WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

June 26, 2008, 5:54 pm
Filed under: New Music

I didn’t believe it. Hype to the record store clerk (as I’m sure you are all aware having come in contact with us), creates this negative magnetic force for an album. When the hype alarm rings, we immediately pass over an album and usually forget to come back to it. It’s a really bad habit. I miss a lot of good stuff because I assume anything with spiraling push and praise behind it is going to be the same old stuff. Something safe to listen to. Something that sounded like the last big thing to be hyped. For the majors this is true. For our beloved indie leagues, it can actually sometimes carry some weight. Because a lot of indies lack the promotional money and tools that majors utilize, hype is sometimes the actual backlash of an album being good. Really? For real. And I’m talking from the jaded, pretenious record store employee’s perspective right now. Anyway. That brings us to….

Black Angels – Directions to See a Ghost (Light in the Attic)

This album just came out about a month ago. Compared to the push that the last album received, this release just seemed to sputter out to the masses. That’s not to say it didn’t come out to big noise as well, just not anything close to the previous. Their debut was hurled into the world kicking and droning something big. Comparisons were flying everywhere. The favorites – Jesus & Mary Chain, and oh yes, they went the full mile – the Velvet Underground. If record stores were to sell an album each time said release was stuck with a sticker referencing the Velvet Underground or the Beatles (sometimes even both!!), there’d be no such thing as the record store famine. Thus, anything that gets pinned as such, I just don’t get around to listening to. Sorry, underneath all this beard, I can be snobby too.

But. I got an in-store play copy of this release about a month before it came out. I had not really ever got around to diving into the debut, so I figured hell, I’ll toss it on and see what all the commotion is about. I loved it. It hit me. I passed up on a band that could have been one of my favorites over a year ago! My snobbery came back around and gave me a good kick in the ass.

The Black Angels’ got their name from a Velvet Underground song, it’s true. Their publishing company goes by the name Death Song. What do you get if you put the two names together? Yeah. Anyway. This is actually a real, live case where the lineage drawn from VU down to this band is actually consistent. It’s a good, straight line. It’s genuine. I figured these guys would be some kind of hacks ripping on Jesus & Mary Chain, Spiritualized, etc. But I was wrong. And pleasantly surprised. Within the realm of those masters of the sound, these guys actually find a comfortable seat. The Black Angels create this swirling, desert death rock sound. This is not an easy one to pull off, you can either (in most cases) fall incredibly, embarrassingly short, or you can be one of the few that gets it.

Me? What do I like? I’m a sucker for things like the Brian Jonestown Massacre (one of my very favorite bands), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and early Trail of Dead. So, really, it’s only natural that I’m into these guys. It’s that exact mood. That sparse, dark, psychedelic lost sound. Heavy, droning, bored guitars, a sitar-like distortion, repetitive, yet driving drums. These guys have it all. Even distant, reverbed and melodic vocals. The desolate imagery is masterfully laid out in front of us. When you pick this up, make sure to read the lyric sheet too. Fully worth checking out.

70 minutes long and not a boring thread in it. As you listen, you’ll hear something new each time. It’s pretty thickly layered. Are those Cicada’s at one point? I had to turn off my stereo just to tell. It’s one to turn on and zone out to.



1 Comment so far
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Chuck D would be appalled if he knew you stopped taking his advice.

Comment by Kyle

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