The Black Angels ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

The Black Angels

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The Black Angels by Mishka Westell

The Black Angels have proven themselves to be the undisputed avatars of contemporary psychedelic rock, simultaneously exalting the genre’s kaleidoscopic past as they thrust it further into the future. The band makes their Austin City Limits debut with songs from their latest release, Indigo Meadow.

Named in tribute to the Velvet Underground number “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” Austin’s The Black Angels found themsleves the spearhead of a new psychedelic revival soon after their formation in 2004. The band’s carefully crafted blend of melody and noise won over fans of both modern indie rock and old-school acid rock its first two albums Passover and Directions to See a Ghost. The Angels moved into a poppier direction with 2010’s Phosphene Dream, which Rolling Stone said was full of “smartly layered riffs and echo-slathered melodies.”

Released earlier this year, Indigo Meadow brings a new focus to their wide-ranging songcraft, the righteous riffs and dogmatic drones gaining increased power as they fuel a more expansive emotional terrain. “Our music has always tried to shed light on issues that may be hard to deal with or confront,” says singer/guitarist Alex Maas. Indigo Meadow “perfectly balances melody with noise,” wrote Mojo, while the Austin Chronicle says “the album bridges the quartet’s trademark dark reverberations with the fun-house psych of breakthrough Phosphene Dream.”

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