Tag: The Black Angels

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.

New Video: The Vacant Lots Share Slow-Burning and Brooding “Consolation Prize”

With the release of 2020’s Interzone through London-based psych label Fuzz Club, the Brooklyn-based psych duo The Vacant Lots — Jared Artaud (vocals, guitar, synths) and Brian McFayden (drums, synths, vocals) — crafted an album’s worth of material that saw the duo blending dance music and psych rock while maintaining the minimalist approach that has won the band acclaim across the international psych scene. 

The duo’s highly-anticipated fourth album Closure is slated for a September 30, 2022 release through Fuzz Club. Written during pandemic-related lockdowns, the eight-song Closure clocks in at 23 minutes and continues the Brooklyn-based duo’s established “minimal is maximal” ethos — all while being a soundtrack for a shattered, fucked up world. 

“During the pandemic the two of us were totally isolated in our home studios,” The Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud says. “I don’t think the pandemic directly influenced the songs in an obvious way, but merely amplified existing feelings of alienation and isolation. We found ourselves writing in a more direct and vulnerable way than ever before.”

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

Chase:” Written on a Synsonics drum machine and a Yamaha CS-10 synthesizer, “Chase” is firmly rooted in their long-held “minimal is maximal” ethos but while seeing the Brooklyn-based duo pushing their sound in a club friendly direction while still being lysergic. Arguably one of their most dance floor friendly songs, “Chase” is centered around what may be the most vulnerable and direct lyrics of their growing catalog with the song subtly suggesting that at some point we will all need to dance away our heartache — if only for a three or four minutes. 

“‘Chase’ is a song about longing, about the struggle of love across time zones,” The Vacant Lots’ Brian MacFayden explains in press notes. “It’s about the desire to close that gap of separation, but also the anticipation and excitement that builds between each encounter. It’s about a sense of knowing how it should be before it is.” The band’s Jared Artaud adds, “‘Chase’ has this duality that strikes a balance between wanting to dance and taking a pill that plunges you on the couch.”

Thank You,” a dance floor friendly banger centered around a relentless and angular, arpeggiated baseline paired with a four-on-the-floor drum machine pattern, glistening synths, angular guitar buzz and sneering vocals. But while being a New Order-like banger, “Thank You” is a bitter tell-off to a people (and situations) that have wasted valuable time. 

“‘Thank You’ was built in the framework of simplicity,” The Vacant Lots Brian MacFayden says. “It has a relentless pace driven by an angular arpeggiated bassline and drum machine pattern. A Juno-6 was used for chords throughout, a Korg M500 for the leads, and the track is brought to another level with guitars layered on top. The process of crafting this song was done entirely remotely due to the pandemic and the layers over time became more and more refined until we were satisfied with each sound source.”

“Consolation Prize,” Closure‘s third and latest single continues the Brooklyn-based duo’s long-held minimal is maximal ethos but while leaning heavily towards industrial goth with the track being centered around droning synths, wiry bursts of guitar, some efficient thump paired with vocals expressing aching heartbreak and frustration. Sonically, the song sounds like a narcotic synthesis of Suicide, Iggy Pop, and New Order.

Filmed and edited by Alexander Schipper, the accompanying video follows a leather jacket-clad Katerina Samar walking through a park. Shot in grainy Super 8 black and white film, the video employs kaleidoscopic filters and old film stock to give the proceedings a slow-burning yet trippy air.

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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.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Elephant Stone Go on a Trippy Journey Through Space in Visual for “M. Lonely”

Rishi Dhir is a Brossard, Quebec-born, Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He’s a grizzled Montreal indie rock and psych rock scene vet with stints in bands like The Datsons and The High Dials. Dhir is also an in-demand sitar player and bassist, who has collaborated with the likes of Beck, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, The Dream Syndicate, psych rock supergroup MIEN and countless others.

The Brossard-born, Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist founded the acclaimed JOVM mainstay psych rock act Elephant Stone back in 2009. Along with collaborators and bandmates Miles Duper (drums), Gab Lambert (guitar), Robbie MacArthur (guitar) and Jason Kent (keys, guitar), the Canadian psych rock outlive has released five albums centered around a sound that incorporates elements of traditional Indian classical music with Western psych rock, rooted in his own personal experiences.

Dhir’s own journey in music, frequently found him trying to find a place that fit him until he decided that what he made was worth sharing in the space that he had created for himself. “I only write about what I know and think I understand. As long as there’s Rishi, there’s going to be Elephant Stone,” Dhir says in press notes.

Slated for a February 18, 2022 release through Elephants on Parade, Elephant Stone’s soon-to-be released EP Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune reportedly picks up on the personal aspects of survival explored on their previous album Hollow and what that means on a dying planet with — or without people. “I built this storyline about a hermit who is very content in his solitary world, until a world event happens that causes everyone else to stay home as well…sound familiar?” Dhir explains. “He sees this as a mockery of him and his choices, deciding instead to build a rocket ship to the moon to be left alone.” 

Over the course of the EP’s four songs, the EP’s main character M. Lonely “ultimately realizes he was happier back on imperfect earth with all of its imperfect people,” Dhir says.

The EP’s latest single “M. Lonely” is centered around an expansive and mind-bending psych rock arrangement with rousingly anthemic hooks, some blazing solo work, a dreamy acoustic-driven bridge, and Dhir’s propulsive bass lines. While most of their output features lyrics written and sung in English, Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune is a departure for the band, as the material is written and sung exclusively in French. According to Dhir, the EP doubles as a love letter to Montreal and to all of their Francophone fans around the world.

“M. Lonely” actually sets the stage for the EP’s storyline: the EP’s titular character is upset about a worldwide epidemic that forces the rest of the planet’s population to stay home for their safety. M. Lonely decides that he needs to leave Earth for his own reclusive sanity.

“The riff from this song dates back to my time playing with The Black Angels in 2012,” Dhir explains. “Following our gig in Nashville, Christian Bland (The Black Angels’ guitarist) and I proceeded to get drunk backstage and started jamming. Coaxed by Alex Mass (The Black Angels’ vocalist), we came up with the idea of creating a new band called The Woodpeckers: playing primal 60’s garage while wearing Woody Woodpecker masks. We both came up with tunes on the spot and, 10 years later, mine ended up evolving into ‘M. Lonely.’ Anyhow, I’m still waiting for those Woody Woodpecker masks…” 

Directed by Daniel Ross and Vincent Gauthier, the recently released video or “M. Lonely” features the band in mod-style outfits playing in front of trippy animations and effects by Vivid_AV. The video hints at the EP’s larger story with Dhir dressed in an Elephant Stone spacesuit, and a spaceship traveling through the cosmos.

Live Footage: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Perform “Robot Stop” and “Hot Water” at Levitation

Levitation Festival (initially founded as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back 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. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in ChicagoVancouver, 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 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.
  • The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured 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
  • The series third album Primal ScreamLive at LEVITATION features the legendary and influential British psych rockers — currently, Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — during their career spanning 2015 LEVITATION set. The set featured hits from landmark albums like  ScreamadelicaGive Out But Don’t Give UpXTRMNTR and others

The Reverberation Appreciation Society surprised psych rock fans with the surprise release of the fourth installment of their Live at LEVITATION series — King Gizzard and The Lizard WizardLive at LEVITATION. The double LP features the acclaimed JOVM mainstays’ 2014 and 2016 Levitation Festival appearances.

The Aussie JOVM mainstays’ 2014 appearance is presented in full on the first LP. That set is historic because it’s their first North American show, ever — and it includes a live performance of their then-unreleased “I’m in Your Mind Fuzz” suite. The rest of the set includes early versions of material loved by fans today while offering a look into the creative process of a band that was just about to explode into the global scene. After their 2014 North American tour, the band spent the summer in Brooklyn recording I’m Not Your Mind Fuzz and Quarters.

The second LP consists of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s 2016 Levitation Festival appearance: The band returned to celebrate the release of that year’s critically applauded, mind-bending effort Nonagon Infinity. Unfortunately, that year’s festival was canceled because of severe weather; but the recording on the second LP is one of two shows Gizz played at Barracuda thats weekend. Sadly, Barracuda is no longer.

Both shows were recorded by Craig Lawrence and mixed by the band’s mastermind Stu Mackenzie at their Melbourne-based studio — and specifically mastered for vinyl. To celebrate the live album’s release, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and the band released some blistering live footage of the band playing Nonagon infinity rippers “Robot Stop” and “Hot Water.” Play loud and then rock out.

The vinyl release will feature four unique colorways, each limited to 2000 in a matte gatefold featuring unique gold foil embossed numbered jackets numbered 1-8000. The first run will be the only one with those features — and a special record for anyone who collects records.

The album is also bundled with a super limited edition of tees, tie dyes and screen printed foil prints featuring artwork by Alan Forbes from the 2016 show and the long lost 2014 poster by C.M Ruiz.

Live Footage: Primal Scream at LEVITATION Festival

ea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back 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. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of 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.

