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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Black Mountain
In The Future

Rating: 6.3/10 ?

February 15, 2008
Black Mountain's In The Future is a prog rock opus, far more ambitious than their self-titled debut. Those listeners who recognized Black Mountain as one in a long line of inward looking, backward thinking bands will find that In The Future ups the ante. That's not automatically a great thing, and it means that Black Mountain will yet again be greeted with abundant I know what you're doing and I don't like it reactions.

On the other hand, with In The Future they will garner twice as many disciples who revel in the band's multiple-part compositions, roots rock revival renditions, and psych-folk/prog rock juxtapositions. For many, Black Mountain will fill a void once satisfied by a fresh bag of weed and a bath in patchouli oil.

The ultimate result is that, at least this time around, the lesser is more.

Black Mountain, Stephen McBean's original creation, should be commended on songs that play it straight. "Angel" is the perfect example. Mixing his own blend of trippy folk, McBean moans "Come on/ Lay your halo down/ Angels, lay your arms around." The sound isn't druggy so much as it's a finely wrought orchestration of detachment. "Tyrants," acting as a near foil of the expansive "Heart of Snow," is also a winner, as is the tranquil "Stay Free."

But In The Future's problems arise when McBean and company mess with the formula that earned them such acclaim with their debut a few years ago. It's not that anyone wants only more of the same, but there are some striking similarities between the two albums and, here, thanks to ostentation, newly modified ideas simply unravel.

Black Mountain's "Evil Ways" is to Santana what "No Satisfaction" (off Black Mountain) was to the Rolling Stones. The only difference is that "No Satisfaction" remains a standout three years on. In each case, the classic chorus stays lyrically intact - paying not so subtle homage to the original craftsmen - but everything else is rich in innovation, leaving a McBean stamp of authorship.

Elsewhere, "Bright Lights" (clocking in at a near seventeen minutes!) is what may have happened had King Crimson covered Pink Floyd's "Echoes." Unfortunately, as it was only an afterthought, Black Mountain return to moments reminiscent of the far better, more digestible "Set Us Free."

Perhaps the biggest disappointment on the second go-round is that Amber Webber's talents aren't better utilized. Her unearthly vocals get lost - as is not a huge surprise - in experimental falderal.

While McBean is busy mining influences that range from Metallica ("Tyrants") to David Bowie ("Wild Winds"), Black Mountain's double-edged sword of homegrown charm and progressive elitism gets whetted into a Lord of the Rings Comic-Con replica. There's a long history of musical sorcery in rock. This being said, let's hope Black Mountain stay on the Marc Bolan side of an unexplored world primed for self-absorption.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill



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