Mountain Movers Credit: Nicki Chavoya

The Mountain Movers are among my current faves, because they know how to freak the fuck out. Formed in the mid-2000s, the Connecticut band started as a showcase for the songs of New Haven indie rocker Dan Greene, and since then their cosmic trajectory has been eerily similar to that of many mid-60s rock groups who started out playing fairly straightforward pop but ventured into blistering psychedelia by the end of the decade. The Mountain Movers put out their debut LP, We’ve Walked in Hell and There Is Life After Death, in 2005 and then rotated through a cast of east-coasters until Greene linked up with regular bassist (and avowed heavy head) Rick Omonte. The band adopted a slightly more folk-psych vibe for 2010’s Apple Mountain, and by the 2015 album Death Magic the Mountain Movers had filled out a stable lineup with drummer Ross Menze and guitar shredder Kryssi Battaline (who leads the tripped-out Headroom, with whom Omonte frequently collaborates). They also changed musical direction again, writing new tunes that spiraled into elongated improvisational jams. This new sonic plan crystallized on the 2016 cassingle “Sunday Drive” b/w “No Plans,” where the Mountain Movers spread out into long-form Germanic motorik territory in two excursions that lasted more than eight minutes apiece. For their self-titled 2017 release, this crew of cosmonauts signed to local label Trouble in Mind and headed further into the heart of the sun—bookending the LP with two expansive tracks that run past the ten-minute mark. On last year’s Pink Skies the Mountain Movers make completely fresh-sounding jam rock that also recalls the best aspects of discordant 90s noise-rock bands from the east coast (Dustdevils, Vermonster, Luxurious Bags) and New Zealand (Trash, Scorched Earth Policy). At the same time, they maintain a dynamic, psyched-out 60s west-coast flavor—and an Eastern vibe not unlike Anatolian rock stars Bunalim or Erkin Koray. Though written-out tunes remain at the core of the Mountain Movers’ music, onstage they head into uncharted realms that are best felt in the moment—if you head out to this gig, in other words, smoke ’em if you got ’em.   v