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The Black Angels

Idioma disponível: inglês
Conjuring a dark and moody variety of psychedelia leavened with garage rock and shoegaze-styled indie rock, the Black Angels became one of the leading psych-revival acts of the 21st Century and helped revive Texas's reputation as a center for lysergic sounds. Embracing vintage sounds like the Velvet Underground and the 13th Floor Elevators along with more contemporary acts such as Spiritualized and Spacemen 3, their music is powerfully atmospheric and evocative, generating a suitably buzzy sound that avoids the cliches of the genre, charting a course that first found full flower on 2008's Directions to See A Ghost and continued to explore the otherworldly on 2010's darkly compelling Phosphene Dream, 2017's emphatic Death Song, and 2022's dynamic Wilderness of Mirrors. The Black Angels were formed in Austin, TX in the spring of 2004; the initial lineup featured Alex Maas on vocals, Christian Bland on guitar, Jennifer Raines on keyboards, Nathan Ryan on bass, and Stephanie Bailey on drums. Taking their name from "The Black Angel's Death Song," a song on the Velvet Underground's classic debut album, the band made their recording debut with a self-released CD-R EP, 2005's Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left Of Them?; three of its four songs would appear on a variant edition, The Sniper at the Gates of Dawn, that appeared the same year. Light in the Attic Records issued a more professionally-packaged, self-titled four song EP by the end of the year, and in 2006 they set out on a tour of North America, including an appearance at that year's South by Southwest Music Conference. The band's relationship with Light in the Attic continued for their first full-length album, 2006's Passover, described on the LP's hype sticker as "Native American Drone 'n' Roll." The album was recorded and mixed at Erik Wofford's Austin-based studio Cacophony Recorders, and they returned there to make their second album, 2008's Directions to See a Ghost. The second album saw them expanded to a sextet with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Kyle Hunt. In late 2008, they were chosen to serve as the backing band for former 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson on a series of dates across the West Coast of the U.S. In 2010, they recorded a pair of collaborative tracks with UNKLE, one of which -- "With You in My Head" -- appeared on the soundtrack to that summer's multi-million-grossing The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. This large-scale exposure led to their third album, September 2010's Phosphene Dream (their first release for Blue Horizon Records), becoming something of a breakthrough for the group when it hit the Top 50 of the Billboard chart immediately following its release. By this time, the group was back to a five piece, following the departure of Jennifer Raines. In 2011, the Black Angels released a companion EP, Phosgene Nightmare, initially released on ten-inch white vinyl. In 2012, following Nate Ryan's departure from the group, Rishi Dhir of Elephant Stone became an auxiliary bandmember, filling in on guitar and occasionally bolstering their live sound with sitar. Released in 2013, Indigo Meadow was produced and mixed by Grammy-nominated fellow Texan John Congleton, and that release was soon followed by another companion EP, April 2014's Clear Lake Forest. As the band busied themselves with live work and helping to organize the increasingly popular Texas music gathering the Austin Psych Fest (later renamed Levitation), four years passed before the group released their next album, although the band didn't lie dormant during that time. They contributed to Britain's Fuzz Club Records split-single series, providing the A-side "Molly Moves My Generation" to Sonic Jesus' B-side "Lost Reprise" in 2014. The following year they contributed "Waterloo Waltz" to Scion Audio Visual's Riley Hawk: Northwest Blow Out EP. 2017 saw the release of Death Song, which ranked with the Black Angels' heaviest work to date, and unveiled a new lineup, with longtime members Stephanie Bailey, Christian Bland, Kyle Hunt, and Alex Maas joined by Jake Garcia (guitar, bass, and vocals). The group also nodded to the importance of the Levitation fest with the 2021 vinyl-only release Live at Levitation, which was compiled from performances at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of the event and was pressed in six suitably trippy color variants. And Alex Maas used the band's downtime to record and release a solo album, 2020's Luca. After a five-year break from the studio, the Black Angels made their return with 2022's Wilderness of Mirrors, which reinforced their trippy, hard-edged sound while adding a wealth of keyboard accents. The release was followed by a tour of North America, while a run of dates in Europe and the U.K. followed in 2023.
© Mark Deming & MacKenzie Wilson & James Wilkinson /TiVo
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