Scrolling through my music library recently (in alphabetical order of course) it became apparent to me that if you want to be a hip, cutting edge indie rock artist, you should insert the word “black” or “crystal” into your band name somewhere. There have been three debut LP/EPs from Crystal bands alone this year: Crystal Antlers, Crystal Stilts, and Crystal Castles. Not to mention the bevy of “black” dubbed bands with new albums out like Black Angels, Black Keys, and Black Mountain to name a few.
Personally, I find myself more drawn to the “black” bands as these groups tend to be of a more dark and moody ilk. (You know, the kind that attracts a predominately-male audience.) For some reason, whenever I free associate “crystal” bands, my mind immediately goes to 80s synthpop. I just can’t help it. I’m very judgmental toward the “crystal” set. Is this fair? Is there any relevant basis for me to draw such a biased conclusion? And why is there no band named Black Crystal yet?
Well, I decided to find out in my first trend spotting series—Black Crystal Bands—where I’ll explore some of the new emerging artists in this category (read: no Black Crowes, Black Sabbath, etc.), attempt to answer some of these questions, and hopefully turn you on to some great new music in the process.
Here is the second installment of “The Black Bands”
The Black Hollies
After stumbling upon the track “Paisley Pattern Ground,” I quickly added the Black Hollies to my music collection. I’m a sucker for that retro, neo-psychedelic sound. “Paisley Pattern Ground” is a gem of a track from their 2008 release, Casting Shadows, and arguably the best song on the album.
Atlanta-based Black Lips are renowned for their rowdy, debaucherous live shows. Their hard hitting 2007 release, Good Bad Not Evil, was huge for the garage punk group. Even if the bad boy, punk image scares you, this album will get you. From the slower “Veni Vidi Vici” to the all out rockabilly “O Katrina,” I think you’ll be surprisingly charmed by this mischievous bunch. Here’s their video for “It Feels Alright” .
File this “black” band under the psychedelic stoner rock category, for sure. Hailing from Vancouver, this group has received the high honor of being one of the top ten Canadian 2008 Polaris Music Prize finalists for their second album, In the Future.
Black Moth Super Rainbow (BMSR)
Hey, look! More psychedelic sounds from the “Black” band contingent. This one in the form of the otherworldly, electronica variety, á la Air and Octopus Project. I was turned on to their previous album Dandelion Gum last year. I like it a lot and find myself gravitating toward this kind of ambient, ethereal music in the wee hours.
BMSW just released their new album, Drippers. You can order a limited edition scratch-n-sniff version of the CD here . Check out the track Happy Melted City  from their forthcoming release or download Bonus Drippers  for free now, which is a bunch of old, unreleased songs.
Thanks for reading. Up next, the Crystal bands …