Black Mountain (band)

Black Mountain is a Canadian psychedelic rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia. The band is composed of Stephen McBean, Jeremy Schmidt, Adam Bulgasem, Rachel Fannan, Arjan Miranda. Since forming in 2004, Black Mountain has released five LPs, Black Mountain (2005), In the Future (2008), Wilderness Heart (2010), IV (2016) and Destroyer (2019); two EPs and a number of singles, mostly on the Jagjaguwar label.

Black Mountain
Black Mountain performing in 2007
Background information
OriginVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
GenresPsychedelic rock,[1] stoner rock,[2] space rock (as of IV),[3] progressive rock, alternative rock
Years active2004present
LabelsJagjaguwar, Outside Music, Low Transit Industries
Associated acts
MembersStephen McBean
Jeremy Schmidt
Adam Bulgasem
Rachel Fannan
Arjan Miranda
Past membersMatt Camirand
Amber Webber
Joshua Wells


Early career

Stephen (Gord) Gordon McBean (b. 1969),[4] was born in Vancouver and grew up in Kleinburg and Sidney (BC).[4] As a teenager he became interested in music and became part of the local punk-rock scene in Victoria.[5][6] He formed his first band, Jerk Ward, in 1981.[4] in 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young To Thrash. The band evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC) who recorded a split 7" in 1987.Two years later the band broke up and McBean moved to Vancouver where he started the band Gus.[4] They released two singles, a split EP and an album The Progressive Science of Breeding Idiots for a Dumber Society (1995).[7] The band gave McBean his first experience with extensive touring and he later described the experience as a "bit of noise, bit of Melvins, funk, the Amrep stuff that was going on then. Lots of screaming. Lasted four years".[4]

In 1996 McBean asked drummer Joshua Wells (Radio Berlin)[8] to join his band Ex Dead Teenager.[4] By 1999 it had morphed into a duo of Wells and McBean as Jerk With a Bomb.[9] They signed with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar in the US,[4] and released three albums: Death to False Metal (1999),[10] The Old Noise (2001) and Pyrokinesis (2003).[11] The latter featured Amber Webber of Dream on Dreary on vocals.

Black Mountain

While McBean and Wells were still performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean began to demo material that included the song "Black Mountain".[12][13] At the start of 2004, the two began working on the demos under the same name with contributions from Webber, bassist Matt Camirand and keyboard player Jeremy Schmidt.[14] They recorded the eight track, self-titled debut album during the first half of the year. McBean would later describe the change as "it was almost like a release. I mean, I loved Jerk With A Bomb, but it got to a point where I was done with it, I was through with that part of my life".[15]

The first release under the new name was a split 7" with Destroyer that featured the song "Bicycle Man". The album was released in through Scratch Records in Canada in December 2004, while Jagjaguwar put it out a month later. The band toured around North America and Europe,[16] while in June the 12" single "Druganaut" b/w "Buffalo Swan" was released in the US.[17] In August 2005 the band opened for Coldplay on their Twisted Logic Tour for three weeks, with their final opening in San Diego.[18][19] In the same month the album was released in Germany through City Slang Records.[20]

A vinyl single was released in April 2007 named "Surrender Sound Session: Unkle vs. Autolux/Black Mountain" with a remix of "No Hits" on the B side.

Their second album In the Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize and was also nominated for "Best Alternative Album" in the 2009 Juno Awards. The song "Stay Free" from In the Future was featured on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack.

In September 2010 Black Mountain performed in an amphitheater located in the woods of Oisterwijk at the Incubate (festival) in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Leader Stephen McBean also heads another similarly named band, Pink Mountaintops,[21] while Webber performs with the band Kodiak Deathbeds and Lightning Dust.[22]

Several members of the band have, for as long as a decade, worked for organizations that meet the basic living requirements of the chronically poor, drug addicted and mentally ill in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighborhood, such as Insite.[23][24] In an interview, the band said: "After work we all try not to think too hard about the effect it has on our lives. It keeps us grounded."[25]

In 2010 McBean moved to Los Angeles.[26] The band released their third album Wilderness Heart in September 2011,[27] which was produced by Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy.[28] It was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize,[29] and appeared on the !earshot Top 50 chart.[30]

On April 1, 2016, they released their fourth studio album, IV.[31] A fifth studio album, Destroyer, was released on 24 May 2019. "Let Spirits Ride" was featured in an episode of the ABC network television show, "The Rookie," in March 2019. "Future Shade" featured on Sportsnet's "Hockey Night in Canada" in May 2019. In August 2019, the band played Palp Festival on a mountain in Switzerland as well as Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary.


Studio albums


  • Year Zero: The Original Soundtrack (2012)[32]


  • Stormy High (2006, Suicide Squeeze)
  • Bastards of Light (2008, Jagjaguwar)
  • Lucy Brown (2008, Sub Pop)
  • Rollercoaster b/w In the Drones (26/4/2011, Jagjaguwar)


  • Quiet Weather Singles Series (2004, Spirit of Orr - split release with Destroyer)
  • "Druganaut" (2004, Jagjaguwar)
  • "The Hair Song" (2010, Jagjaguwar)
  • "Old Fangs" (2010, Jagjaguwar)
  • "Rollercoaster" (2011, Jagjaguwar)
  • "Future Shade" (2019, Jagjaguwar)
  • "Boogie Lover" (2019, Jagjaguwar)
  • "Licensed to Drive" (2019, Jagjaguwar)

Further reading

Sam Sutherland, Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk (ECW Press, 2012).


  1. Michael D. Ayers (November 3, 2010). "Q&A: Black Mountain's Stephen McBean on the Evolution of His "Psychedelic" Band". Village Voice.
  2. Corey Tate (June 17, 2010). "Black Mountain Move To the Front of Stoner Rock". spacelab.
  3. Will Reisman (April 28, 2016). "Black Mountain bringing spacerock act to the Independent". The Bay Bridged.
  4. Tabata, Susanne (May 7, 2014). "Terminal City Confidential: Stephen McBean". BeatRoute Magazine. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  5. Schreurs, Jason (September 12, 2014). "DIY YYJ: A look at Victoria, BC's perpetually weirdo underground punk scene". NOISEY. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  6. Devlin, Mike. "Stephen McBean's love letter to Victoria". Times Colonist. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  7. Harvey, J. "G – Garbage Society label, Goat Boy, Grasp, Gus, etc". Generation Gap. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  8. "A Bit Of Information - Radio Berlin". Radio Berlin. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  9. "Lost Classics: Jerk With A Bomb "Pyrokinesis"". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  10. "Jerk With a Bomb Death to False Metal (Seven Segment)". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  11. "Black Mountain: Black Mountain Album Review". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  12. "Black Mountain – "Black Mountain (Demo)" (Stereogum Premiere)". Stereogum. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  13. Pascal, Brian (January 19, 2005). "Black Mountain Add A Little Darkness To Vancouver's Pop Landscape". Chart Attack. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  14. Barclay, Michael (January 22, 2008). "Black Mountain: Let's Get Lost". Magnet Magazine.
  15. Thiessen, Brock (January 26, 2008). "Black Mountain Retrofit". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  16. "Black Mountain Gigography, Tour History & Past Concerts (2005)". Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  17. Howe, Brian (September 18, 2005). "Black Mountain: Druganaut EP Album Review". Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  18. Farah, Troy. "Black Mountain's Stephen McBean Fronts a Lot of Bands, Is Influenced by Even More". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  19. Ray, Austin L. (September 13, 2005). "Band of the Week: Black Mountain". Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  20. "Black Mountain: Black Mountain". City Slang. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  21. "Black Mountain". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  22. "Amber Webber Talks New Kodiak Deathbeds Project, Black Mountain Plans". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  23. Berman, Sarah (January 13, 2009). "Local rockers support Insite in more ways than one". The Thunderbird. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  24. "BrightestYoungThings: Black Mountain Interview". Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  25. "Articles". Pitchfork.
  26. Marchand, ,Francois. "Exile on Sunset Boulevard: Pink Mountaintops get back to rock n roll with new album". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  27. "Black Mountain | 01 Magazine". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  28. "Black Mountain's Stephen McBean Talks New Album Wilderness Heart". Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  29. "2011 Polaris Music Prize Long List announced" Archived October 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine., June 16, 2011.
  30. "The National Top 50 For the Week Ending: Tuesday, October 26, 2010". !Earshot.
  31. Handley, Gen (May 21, 2015). "Black Mountain Write Better Songs When They Drink". NOISEY. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  32. "Black Mountain - Year Zero (The Original Soundtrack)". Discogs. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
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