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.
The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured 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.

e (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — have embraced an eclectic and diverse array of styles and sounds from psych pop, degenerate rock ‘n’ roll, euphoric rave and industrial gloom while going through a complicated series of lineup changes that have also included The Stone Roses’ Mani and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, and the death of beloved guitarist Robert “Throb” Young. They’ve collaborated on material with George Clinton and Kate Moss. And throughout their run, they’ve managed to capture the mood and tone of the UK several times over — while surviving narcotic oblivion and countless personal traumas.

Slated for a November 19, 2021 release through The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Primal Scream — Live at LEVITATION is centered around the British legends’ 2015 LEVITATION set, a career spanning set, which pulled hits from landmark records like Screamadelica, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, XTRMNTR and others. To build up buzz for the album, LEVITATION, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and Primal Scream released two singles off the album: muscular renditions of Give Out But Don’t Give Up track “Jailbird” and XTRMNTR track “Accelerator.” The accompanying live footage serves as a reminder that Primal Scream is one of the best live bands in the entire world.

A/Canada and British and European stores, a Rough Trade vinyl exclusive and a very special American feature as part of the annual Ten Bands One Cause charity initiative. That feature will launch around National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October — and will benefit Red Door Community, where no one faces cancer alone.

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’ Alex Maas Releases a Teaser of His Upcoming LEVITATION Session

Alex Maas is an Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, best known for being the frontman and founding member of acclaimed Austin-based psych rock act The Black Angels and psych rock supergroup MIEN. In 2018, Maas’ life changed with the birth of his first child, a healthy and happy baby boy that he and his partner named Luca, which means bringer of life.

With his son’s birth, Maas experienced a complex flurry of emotions he hadn’t experienced or known before. Of course, he felt profound joy and awe over the creation of a new life — but there was to some lesser degree a deeply gnawing fear: What sort of world was his son going to grow up into and inhabit, exactly? How could Maas protect him its dangers and uncertainties? “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.”

Deriving its name from the name of his first-born son, Maas’ Brett Orrison co-produced, full-length album Luca was released late last year through Innovative Leisure. Although, the album found Maas’ stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist in his own right, the album’s material was a actually a long time coming, with some of its material dating back almost a decade — and painstakingly put together piece-by-piece over the past couple of years. While still rooted in the psych rock sound that helped win him fans and accolades across the global psych rock scene as a member of The Black Angels and MIEN, Luca’s material offers a much gentler, mediative take, showcasing what Maas says is “a whole different part of my brain.”

Inspired by the enormous skies and quiet, nature-filled expanses of his home state, the album finds Maas contemplating his son’s future in the terrifying and uncertain world, which he was born in and how he may attempt to navigate the perils, disappointments and frustrations of our world and our society. Unsurprisingly, it makes Luca the most personal and direct material, Maas has written and recorded in his nearly two decade recording career.

Last year, I wrote about two of Luca’s album singles:

“The City,” a woozy and intimate campfire-like song with a hauntingly sparse arrangement that reckons with the larger and brutal, historical cycle of human cruelty and violence. The song evokes despair, heartache and horror over the senselessness, stupidity and cruelty of our infighting and behavior towards each other,. “The enemy is always just outside the door and the enemy could be anything,” Maas explains.
“Been Struggling,” a dreamy and shuffling waltz that brings both classic Nashville and Scott Walker to mind, centered around a meditation on memory, fate and loss from the prospective of narrator who has seemingly lived a full and very messy life.

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. To celebrate the upcoming release of the live session and to build up some buzz for it, Levitation and Maas released a sneak peek of the session, “Too Much Hate,” a new song, played in a live setting. Centered around a spectral arrangement of reverb-drenched guitars, driving and tribal-like toms, shimmering keys and Maas’ intimate vocals, “Too Much Hate” is an incisive and thoughtful criticism of the ills of our world: from how we treat each other, how we raised our babies and our penchant for rash and impulsive decisions — without consideration of their long-term effect on ourselves and others. Indeed, there’s too much hate in our world and not enough listening and thinking.

“I tried to touch on a few things on this song that would attempt to identify things that make the world more beautiful,” Maas says of the new single. “I’ve been trying to give solutions and not just speak about the cancer that is eating our culture. Some problems of society are rooted in how we raise our children, how we treat each other and quick uninformed decisions when people shoot from the hip as opposed to sitting back and thinking rationally about how to act instead of reacting.”

You can purchase tickets to the livestream. But along with that you can grab an audio download of the session, plus limited edition cassettes and t-shirts with artwork by Real Fun Wow, available exclusively as part the stream. And you can also purchase a package that includes all of the above, with a limited edition vinyl pressing LP, signed by Maas and his backing band. Purchase link and information can be found here: https://levitation-austin.com/products/alex-maas-stream-ticket

Levitation Sessions Presents Alex Maas will be releasing through all digital retailers on April 9, 2021 and on vinyl early this summer.