Founded by British Columbia-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean in 2004, Pink Mountaintops has always supplied him an outlet for his more arcane fascinations and obsessions.
The 12-song Peacock Pools, the first batch of new material from Pink Mountaintops in over eight years, is sparked from his self-described magpie-like curiosity for a diverse and wild array of pop culture: the sci-fi boy horror of David Cronenberg, Disney Read-Along Records from the 1970s, early Pink Floyd, mid-career Gary Numan, John Carpenter movies, Ornette Coleman live videos, a 1991 essay on the cult of bodybuilding by postmodern feminist writer and thinker Camille Paglia, and more.
Featuring contributions from Redd Kross‘ Steven McDonald, Melvins‘ Dale Crover recorded live in the studio, the Peacock Pools‘ material took shape from a bath of songs McBean first pieced together during the pandemic’s early days: “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,” Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops’ Stephen McBean recalls.
Over the next few months, McBean began working remotely with an All-Star lineup of indie rock, psych rock and garage rock players that included Destroyer and Black Mountains’ Joshua Wells (drums, piano); Feels and Death Valley Girls‘ Leana Myers-Ionita (violin, vocals); Ryley Walker and Steve Gunn‘s Ryan Jewell (drums); Ty Segall‘s and Emily Rose & The Rounders’ Emily Rose Epstein (vocals); and Black Mountain’s and Sinoia Caves‘ Jeremey Schmidt (keys).
Peacock Pools‘ second and latest single sees McBean and company crafting a piano-laced and bluesy, garage psych take on Black Flag‘s pent-up and wiry “Nervous Breakdown” that unspools with a cool, surfer dude on shrooms-like insouciance.
“Steven McDonald used to always play a disco version of that bassline to annoy [Black Flag co-founder] Keith Morris when they were sound-checking for OFF!, and it ended up fitting perfectly with the demo I’d made,” McBean reveals, referring to McDonald and Morris’s hardcore supergroup. Speaking of Morris, he emphatically approves of the Pink Mountaintops cover, sharing the following: “Great job taking a song that’s been beaten to death by numerous punker dunkers and turning it into your own song! BRAVO!!!!”
McBean created a mischievous accompanying visual for “Nervous Breakdown” that features found footage and appearances from McBean, Red Kross’ Steven McDonald, Feels and Death Valley Girls’ Leana Myers-Ionita, Destroyer and Black Mountain’s Joshua Wells and Ryley Walker’s and Steve Gunn’s Ryan Jewell rocking out in their respective homes.