Photo by Courtney Chavanell
Since the first uttering of the phrase “psychedelic rock”–a description attributed to the 13th Floor Elevators in 1966–Austin has sat at the forefront of that particular sound. It’s gone in and out of style over the years, but nowadays you’ll find a wide range of bands embracing the ’60s–in sound if not in spirit. When the Black Angels debuted in 2006 with Passover, they turned heads by perfectly evoking bands like the Elevators and the Velvet Underground. But there’s also been a forward-thinking current bubbling underneath the local outfit’s apocalyptic sound. That’s how they keep turning heads with each new release.
The band crafted their fourth album, Indigo Meadow, after a busy schedule. The Black Angels extend their roots into a number of side projects, including the UFO Club and Sweet Tea, the latter of which also features Erika Wennerstrom from Austin’s Heartless Bastards. Perhaps the Angels’ biggest endeavor is the Austin Psych Fest, an annual music festival now in its sixth year. Each spring, the band headlines a hefty bill of psychedelic music that includes both original ’60s acts like Roky Erikson and newer proponents as well. The Black Angels’ music might be dark, but the band is incredibly inclusive–dead set on spreading the psychedelic gospel.
Indigo Meadow draws all these diverse experiences together. Starting with 2010’s Phosphene Dream, the Black Angels started to incorporate more pop elements into their work, and the new record is brimming with sunshine–well, relatively at least. You can hear Black Sabbath and the Pixies sharing sonic space inside the band’s pummeling drones, especially on today’s song of the day. “Evil Things” finds the Black Angels right where they excel: tipping their hats to the past, but setting their sights towards the future.