I stumbled upon Black Mountain a decade ago while still immersed in the genre known as “stoner rock.” Even then I could tell they were something different than the rest, something more cosmic than “spaced out”; like the difference between astronomy and astrology. Sophisticated songwriting without sacrificing the basic elements of pure rock and roll and the inclusion of a powerful female vocal is always a win for me. A finalist for the Polaris Prize in 2008, nominated for a Juno in 2009, and showcased on the
Spider Man 3 soundtrack, the Vancouver band has definitely earned some street cred, and the new album, IV, is a perfect progression from that foundation. Being a fan of the “epic long song,” I was blown out of the water by the first track “Mothers of the Sun,” which is a rework of an old track the band struggled with on past attempts. I imagine tracks like “Florian Saucer Attack,” “Constellations,” and “Cemetery Breeding” will see some popular success, but I am happy that they haven’t intentionally changed their root sound, as reflected in tracks like “You Can Dream”—classic Pink Floyd-esque music fit for space travel.

-Jamie Varga