Saturday 20 February 2016

VIDEO VACUUM - Black Mountain, Birth Of Joy, Simmer, All Them Witches

After introducing a new "segment" in the Lucky Dips (next week: a hardcore Touch & Go band from the early 90s...) it's time to give another much needed life. We are back with a long-gestating Video Vacuum, and the first one of 2016 has a decidedly psychedelic flavour...

Black Mountain are back! That's right, the Canadian psych rock monoliths are prepping album #_ in the form of IV (obviously), and 'Mothers Of The Sun' is more in tune with their earlier, more drawn out, atmospheric fare - which in my mind is brilliant. I really wanted to like their 3rd album Wilderness Heart (and the great shark cover art gave me hope), but it didn't stick that much with me. But looking at the decidedly pagan/spaced/ritualistic imagery invoked by the film clip (with Stephen McBean looking decidedly haggard, with hoods and necklaces and sharp hooked knives; puppets/masks that look melted; Amber Webber a high priestess of beguiling allure...skulls! mountains! rolling clouds!), they are harking back to the lore of yore.

But if I must be honest (and I probably should), while I love the Black Mountain video, I am finding myself drawn more to the music of Dutch marauders Birth Of Joy on 'Hands Down' - nothing new here, but the urgency and energy is connecting more with me. The film clip - a ballet dancer letting her hair down and losing control, has pagan overtones too alongside the obligatory Black Swan psychodrama. The masks! The campfire! The endlessly spinning camera. It's fun though - the most unabashedly "rock" track in this collection.

The most unabashedly raucous track though goes to 'Sinewy', the 3rd single from Cheshire cats Simmer in the lead-up to releasing their debut LP Paper Prisms (which on the strength of this promises to be bloody good). A simple film clip - a pale guy clutches a attache case to his chest and wonders along the bleak beach, followed closely by another equally intense guy with long hair, who calls the first guy, appeals to him to stop, but with a moment's contemplation he makes a run for it, they wrestle in the sand, and Longhair chokes him out and gets the case...just as another figure looms behind him! The chase continues! Or does it?

Finally we have Nashville brooders All Them Witches and 'Open Passageways'. A classic lyric video for this atmospheric slow-burner, which is further heightened by the animation (by Jason Staebler) that swirls and merges, line drawings of sages and bald oracles, an everlasting connection. I dig it. They have an album coming out soon too (no surprise there) and will be playing in the UK over Feb/March - with two shows at The Lexington, both of which are SOLD OUT (Feb 28 and March 2). You can try to catch them at Manchester or Glasgow in between those dates though...


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