Tag: The Black Angels Passover

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Black Angels Share Urgent “Empires Falling”

With five albums under their collective belts, Austin-based 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 firmly cemented a unique take on psych rock that remains true to psych rock forebears like  Syd Barrett, Roky EricksonArthur Lee, and The Velvet Underground, while thematically touching upon contemporary concerns. 

Interestingly, during that same period of time, the members of the acclaimed Austin-based JOVM mainstays have also managed to build a global profile within the international psych rock scene, a profile that has been further cemented by their long-running celebration of all things psychedelic, Levitation Festival, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that this year is a big year in the band’s almost two decade history: Their sixth album — and first in over five years, Wilderness of Mirrors is slated for a Friday release through Partisan Records. Co-produced by the band and Brett Orrison with engineering by John AgnelloWilderness 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. 

Throughout Wilderness of Mirrors‘ material, the band adds mellotron, string arrangements and an assortment of different keyboards to the mix, which adds different textures to their overall sound. Thematically, the album continues upon their long-held reputation for touching upon contemporary concerns — in particular, our uncertain and urgent moment of political tumult, the pandemic, and the ongoing devastation of the environment and its long-term implications to us and our descendants, among others. 

So far I’ve written about three of the soon-to-be released album’s singles:

  • El Jardín,” a single, which at first glance is 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 all of us: destroying the environment will ultimately lead to the destruction of humanity. 
  • Firefly,” a loving yet classic Black Angels-like homage to 60s French pop, featuring a guest spot from Thievery Corporation‘s LouLou Ghelickhani, who contributes sultrily delivered vocals in French and English, alongside Maas’ imitable falsetto and paired with a hook-driven arrangement featuring reverb-drenched guitars, Maas’ supple and propulsive bass lines, some simple yet forceful timekeeping from Bailey and twinkling keys. 
  • Without A Trace,” a bit of classic, Passover through Directions to See a Ghost-era Black Angels centered around fuzzy and distorted power chords, a reverb-drenched guitar solo, Bailey’s thunderous and propulsive time keeping paired with Maas’ imitable vocal delivery and supple bass lines. The song sonically and thematically is an eerie and brooding meditation that asks “is is still possible to be invincible when everyone else is expendable.” 

“Empires Falling,” Wilderness of Mirrors‘ latest single may arguably be among the most politically charged songs on the entire album. Centered around scorching guitar riffs, Maas’ imitable falsetto, a propulsive and supple bass line and Bailey’s forceful time keeping, “Empires Falling” continues a run of material that harkens back to their earliest releases — but with an urgency that fits our desperate, uneasy time.

“‘Empires Falling’ is a critical and reflective plea that examines humanity’s repetitive art of violent mass destruction. As we say in the chorus, ‘it’s history on repeat.'” The Black Angels explain in press notes. ” We are living in a ‘Wilderness Of Mirrors’, where it’s hard to tell what’s right from wrong, up from down, or the truth from lies as we navigate through these times where the fate of humanity is being refracted and reflected from one state of panic to another. The world is a ‘bleeding animal’ and we are left exhausted, polarized, and ‘pleading from street to bloody street.’  History has proven, time and time again, that without a drastic metamorphosis from our leaders, politics, and ultimately ourselves..‘you can be the one who saves yourself, or you can watch it all go to hell.'”

Directed by Craig Staggs and featuring animation by Minnow Mountain, the accompanying video for “Empires Falling” captures humanity’s brutal and oppressive history endlessly repeating in front of a psychedelic hellscape.

With five albums under their collective belts, 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 firmly cemented a unique take on psych rock that remains true to psych rock forebears like  Syd Barrett, Roky EricksonArthur Lee, and The Velvet Underground, while thematically touching upon contemporary concerns. 

Interestingly, during that same period of time, the members of the acclaimed Austin-based JOVM mainstays have also managed to build a global profile within the international psych rock scene, a profile that has been further cemented by their long-running celebration of all things psychedelic, Levitation Festival, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that this year is a big year in the band’s almost two decade history: Their sixth album — and first 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 AgnelloWilderness 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. 

Throughout Wilderness of Mirrors‘ material, the band adds mellotron, string arrangements and an assortment of different keyboards to the mix, which adds different textures to their overall sound. Thematically, the album continues upon their long-held reputation for touching upon contemporary concerns — in particular, our uncertain and urgent moment of political tumult, the pandemic, and the ongoing devastation of the environment and its long-term implications to us and our descendants, among others. 

So far I’ve written about two of the forthcoming album’s singles:

  • El Jardín,” a single, which at first glance is 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 all of us: destroying the environment will ultimately lead to the destruction of humanity. 
  • Firefly,” a loving yet classic Black Angels-like homage to 60s French pop, featuring a guest spot from Thievery Corporation‘s LouLou Ghelickhani, who contributes sultrily delivered vocals in French and English, alongside Maas’ imitable falsetto and paired with a hook-driven arrangement featuring reverb-drenched guitars, Maas’ supple and propulsive bass lines, some simple yet forceful timekeeping from Bailey and twinkling keys. 

“Without A Trace,” Wilderness of Mirrors‘ third and latest single is a bit of classic, Passover through Directions to See a Ghost-era Black Angels centered around fuzzy and distorted power chords, a reverb-drenched guitar solo, Bailey’s thunderous and propulsive time keeping paired with Maas’ imitable vocal delivery and supple bass lines. The song sonically and thematically is an eerie and brooding meditation that asks “is is still possible to be invincible when everyone else is expendable.”

“We have always said that if you can rob a bank to our music then we are in the right ballpark,” The Black Angels say in press notes. “And while we don’t condone robbing a bank – the idea alone creates an anticipatable, adrenaline inducing soundtrack for your mind.” 

