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Since their 2004 self-titled debut, Pink Mountaintops have supplied an outlet for the more arcane fascinations of Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean. On Peacock Pools—Pink Mountaintops’ first new music in eight years—the British Columbia-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist shares 12 songs sparked from his magpie-like curiosity for a wild expanse of cultural artifacts: the sci-fi body horror of David Cronenberg, Disney Read-Along Records from the 1970s, early Pink Floyd and mid-career Gary Numan, John Carpenter movies, Ornette Coleman live videos, a 1991 essay on the cult of bodybuilding by postmodern feminist Camille Paglia. Featuring counterculture icons like Steven McDonald of Redd Kross and Dale Crover of Melvins, Peacock Pools alchemizes those obsessions into a body of work with its own enchanting power, the sonic equivalent of falling down a thousand rabbit holes at once and landing somewhere gloriously strange.
Pink Mountaintops’ fifth full-length and debut release for ATO Records, Peacock Pools took shape from a batch of songs McBean first pieced together in the early days of the pandemic. “I’d moved into this cool little ’50s rancher house outside L.A. and was just mucking about in my bedroom studio, and pretty soon I started reaching out to some friends who were also shacked up and craving broadband sonic collaboration,” he recalls. Over the coming months, McBean began working remotely with a stacked lineup of musicians from the indie-rock and psych-pop and garage-punk worlds, including drummer/pianist Joshua Wells (Destroyer, Black Mountain), violinist/vocalist Laena Myers-Ionita (Feels, Death Valley Girls), drummer Ryan Jewell (Riley Walker, Steve Gunn), vocalist Emily Rose Epstein (Ty Segall, Emily Rose & The Rounders), and keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt (Black Mountain, Sinoia Caves). Produced by McBean and mixed in Vancouver by former Skinny Puppy member Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails), Peacock Pools also features several songs recorded live in L.A. with McDonald and Crover, ultimately forming Pink Mountaintops most eclectic and magnificently unpredictable album to date.
With the release of her eponymous first record, Ashley Shadow has at long last taken centre stage after over a decade of valuable contributions to highly regarded, diverse musical acts. Though possessing a voice of crystal clear beauty, Ashley spent the first five years of her musical career playing bass guitar for rock-noir outfit The Organ before recording and/or touring with Bonnie Prince Billy, Pink Mountaintops and Lightning Dust.
Four old friends playing guitar music for the Philadelphia coast