Exposé Online banner

The Black Angels — Directions to See a Ghost
(Light in the Attic LITA 033, 2008, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2010-07-01

Directions to See a Ghost Cover artIt 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.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): The Black Angels

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Procosmian Fannyfiddlers - Requiem Fatigue – Sweet voices and guitars start off the Procosmian Fannyfiddlers eighth CD, Requiem Fatigue. The band calls their style burlesque progressive rock, and that's pretty accurate. The tales told here are...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues