Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Bad Vibrations” by The Black Angels from the 2010 album Phosphene Dream on Blue Horizon.
A friend of mine once equated The Black Angels to war. In describing the Austin band’s “hypno-drone n roll” he told me their songs would make the perfect lost soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s psychedelic war epic Apocalypse Now. The auditory equivalent of napalm singed trees and burned out villages The Black Angels’ sound is a dark-hearted dirge monster that feeds on fears, memories and madness. Not unlike Francis’s film, The Black Angels force us to explore the war inside. “Bad Vibrations” – from their forthcoming third LP, Phosphene Dream (on a revamped Blue Horizon Records), conjures images of blackened beaches and peripheral hallucinations. Recorded in LA with Black Mountain producer Dave Sardy, Phosphene Dream lives in the saturated-space between psychedelia and heavy metal. Drummer Stephanie Bailey sets the mood with a low hanging fog of beats that combines perfectly Nate Ryan’s driving bass and Christian Bland’s swirling, Iron Butterfly like guitars. Alex Maas’s eerie vocals are a discomforting narration that set the mind on getting the hell out of this blurry nightmare -- if only you could find the door.
The Black Angels and Black Mountain embark on a Canada / US tour this fall landing at The Showbox on November 29th. The bands Black will also mark their simultaneous album release date of September 14th with a Ticketmaster promotion through which the purchase of tickets will come with a digital download of both Phosphene Dream and Black Mountain’s Wilderness Heart. You’ll find a lot more info on the Angels’ website. For now, here’s a nicely filmed live version of “Science Killer” from their last album, Directions To See A Ghost: