The Black Angels' music often sounds as if the world is coming to an end, which is just how singer Alex Maas likes it.
“I think the world is a very scary place,” Maas says by cellphone from the band’s latest tour stop in Washington, D.C. “It’s obviously a beautiful place, too. Maybe this is our outlet to emit this underlying warning about how things would be if everybody lost faith and hope.”
The Austin, Texas-bred band has been spreading its ominous, reverb-drenched drones for more than five years now, along the way converting a flock of passionate followers who likewise believe that 1966 was popular music’s creative apex. The Angels’ latest collection of songs for the recently resurrected Blue Horizon label, Phosphene Dream, continues the fivesome’s interest in all things Psychedelic, while at the same time tweaking its trippy formula — if only slightly.
Take album-opener “Bad Vibrations,” which kicks off with the band’s trademark death-march drums, echoing guitars and Maas’ deadpan, Grace Slick-informed croon before, three-fourths in, blowing things up with a schizoid segue in which the tempo is tripled and Maas yelps with impressive glee. The effect is both disorienting and deeply satisfying, transporting the listener to a completely different headspace within a matter of seconds.
The Black Angels perform Sunday at Southgate House with Suuns. Go here to read Jason Gargano's full interview.