Pin It

Hairy Hippies Rule 

Stephen McBean makes love, war, and Mountaintops

Wednesday, Mar 8 2006
It doesn't take a club full of forest nymphs in potato sacks to understand that the earth-rocking neo-hippie has gained prominence in the modern music world. The loose rhythms and languid melodies of indie-minded classic rock aficionados echo both the lingo and the aesthetics of their bell-bottomed forebears.

Vancouver's Stephen McBean is a prolific nucleus of such stoned grooves. Everything from his Grizzly Adams facial hair to his cottonmouth delivery shows a commitment to sounds in séance with the Age of Aquarius -- although his output is more Easy Rider outlaw than precious folk fairy. As the brain behind the twin peaks of Pink Mountaintops and Black Mountain, McBean offers hearty rock with dirt under its nails and lysergic daydreams heavy in its consciousness. Of the two groups, Black Mountain is the Led Zeppelin thunder/Neil Young lightning storming against formulaic hit paraders (although, oddly enough, the band opened for Coldplay last summer). And while Black Mountain is the louder outfit, it's the foreplay for the libidinous Pink Mountaintops, who, on their 2004 eponymous debut, produced an album's worth of raw, jangling rock come-ons ("I Fuck Mountains," "Sweet 69"). On his second romp with the fleshier-hued moniker, McBean rotates on an Axis of Evol. The new Pink Mountaintops disc is even more seductive than its predecessor, filling out the austere Velvet Underground aesthetic by taking a cue from Spiritualized's hypnotic space drones and heavy-lidded delivery. Here McBean is slier about his lyrical subjects, his thoughts mired in narcotics and war weaponry, double-entendres for the personal and political. The booty at the end of these battles comes through on acoustic tracks like "Comas," which offers affection draped in a dreamy haze. Between the summits of Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops, McBean spans a continuum connecting "maximal rock" and neo-psychedelic confections, to artful -- and addictive -- effect.

About The Author

Jennifer Maerz


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.
  • Comic Con 2014

    Comic book enthusiasts, Cosplayers, TV and movie fans, and celebrities descended to sunny San Diego for the annual gathering at Comic-Con International.

    Whether hitting up a panel to check out The Simpson's announcement of a cross over with Family Guy or Futurama. Or hearing a new movie with Sam Raimie based on a video game or accidentally rubbing shoulders with Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) in cosplay, being a cosplayer, San Diego Comic-Con is the place to be. Photographs by Christopher Victorio

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed