With its sun-drenched beaches and temperate climate, San Diego isn't exactly the place one would associate with a band like Black Heart Procession. Yet the trio managed to dodge tanned muscleheads after forming in 1997, mainly by crafting music suited to pasty-faced melancholics and readers of Dostoyevsky novels. Their first three albums -- sequentially numbered 1
, and 3
-- were an inadvertent trilogy of introspective despondency: piano plodding with the weary gait of a shuffling prisoner, languishing slo-core tempos, and dark murmurs of resignation from vocalist Pall Jenkins. Their 2002 effort Amore del Tropico
sounded on the surface a bit less like a funeral march, although its minor-key strings reinforced the spidery gothic tones of their most piercing work. Indeed, the Procession's underrated 2004 album, In the Fishtank
, recorded with the Dutch group Solbakken, revisits the bleakness of its early albums. Be sure to check out the diabolical French vocals of "Voiture en Rouge" and the heartbreaking, worn-out epitaph "Your Cave."