I was trying to figure out over the weekend what new album I have listened to the most this year, and I'm pretty sure it's The Mountain by the Heartless Bastards. I do like the Matt & Kim record a lot (though it freaks me out to hear "Daylight" in that Bacardi commercial) and the new Dan Deacon was a cool surprise. My wife's clear favorite is the new Bishop Allen (she leaves it on the turntable permanently).

But there's something about the The Mountain that I keep coming back to. Obviously there's Erika Wennerstrom's voice, but I've loved that since I first heard All This Time. It has this life-hardened strength to it, like the voice of that woman from karaoke night at the union bar next to the the machine tool factory who gets up and sings a Stones song you thought you hated and you're transfixed by her and everything she must have seen in her life until the fat retarded kid who always sings "Yellow Submarine" gets up there next and ruins the spell (true story, sorry). But Wennerstrom is writing really strong, hard-rocking songs that stand on their own. I loved this one from the last record:

But The Mountain is different: more mature, more epic. Right now I guess I am partial to the heavy, rust belt quality of these songs that is pretty much the opposite of the other twee shit we've been listening to. I think the video at the top and this one (both from their show at Stubbs' earlier this year) show it better than I can explain:

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