On April 21st, Record Store Day, psychedelic rockers The Black Angels released a 7 inch vinyl containing their two newest tracks since last releasing their B-sides collection, Phosgene Nightmare, in 2011.
For those not so familiar with the band, The Black Angels are an Austin, Texas based psychedelic rock band formed in 2004 that have become a leading force within the underground psychedelic music scene by organizing the annual psychedelic music festival entitled Austin Psych Fest.
To date, the band has released three full length albums which include Passover (2006), Directions to See a Ghost (2008), and Phosphene Dream (2010). The Black Angels music can generally be described as a dark sound with droning bass lines, haunting vocals reminiscent of Jim Morrison, fuzzed out guitars whose leads wail and chant every note played, and heavy reverb that provides an almost alternate dimension ambiance. Their music has been featured on various shows such as Fringe, Bones, Californication, Vampire Diaries and True Blood, as well as having tracks on movies such as Death Sentence and Twilight: Eclipse.
However, the band’s latest release takes a bit of a turn and shows a different side of The Black Angels which may be somewhat unexpected by some fans. The orange vinyl Record Store Day exclusive contains the songs “Watch Out Boy” and it’s B-side “I’d Rather Be Lonely,” which both share the same major key and are lighter than the signature sound the band is otherwise known for. One would almost think that with these new songs The Black Angels are paying tribute to their namesake, The Velvet Underground (the band’s name is inspired by the V.U. song The Black Angel’s Death), as both tunes would sound more at home on a Velvet Underground album than a Black Angel’s album.
Not only are the band’s song arrangements suggestive of the Velvet Underground sound, but “Watch Out Boy”‘s verses also use the same chord progression as The Velvet Underground’s “Heroin.” The songs do stay within the confines of the 60s-70s sound that one can imagine has influenced The Black Angels, but it certainly does stray from the dark psychedelia that the band is known for, leaving one to wonder what their next full length album will sound like.
A bonus to this release is the inclusion of an Mp3 download which contains an extra track not on the actual vinyl, a cover of The Zombie’s “She’s Not There,” to which The Black Angels stay true while touching it up with a signature sound guitar solo. Therefore, avid collectors are capable of owning the tunes while keeping the vinyl in perfectly new condition, but being a Record Store Day exclusive this release is only available at independently owned brick and mortar record stores in a limited run. Fans should run out and get their copy before they’re nowhere to be found.
Album: Watch Out Boy / I’d Rather Be Lonely
Artist: The Black Angels
Label: Blue Horizon