Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Alex Maas is known for being the frontman and founding member of acclaimed Austin-based psych rock act The Black Angels and psych rock supergroup MIEN. Maas’ life changed in 2018 with the birth of his first child, a healthy and happy baby boy, he and his partner named Luca, which means “bringer of light.”
With Luca’s brith, Maas experienced a flurry of emotions he hadn’t felt before.There was profound joy and awe over the creation of a new life — but there was to some lesser degree, a gnawing fear: What sort of world was his son going to grow up into, exactly? And how could Maas protect him from its dangers? “The world is definitely messed up,” Maas says in press notes. “But there’s a lot of good in it too, and that’s why the whole world isn’t on fire—parts of it are. I do believe that there’s more good than evil.”
Named for his first-born child, Maas’ Brett Orrison co-produced full-length debut Luca saw its official release today through Innovative Leisure. Interestingly, the new album was actually a long time coming, with some of it material dating back almost a decade — and put together piece-by-piece over the past couple of years. Featuring songs that are a much gentler, meditative take on the psych rock sound he’s best known for, the album is a decided sonic departure, showcasing what Maas says is “a whole different part of my brain.”
Driven by the quiet, nature-filled expanses of his home state, Luca finds Maas contemplating his son’s future, the terrifying and uncertain world he was born in and how to navigate the perils and frustrations of our society. And as a result. Luca is arguably the most personal and direct material Maas has written in his nearly two decade recording career.
“The City,” Luca‘s latest single is a woozy and intimate campfire song that reckons with the larger, historical cycle of human violence. The hauntingly sparse arrangement — guitar and Maas’ imitable vocals — manages to evoke the horror, terror and senselessness of our behavior to one another. “The enemy is always just outside the door and the enemy could be anything,” Maas explains.
To celebrate the release of the album, the Laura Lynn Petrick-directed video for “The City” was shot on grainy and old-timey Super 8 film — and the visual is a meditative and melancholic look at America, capturing the mundanity of the country with a sort of bleary-eyed exhaustion.