- My name is Kyle and I'm a record collector and music nut from San Antonio, TX. I'm always on the lookout for new artists, so feel free to drop me a comment or send me an if you have any suggestions.
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Monday, July 13, 2009
The Black Angels - "Passover"
The Black Angels are the most promising psychedelic band to pop up over the past couple of years. They've got two amazing albums under their belt, "Passover" and "Directions to See a Ghost." Today I'm going to be focusing on "Passover," but both CDs are must-haves.
I remember my first time hearing The Black Angels. I was riding shotgun in my old buddy's truck, cruising the Texas hill country with nowhere to go and nothing to do. The best thing about exploring those back roads is the scenery, especially in the middle of summer. The grass is golden and overgrown, the cacti are bright green, and the sky is almost always completely clear. While soaking in the incredible view we were listening to my buddy's iPod. I had completely given up on modern music at the time so I had my doubts when my friend told me to play "Bloodhounds on My Trail" by this new band The Black Angels. I reluctantly started the song, but immediately I was blown away. The sound was so powerful that I couldn't resist bobbing my head slightly. Neither of us spoke the entire song. I was surprised. The next day I bought the whole CD. I was delighted to hear that all the other songs on "Passover" were just as compelling as "Bloodhounds on My Trail."
The Black Angels have a very distinctive vibe. They sound like The Velvet Underground's evil twin. They bridge the gap between being celestial and being haunting. It's very heavy music, but you can sing along with it, too. That's the great thing about "Passover." There's definitely more than one song that will get stuck in your head.
The first track, "Young Men Dead," will immediately have you hooked. The riff is very powerful and the drums are almost Bonham-esque, but there is also that secret-ingredient that makes it very psychedelic and unique. Number three on the CD is called "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven." I always get the image of Vic Marrow in "The Twilight Zone Movie" hiding in the dark jungles of Vietnam when I hear this song. Other good tracks include "Black Grease" and "Manipulation." But my favorite will always be "Bloodhounds on My Trail." It will always remind me of the beauty of the hill country.
I got the chance to ask Christian Bland, a member of the band, some questions about The Black Angels:
KF: My first question is about the orgins of The Black Angels. How did ya'll meet? Where do The Black Angels come from?
CB: We come from Texas. Alex and i have been friends since 1994. we went to junior high and high school together in Houston, TX. The Black Angels formed 10 years later in Austin, TX after Alex and i had been looking for band members since November 2002. In may 2004, we met Stephanie after having parted with our previous drummer, Sabbath White, and The Black Angels were born. We played as a 4 piece for a while, then we played with 8 members, then we went back to 4 when we added Jennifer Raines as our 'dronist' in the summer of 2004. Then in early 2005 Nate joined as our bassist, and we played as 5 for a couple of US tours, then we recorded Passover, and we needed a sixth member so we could play all the parts we recorded, so we added Kyle Hunt. We played as a 6 piece until January 2008 when we parted ways with Jennifer. Now we're a group of 5.
KF: "Passover" is such a powerful album, musically as well as lyrically. What was the inspiration for this? What kind of music were ya'll listening to at the time?
CB: The inspiration came from The Beatles. The music I was listening to at the time is the same as I always ..mainly oldies, some new futuristic stuff, and the Beatles.
KF: Can you briefly describe how the music writing process went for the album?
CB: Most of the songs were written by Alex and I together just from our experiences in this life and beyond. Nate helped write some of the lyrics on "Prodigal Son".
KF: How did your music end up on the soundtrack for the movie "Death Sentence?"
CB: I'm not really sure. I haven't seen the movie yet.
KF: What is The Black Angel's connection with the 13th Floor Elevators? How did you meet Roky Erikson, and what was it like playing with such a legend?
CB: They're the reason i came to Austin in 2002, with their message of 'open up your mind, and let everything come thru' . We met Roky in august 2008 for practice for our upcoming West Coast Fall tour. It was surreal playing with Roky Erickson. He and the 13th Floor Elevators are why we do what we do, so words in this day and age can't explain the experience.
KF: I read that ya'll are working on a third album. What kinds of things can we look forward to hearing?
CB: The 3rd album is a blend of the first 2 albums. The songs are a but more structured than the jams on 'Directions To See A Ghost' . There's a more Beatles meets Black Angels vibe on this album.