The Black Angels, from Austin, Texas, are known as a psychedelic rock band. That’s a kind of music that dates back to the golden era of garage bands. The Angels owe much to the 1960s, and they owe more than just their name to the Velvet Underground and the sloppy seconds known as ’70s rock and roll. They’re good. Three years ago, their third album Phosphene Dream earned the Black Angels a slot as a Rollingstone.com band of the week. Drummer Stephanie Bailey, guitarist Christian Bland, Kyle Hunt on keyboards, and percussionist/bassist/vocalist Alex Maas sound as if tutored by the 13th Floor Elevators, a psychedelic rock band also from Austin, but one that came about a good four decades earlier. The Black Angels listening experience takes all of us who were teenaged record-buyers then right back to that place in time.
- Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 8 p.m.
143 South Cedros Avenue,
It follows that the original psychedelic rock was about an era — namely, people trying to play what stoned sounded and looked like. Did it? No, not really, but the inclusion of a particular sound borrowed from Indian culture called droning helped. Now, minus the druggy culture from which the original psychedelic rock movement came, it all seems detached and rather like a trip to a museum. But what a fine museum it is, one that includes such memories as that Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967, the real Woodstock, and the loosely connected amoebic force we called ourselves back then: the counter culture. And even though things have in truth changed very little for the effort, the music was all about the politics. It’s a new day. The Black Angels seem among the best of the crop that create within the framework of that ancient rock-combo sound, right down to the Farfisa organ, a device that once symbolized musical rebellion but that sounds like a toy now.