Since their formation back in 2004, the Austin-based psych rock outfit and JOVM mainstays The Black Angels — currently Alex Maas (vocals, bass), Christian Bland (guitar), Stephanie Bailey(drums), Jake Garcia (guitar) and multi-instrumentalist Ramiro Verdooren — have remained true to psych rock forebears like Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, Arthur Lee, and The Velvet Underground among others throughout their career, while simultaneously reflecting a wide-screen view of the world back at the listener. Thematically, their work often touches upon extremely contemporary concerns.
With five albums under their collective belts — 2006’s Passover, 2010’s Phosphene Dream, 2013’s Indigo Meadow, 2014’s Clear Lake Forest and 2017’s Death Song, the Austin-based JOVM mainstays have built a global profile on the international psych rock scene. That profile and influence has been further cemented by their long-running celebration of all things psych rock, Levitation Festival, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
2022 looks to be a big year for the band: The Black Angels’ forthcoming sixth album — and first album in over five years, Wilderness of Mirrors is slated for a September 16, 2022 release through Partisan Records. Co-produced by the band and Brett Orrison with engineering by John Agnello, Wilderness of Mirrors reportedly finds the band attempting to achieve something fresh and new through a gentle and subtle refinement of the sound that has won them fans across the globe.
With Wilderness of Mirrors, the band adds mellotron, strings and an assort of keyboards to their sonic palette, which naturally adds different textures to their sound. Thematically, the album touches upon our moment: political tumult, the pandemic and the ongoing devastation of the environment and its long term implications to us and our descendants among other things.
“El Jardín,” Wilderness of Mirrors‘ expansive, first single is at first glance classic Black Angels: Bailey’s thunderous time keeping, Maas’ plaintive falsetto and supple bass lines paired with layers upon layers of guitar pyrotechnics and effects from Bland and Garcia — but the song’s sparking and brooding bridge sees the band adding bursts of twinkling Rhodes to the mix. Written from the perspective of our dear Mother Earth, “El Jardín” is a forceful and urgent warning to humanity: destroying the environment will ultimately lead to the destruction of humanity.
Directed by Vanessa Pia, the cinematic, accompanying video stars The Walking Dead‘s Austin Amelio and his son Lev in a post apocalyptic nightmare in which humans have essentially killed nature — and the only way to experience it is through virtual reality.
“Alex [Maas] came to me with a dystopian sci-fi idea of a future where Mother Nature is dead because we killed her, and the only way to experience her is through virtual reality- an already relatable feeling, as most of the world lives viscerally through social media,” Vanessa Pia explains. Who knows where we will be 100 years from now. This project has been a dream in the making and a massive labor of love and could have only been possible with such a dedicated and talented crew, especially my dear friend and cinematographer Andy Hoffman. For me as a director, it’s an honor to deliver this project on 35mm print and to have been chosen to make something for my favorite band.”
Along with the album announcement, the band announced an extensive North American tour that includes a batch of dates opening for Primus and a headlining fall tour that includes an October 17, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Tickets go on sale today — and tour dates, as always are below.
North American Tour Dates
# = supporting Primus
6/9: Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater
6/10: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
6/11: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
6/12: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/14: Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield #
6/15: Reading, CA @ Redding Civic Auditorium #
6/16: Petaluma, CA @ Phoenix Theatre
6/17: Sacramento, CA @ Sacramento Memorial Auditorium #
6/18: Reno, NV @ Grand Theatre, Grand Sierra Resort & Casino #
6/19: San Jose, CA @ San Jose Civic #
6/21: Santa Barbara, CA @ Arlington Theatre #
6/22: San Diego, CA @ Music Box
6/23: Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium #
6/24: Long Beach, CA @ Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center #
6/25: Las Vegas, NV / The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas #
8/20: Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas
9/10: Lexington, KY @ Expansion Music Festival
9/30: Dallas, TX @ Granada
10/1: Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
10/3: St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall
10/4: Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
10/5: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/7: Madison, WI @ Majestic
10/8: Chicago, IL @ House of Blues Chicago
10/9: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
10/10: Detroit, MI @ Majestic
10/12: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Theatre
10/13: Montreal, QC @ Corona Theater
10/14: Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
10/15: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
10/17: Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
10/18: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
10/19: Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
10/21: Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
10/22: Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/23: Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
10/24: Baton Rouge, LA @ Chelsea’s Live
11/3: Mexico City, MX @ Hipnosis Festival