Torn with fury from the dark mud of an ancient jungle comes Directions to See a Ghost, the Black Angels’ sophomore follow up to the 2006 album Passover. Picture a dimly lit, smokey room of an endless warehouse. Stack the Marshall Amps up tall, wrench up the bass and you might get the same feeling that this album gives your soul. The music does not come at you, it comes through you. It lurks in your chest and attacks your ears from the inside. The only thing you can do is to pull your oversized headphones on, kill the lights and let it run its course. Eventually the ceremony will be over and you’ll be set free to continue on your merry way, but you’ll feel primal… almost cleansed.
I heard Directions to See a Ghost for the first time last week and have been playing it through almost constantly for the past 4 days.
[audio:http://www.nwmusicblog.com/downloads/14 Plenty For All (Hot Snakes).mp3] (You On the Run)
From the very first song, You On The Run, which brings a vague image of a perfectly black Cadillac slowly building up speed through an empty town, I was mesmerized. The sound of the Austin Texas band can be described as psychadelic, or industrial shoegazer, droning guitar or gausian blues but it’s really more than all that. It’s alive with sound and feeling. It has strategy in the way it lures you in with soothing bass lines and slowly pumps you full with rhythm and melody like a venom. You are wrapped up, spun into a cocoon, and become overwhelmed with the sound. The third track on the album (and my personal favorite), Science Killer, plays out just like this. Even going so far as to toss in a shuffling maraca charm out the snake.
Throughout this album (and as a general rule for the Black Angels) the relentless kick drum and thundering boom of Stephanie Baily’s mallets on the toms dictate all. It can only be described as hypnotic. When matched up with the band’s dripping bass lines, distant vocals and actual usage of a “drone machine” escape is futile. You must surrender. Even the artwork on Directions to See a Ghost is a head trip. Embossed pink packaging with a spiraling and vibrating green design in utter compliment. It is the portal into the entire experience.
In the final track, Snake in the Grass, Alex Maas’ vocals push through a stormy set of verses spotted with distant and piercing screeches. His voice reaches out of an eerie track played backwards throughout the 16 minute song. It is the sound of the exorcism and recession of the ghost that had possessed me for a solid hour. A perfect finish to a truly haunting album.
Directions to See a Ghost hits stores May 15th, 2008, but if you are aching to hear it for yourself sooner than that, the Black Angels’ label, Light in the Attic, has set up a great deal for you. Beginning this Tuesday, April 15th you can head to your local record store and purchase a unique download card to all the digital files nearly a month in advance. Along with the instant download, you will receive a FREE limited edition Bonus EP featuring unreleased tracks when you pickup your physical copy at your local record store after May 13th. And oooh, is it pretty…
To get the full details and all your questions answered, head to the Light in the Attic site here. In this link is a list of all the participating record stores (nationwide) involved with this highly evolved distribution-part interwebs-part record store. I dig.
The Black Angels are also touring the hell out of Europe right now and are soon to be hitting the the lower 48 as well. I’ve seen them live before, it’s everything the album demands it to be…
They’ll be in our neck of the woods in June – I believe with the Donnas:
06-09 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
06-10 Vancouver, British Columbia – Richard’s on Richards
06-11 Seattle, WA – Neumos
You can check out the rest of the dates after the break. 04-04 Toronto, Ontario – Berkeley Church (Beautiful Noise taping) *
04-06 Dallas, TX – Space
04-19 Dallas, TX – Good Records (in-store, Record Store Day)
05-09 Paris, France – La Maroquinerie
05-10 Rye, England – Camber Sands Holiday Centre (ATP vs. Pitchfork
05-12 Birmingham, England – Academy
05-13 Glasgow, Scotland – Nice N Sleazy’s
05-14 Nottingham, England – Bodega Social
05-15 London, England – ICA
05-16 Brighton, England – Great Escape Festival
05-18 Bristol, England – Fleece
05-19 Leeds, England – Brudenell
05-20 Sheffield, England – Leadmill
05-21 Manchester, England – Roadhouse
05-29 Dallas, TX – Granada Theatre
05-30 Austin, TX – Emo’s
06-03 San Diego, CA – The Casbah #
06-05 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
06-06 Long Beach, CA – The Queen Mary (Ink-N-Iron Festival)
06-07 San Francisco, CA – The Independent #
06-09 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge #
06-10 Vancouver, British Columbia – Richard’s on Richards #
06-11 Seattle, WA – Neumos #
06-13 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge #
06-14 Denver, CO – The Bluebird #
06-15 Rapid City, SD – The Imperial Inn #
06-17 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium #
06-18 Minneapolis, MN – Turf Club #
08-08 Jersey City, NJ – All Points West Music & Arts Festival