The band will be embarking on an extensive headlining North American tour that includes an October 17, 2022 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Tour dates, as always are below. 

North American Tour Dates 

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

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays The Black Angels Team Up with Thievery Corporation’s LouLou Ghelickhani On a Trippy Yet Loving Ode to French Pop

With five albums under their collective belts, 2006’s Passover, 2008’s Directions to See a Ghost 2010’s Phosphene Dream, 2013’s Indigo Meadow, 2014’s Clear Lake Forest and 2017’s Death Song, 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 firmly cemented a unique take on psych rock that remains true to psych rock forebears like  Syd Barrett, Roky EricksonArthur Lee, and The Velvet Underground, while thematically touching upon contemporary concerns.

During that same period of time, the members of The Black Angeles have also built a global profile in the international psych rock scene, a profile that has been further cemented by their long-running celebration of all things psychedelic, Levitation Festival, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. 

2022 is a big year in the band’s almost two decade history: Their sixth album — and first 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 AgnelloWilderness 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. 

Throughout Wilderness of Mirrors‘ material, the band adds mellotron, string arrangements and an assortment of different keyboards to the mix, which adds different textures to their overall sound. Thematically, the album continues upon their long-held reputation for touching upon contemporary concerns — in particular, our uncertain and urgent moment of political tumult, the pandemic, and the ongoing devastation of the environment and its long-term implications to us and our descendants, among others.

Last month, I wrote about the forthcoming album’s first single, “El Jardín,” which at first glance is 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. 

Wilderness of Mirrors‘ second and latest single “Firefly” is a loving yet classic Black Angels-like homage to 60s French pop, featuring a guest spot from Thievery Corporation‘s LouLou Ghelickhani, who contributes sultrily delivered vocals in French and English, alongside Maas’ imitable falsetto and paired with a hook-driven arrangement featuring reverb-drenched guitars, Maas’ supple and propulsive bass lines, some simple yet forceful timekeeping from Bailey and twinkling keys.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Black Angels Announce First Album in Five Years, Share Forceful “El Jardín”

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.”

Live Footage: The Black Angels Perform “Young Men Dead” at LEVITATION Festival

Levitation Festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of  The Black Angels in the back of a tour van in 2007 — let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival. 

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three day event the following year. Austin Psych Fest quickly became an international destination for psych rock fans with lineups featuring up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from The Black Angels. Renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, the festival has sparked an new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of several similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene. 

The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.

Live at LEVITATION‘s second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION features the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost. “Since the beginning The Black Angels were meant to be heard live,” the band’s Christian Bland explains in press notes. “This record captures the rumble of the drums and amps, and the very essence of the way it should sound. Now future generations and new listeners can now hear how these songs were meant to be heard.”

The album’s first single was a hypnotic and equally menacing version of Passover single “Manipulation” that featured a mesmerizing guest spot from Elephant Stone‘s bassist, sitarist and frontman Rishi Dihr. And building up more buzz for the album’s release day — which is tomorrow — the band released the live album’s second and latest single, a muscular and menacing version of Passover single “Young Men Dead.” The accompanying live footage captures the band and their live sound with an uncanny fidelity.

This weekend is a big weekend for the band: As I mentioned their live album, Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION is slated for a digital and vinyl release tomorrow. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’d recall that The Black Angels and MIEN frontman Alex Mass released his solo debut, a meditative and gentler take on the psych rock sound he’s developed throughout his nearly two decade career, inspired by the birth of his son Luca.

Much like countless other artists across the globe, the pandemic has put touring on hold indefinitely. So, Maas and his backing band — Bryan Richie, Jake Garcia and Rob Kidd — decamped to nearby Bastrop, TX to bring the live show that they had developed around the album’s material to the world through a live performance film, shot in the Texan city’s historic downtown.  “We shot this down in an old opera house built in 1889 and a 100 year old German tailor mercantile building in historic downtown, which is now Astro Records,” Maas says in press notes. “This session is a glimpse of what a tour on Luca would look like had we not been in a pandemic. It was a joy to get out and get back with the friends and collaborators I created this album with, and bring these songs to life. For now this is the world tour, and a look at what we’re looking forward to being able to do on stage when we are back up and rolling! Thank you to Jonas Wilson of Mr. Pink Records who asked me originally to film this in the beautiful city of Bastrop.” 

Featuring sections from Luca and three new songs, the live session shot in Bastrop, TX will stream as a Levitation Session on March 27, 2021 at 7:00PM Central.

Live Footage: The Black Angels Performs “Manipulation” at LEVITATION Festival with Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dihr

Levitation Festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of The Black Angels in the back of a tour van in 2007 — let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three day event the following year. The festival quickly became an international destination for psych rock fans with lineups featuring up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from The Black Angels. Renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, the festival has sparked an new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of several similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene.

The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour. Live at LEVITATION’s second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION features the festival’s founders The Black Angels. Comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, the album captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s early days — and for Black Angels fans, like myself, it also features six songs from their first two albums, Passover and Directions to See a Ghost.

The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION is slated for a March 26, 2021 digital and vinyl release through The Reverberation Society, and as The Black Angels’ Christian Bland explains in press notes, “Since the beginning The Black Angels were meant to be heard live. This record captures the rumble of the drums and amps, and the very essence of the way it should sound. Now future generations and new listeners can now hear how these songs were meant to be heard.”

The album’s first single is hypnotic and menacing live version of Passover single “Manipulation” that features a mesmerizing guest spot from Elephant Stone’s bassist, sitarist and frontman Rishi Dihr. The accompanying live footage was filmed at Austin’s Seaholm Power Plant.