Spring brings forth fresh albums

Justin Rodstrom

Believe it or not, great music is still being made, deep in the annals of the recording industry.

If you’re not careful, you might miss it, but here are two of the best: Black Mountain and Sun Kil Moon.


Sun Kil Moon

Though no longer the Zen master so beloved from “Ghosts of the Great Highway,” Mark Kozelek’s latest batch of Midwestern angst titled “April” still blossoms with the understated eloquence of the songwriter’s style. Kozelek’s cozy writing seeps through to almost 10 minutes on the first track, “Lost Verses,” where time is well lost in daydreaming, pondering clouds of violin and acoustic guitar. It is hard to say exactly where the time goes, with three tracks approaching or exceeding the 10-minute mark.

In a bit of a ploy, “April” will be released on April 1 in the United States by Caldo Verde Records, Kozelek’s home for the past three years.

Founded by Kozelek in 2005 as an outlet for his art, Caldo Verde has seen the mastermind behind Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon grow into his own tainted, romantic voice.

There are moments where the album seems like just another extension of the Kozelek songwriting formula, but amid these things, the harmonies that ache their way through songs like “Unlit Hallway” are often too genuine to be left unfelt.

And even if there are moments where focus is lost, the highs are still too high to write this album off as anything less than gorgeous.

Hot Tracks: “Lost Verses,” “Heron Blue,” “Tonight in Bilbao”

“In The Future”

Black Mountain

Black Mountain has grown light years beyond its first album, “Black Mountain,” with the recently released “In The Future.”

Witchy, black Grace Slick-esque vocals haunt such drone harmonies as “Queens Will Play” and ’70s prog-metal freakout “Tyrants.”

The creation of rock visionary Stephen McBean, Black Mountain have cocooned into a cataclysmic crash landing of Jefferson Airplane, Black Sabbath and Wolfmother, and they’ve done it right.

Even if there may be a thread of traditionalism to Black Mountain’s latest serving of alt rock, justice is served with side-winding swells of distortion-laden guitar work and crunch-boogie mellotron.

Another distinction between this and the last album is song length.

The premise of “Black Mountain” was short, succinct blues/alt-rock jams along the lines of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

“Wucan” sends you into a psychedelic-mellotron-improv coma, only otherwise reached by revisiting Pink Floyd’s “Any Colour You Like.”

To lighten things up, a bit of comedy enters into “Stay Free” with the amusing, if slightly absurdist line: “Beautiful ponies, so beautiful … they’ll kill us all!”

Even if it sometimes takes Black Mountain a while to get where it’s going, if you’re into transcendentalist dark matter rock and roll, “In The Future” will put you in your happy place.

You can call ’em indie, rock n’ roll or stale pizza, but whatever you call them, they’re well worth the listen.

“In the Future” is available everywhere.

Hot Tracks: “Tyrants,” “Wucan,” “Bright Lights”