Local Wire

Black Angels

What with all the Brian Jonestown mass o' curs barking around MySpace these days, getting all aflutter about a new "psych-rock" band is a task. Mainly 'cause most of these swirlers make it sound like a task, twisting the reverb button to "obvious" and pretending they're not jam bands. Enter Christian Bland, singer-screamer for this Austin, Texas, combo, with a nasally, searing whine that grabs the reins of the Black Angels' crushed-velvet pounding and whips it into a fury. More menacing than most of their contemporaries on Passover, their brawny debut -- "Young Men Dead" stomps like Zeus, while "The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven" sneaks like a cobra -- the Angels keep the sonics raw, the recording bare, and the sentiments never secretly hippie-dippy ("You can feel her madness/You can see right through her eyes"). Aside from the bassist's being born on a cult compound, the band's mad cred derives from cortex-cutting fuzz riffs and some of the most desperate gutter hallucinogens since early Spacemen 3.
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Eric Davidson