When psychedelic folk and rock gained a foothold in the late '60s, it was all about a new thing. Drugs were in frequent use, especially the mind-altering kind, and the psychedelic style accommodated the tuned in, turned on crowd with a different sound. Often, that sound was accompanied by moving visual projections to help enhance the LSD use that helped the music gain its status.
There were many bands stepping up to help deliver a music that not only could be listened to, but also felt (and seen, if the drugs were of that kind). From high profile bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, to lesser known regional favorites, 13th Floor Elevators, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Donovan, and many, many others far too numerous to name.
But its lifespan was short. As the drugs that fueled it were made illegal, the interest in psychedelic music began to die down. By the end of the '60s, there was little interest in the once popular and hip style, and it lost its forward momentum.
But, as many things will do, a recent resurgence in all things psychedelic has helped to create a small but thriving community of psychedelic-inspired bands. From the recent emergence of the Smoke Fairies from the UK, to the Canada-based Black Mountain, and to Oklahoma City's favorite sons, The Flaming Lips, the genre is well represented with dynamic bands who are good at what they do.
One of them is The Black Angels from Austin, Texas. With their name derived from a song by NYC's important Velvet Underground ("The Black Angel's Death Song"), The Black Angels have impressively caught the ear of fans of the genre with three studio gems (Passover, Directions to See a Ghost, and Phosphene Dream, the latter of which saw the band highly ranked in the album charts).
Phosphene Dream, released in the latter part of 2010, is rich with the music of a new era making good with the connective psychedelia of the distant rock and roll past.
If you have an affinity for some of that psychedelia from the early years, and you appreciate the growing psychedelic movement, then The Black Angels are a band that you should not ignore. With the upcoming arrival of their fourth studio effort (being properly called Indigo Meadow) on April 2, The Black Angels are putting their best feet forward. With the front-running new single from the album, "Don't Play With Guns," the song hints at what will likely become a psychedelic classic.
Supporting the new album, The Black Angels will do a 34-date cross-country tour that will even take them into Canada for a few dates.
I'm not gonna lie. The Black Angels do psychedelia proud.