The Black Angels — Directions to See a Ghost
(Light in the Attic LITA 033, 2008, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2010-07-01It is always exciting to discover new bands that take interesting elements from the past, combine them with fresh new ideas, and create something entirely new. Cases in point are the neo-psych bands like Wooden Shjips, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, and The Black Angels. The Black Angels hail from Austin, TX and are Stephanie Bailey (drums, percussion), Christian Bland (guitar, drone machine/organ), Kyle Hunt (keyboards, percussion, bass, guitar), Alex Maas (vocals), and Nate Ryan (bass, guitar). Directions to See a Ghost is their second full-length release and it is jam packed with droning, trippy, psychedelic music combining mid-60s Velvet Underground influences (Alex’s vocals bear a striking resemblance to Lou Reed), raga-rock including sitar drones, nods to Austin’s 13th Floor Elevators, and contemporary alternative bands. There are many standout moments on this disc. I especially like "Deer-Ree-Shee." There is some very powerful music here, Maas' recitations instead of really singing are somewhat difficult to decipher, but the band has a definite anti-war message. Alex sings on "Never/Ever": "You say the Beatles stopped the war/They might've helped to find a cure/But it's still not over." And closing out the disc is their sixteen minute opus "Snake in the Grass" with reversed loops mixed in with guitars, drums, and drones. The origin of their album title Directions to See a Ghost is lost on me, none of the songs appear to relate, that really doesn't matter. If this review intrigues you, then by means seek this band out.
Related artist(s): The Black Angels
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more