The Black Angels take their name from a Velvet Underground song, use a photo of Nico on their T-shirt designs, and proudly declare their allegiance to the grand tradition of psychedelic music in their home state of Texas. You almost don’t need to listen to them to know that the Black Angels sound like a cross between the Velvet Underground’s urban grittiness and the 13th Floor Elevators’ druggy abandon.
If that’s what you want, the Black Angels have it all: primitive drumbeats pounding away, guitars churning away at two chords for minutes at a time, distorted organ wailing, vocals crying out from somewhere deep in the mix — all of it so soaked in reverb that it sounds as if it could have been recorded in the concrete hallways of an abandoned nuclear-testing facility.
But while a similar-minded act like the Warlocks might make you feel as if you’re dancing at the most debauched party ever thrown at Andy Warhol’s Factory, the Black Angels can make you feel as though you’re tripping with the Manson Family. Take “Never/Ever” from the new album Directions To See A Ghost. The song opens with an “All Tomorrow’s Parties” guitar part, introduces some droning sitar sounds, and then slowly gets noisier and weirder before turning a corner into a room full of horror-movie screams. Then it suddenly switches to an intense minor-key rave-up with a “Sister Ray” organ.
Listening to it is a disorienting experience, and it may even be detrimental to your mental health — the band members certainly sound as if they’re losing their minds. But sanity is a small price to pay for music this intense.
The Warlocks open.
BLACK ANGELS, The Casbah, Tuesday, June 3, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $14.