Thursday, October 8, 2015

Black Angels - Directions To See A Ghost (2008)

Way back in the days before this blog was a blog, I posted an awesome find from The Black Angels.  See it here.  It's from when I was restricted to 1 or 2 sentence vinyl picks and "Vinyl Fridays" was little more than an Instagram/Facebook post once a week or so.

The 2nd album from the Austin "Tripster Rock" psychedelic group, The Black Angels, is nothing short of musical acid for the modern day.  For over 70 minutes, and 3 pieces of vinyl, you really trip the hell out to what has the be the perfect blend of Velvet Underground meets The Doors meets filthiest blues sound you can find.  Now, this isn't music you get high to, this is music you enjoy to feel high with.

You have to work up to the title track that is just so deep, at some point it feeds itself and only till the song needs to end, does it end.  Make sense?  Check it out, but listen to it with headphones for the full immersion effect.

Science Killer

Yeah but dat bassline tho..
As a group the Black Angels were born of their influence from The Velvet Underground.  They got their name from The Velvet Underground song, Black Angel Death Song from their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico in 1967.  The Black Angels were largely an underground act till 2006 when they released their first album, Passover.  Passover is actually better than Science Killer, and as such a bit more difficult to find, as such if I stumble onto it in my travels and crate digging, you best believe I'll go out of my way to pick and post it immediately.  When I say largely underground, I mean psychedelic rock as a whole is still a sub genre of music that will never achieve main stream popularity.  Possibly not even the levels it saw in the last 60's through the 70's.  Psych rock more or less morphed into alternative and variants thereof.  Case in point, the most popular psych rock groups active now are probably The Flaming Lipps and Tame Impala.  15 years ago, it would have been The Stone Temple Pilots, and 40 years ago it was The Who, Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, The Doors, and so on...

The other single from this album, the lead single, was the one that hooked you and sold you on the fact that their last album wasn't a fluke.  You On The Run was an exercise  in mindful sound.

You On The Run

The lyrics that the group weaved together tell some of the most tortured stories that you'll ever hear set to a trip out album.  They're literally haunting.  Some may even consider them a variant of dark wave.  Listen to the story that is Never/Ever.


Yeah but dat intro tho...

For the over 8 minutes of epic mind-fuck of a song, you hear the story of a kid in WWII.  Who does that!?  I knew I was hooked on this group when heard their first single from their first album, Passover way back in 2006.  It wasn't really till about a year or 2 later when they licensed tracks from that album out to movies and commercials that people took them seriously.  You've probably heard that single, Young Man Dead in a few places.  They got really popular in 2008 when that single was bundled with a few popular video games and again in 2010 when Fable 3 was released as the soundtrack to the teaser trailer.  The incredible thing about these guys, they've managed to never sell out and remain underground while making money doing what they're best at.  You'll hear their music all over the place if you know what you're listening for, but you'll always end up music searching them to find out, "Who did this dope track?"

Another question real quick...  How on earth did this album not win any awards?  Where's the category for best indie/underground artist?  We need to start a movement here....  Just sayin'.

When you think about it, aren't those the best, real indie bands?  The ones that are so awesome to you that you know them better than anybody else.  You won't hear it on the radio, and you'll probably never seek them out on iTunes or Google Play, but you'll definitely see a show if they're in town because they're playing at your favorite small venue.

This album, Directions To See a Ghost was out in 2008 in a multi part release.  It was kind of awesome the way they did it too.  If you were silly enough to buy the album digitally, you could go into some record stores and exchange the code for an actual hard copy of it.  One of the benefits afforded to indie artists is their ability to do cool stuff for their fans.  Having been to quite a few Black Angels live shows, I can tell you first hand you're not leaving without your monies worth.  I snagged this 3LP behemoth of an album from Red Scroll Records in Wallingford CT on a whim.  It was a tough decision between this and something equally as spectacular that I'll own someday but that's the thrill of the hunt now isn't it?  Sometimes you have to catch and release till the time is right. 


Next week, probably Thursday again, something new that I took a leap of faith on.  Matter of fact, I haven't even listened to it yet.  Cant wait to hear what she's done this time, but even if it's half as good as her last one, I love it already.

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