By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Cooley fares better, mostly because his straight-shootin' style fits the laid-back vibe. And while the democratic songwriting arrangement often caused Hood and Cooley to step up their game in the past, newly permanent member Shonda Tucker adds a nice female counterpoint to a heavily masculine aesthetic. As a writer, however, she's definitely the least of equals ("Home Field Advantage" flirts with "Bagged Me a Homer" obviousness). Conciseness has never been the Drive-By Truckers' strength, but Brighter is ultimately what a DBT record should be: source material to be picked apart for one of their marathon live shows. (Ian Cohen)
Nostalgia isn't always a bad thing in rock. No, it doesn't always result in great art, but it can sound pretty bitchin' blasting from a car stereo. Such was the case last year, when, in an era infatuated with new-wave revivalism, a surprisingly soulful slab of guitar rock arrived drenched in brown acid. The source wasn't some old reel-to-reel tape recovered from the musty basement of a boarded-up head shop, but the contemporary Vancouver band Black Mountain and their song "Druganaut."
Black Mountain's second album, In the Future, provides more proof that for these five Canadians, led by bearded songwriter-guitarist Stephen McBean, the future sounds like a hazy black-lit garage in the early '70s. But while it may offer similar heavy riffage, Black Mountain don't do "stoner rock." Rather, they're on a far more varied and nuanced excursion: an audio journey from warm Summer of Love psychedelia to the cold, anguished Vietnam-vet winters, rampant with narcotics and suicidal cults — a tableau with an understandably modern appeal. That three of the band members have day jobs providing social services to Vancouver's homeless drug addicts makes perfect sense.
While the epic prog-rock musings of songs like "Tyrants" and "Queens Will Play" have an exotic, tripped-out appeal, they also serve as reminders of how absolutely necessary punk rock once was as an elixir. Black Mountain truly find their groove on the slower songs. On both "Wild Wind" and the excellent "Angels," McBean and his cohorts snarl confidently à la early Alice Cooper and Goats Head Soup-era Stones, sounding powerful, and surprisingly contemporary. Taken as a whole, In the Future seems less an ode to some mythical past than a passionate love letter to an amazing record collection. (John Albert)