Black Mountain Cedars Lounge show, where head space will be at a premium.

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