“If you’re going to sing something, it might as well be something important,” reflects The Black Angels’ Alex Maas.
That ethos is the pulsing heartbeat of ‘Death Song,’ the Austin neo-psych rockers’ first new album in four years and their most fully realized work to date. Written well before the vitriolic election cycle and the uncertainty left in its wake, these songs now form an uncanny soundtrack to our modern American climate of division and anxiety, wrapping up the personal and the political into dense layers of provocative insight. Part protest, part emotional catharsis, this is a troubled record for troubled times, and in that sense, it’s classic Black Angels.
While the band’s studio discography earned rapturous attention, their live show elevated the music to new and ecstatic heights. On stage, The New York Times said, they “play psychedelic rock as if the 1960’s never ended, and they are absolute masters of it.” The band toured with everyone from The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age and Wolfmother, in addition to backing psych pioneer Roky Erickson, taking over the airwaves with electrifying television performances on Letterman, Conan, and ACL, and slaying festival crowds at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Fuji Rock, Primavera, and more. As if performing wasn’t enough, The Black Angels co-founded their own festival called Levitation (formerly Austin Psych Fest), which has grown into one of the best-reviewed and most expertly-curated musical gatherings in the country, hosting everyone from Brian Wilson to the Jesus and Mary Chain since launching in 2008.