Artist of the Week: The Black Angels
The Black Angels (2004) is a rock group from Austin, Texas, formed by Stephanie Bailey (drums), Christian Bland (guitar), Kyle Hunt (keyboards and bass) and Alex Maas (vocals), who has no problem is assuming their rather obvious musical influences: their name resonates a Velvet Underground classic («The Black Angel’s Death Song»); the title of their 2011 compilation (Another Nice Pair) is a nod to Pink Floyd’s first two records combo edited in 1974 (A Nice Pair); and the cover art of their albums shares the same trippy feel of psychedelia golden era.
In fact, like fellows Tame Impala or The Essex Green, The Black Angels are one of the most preeminent acts of the new millennium that directly emulates the neo-psychedelic sounds of the 60s (late Beatles, early Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Byrds and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, just to name a few), though their darker and heavier approach to druggy drones and acid-rock also motivated comparisons to acts such as Spacemen 3, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Mountain and Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats.
If the quartet’s 2006 debut, Passover, and its follow-up, Directions to See a Ghost (2008), were sufficient to win the attention of underground rock fans, the tighter grooves of their third album, Phosphene Dream (2010), gave them their first entrance to the Billboard Top 100, a couple of songs on Fringe and Californication TV series and triggered a collaboration with Unkle on The Twilight Sage: Eclipse soundtrack.
The new and critically acclaimed Indigo Meadow (2013) is arguably their more mature and textured record, a fascinating jumping off point for a band that seems confident enough to explore new energetic styles and genres. It will definitely widen furthermore their growing circle of new fans, who will use it as an excuse to claw their way through the group’s back-catalogue.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.