The Black Angels’ Death Songs

Austin-based act The Black Angels have been unleashing their hypnotic, neo-psychedelic music upon the masses for a while now, but I’m just getting caught up. Fuzzy, bluesy songs about death, destruction and isolation pepper their first 3 full-length releases – all striking a seemingly perfect balance between vibes both primitive and polished.

The self-proclaimed ‘Native American Drone n’ Rollers’ have a new album called Phosphene Dream due out on Blue Horizon Records in September. Here’s a taste called “Bad Vibrations.” I’m obsessed with the basslines.

Here’s video for the being-badass track “Black Grease,” off their debut LP Passover. It’s all swagger.

“So just kill kill kill kill!”

ONE MORE: Loving this collaboration they did recently with UNKLE called Natural Selection. A little more playful.

Go to their awesome official site for trippy video footage and a ton of other live tracks and photos.


I Just Died A Little Inside

Liz Phair has a new album out. It’s called Funstyle. Not that I expected much, but this one hurts. Perhaps I’ll put a more coherent review together when my brain recovers from listening to a former idol rapping self-deprecatingly over Indian-themed beats. And I GET that it’s a joke and that she’s making fun of her has-been record-industry status. But that still doesn’t mean I like it. Listen for yourself:

Here is the album cover. So stupid.


Critical Phraze

So ex-Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas has a new album Phrazes for the Young coming out and people are PSYCHED. My first glimpse of the new Julian in action was through a YouTube clip of his current tour, which featured the singer doing an awkward mom-dance bebop shuffle while singing one of his new tracks. I would gladly display if his record label hadn’t yanked it down. Instead, this:


Sooooo artsy.

The first leaked track is called 11th Dimension and upon first listen – pardon the crassness – all I thought was ‘Wow. Ghey.’

I think my friend Phoebe summed it up best when she exclaimed, “What’s going ON, first YYYs, now J.C!?'” I too thought it bizarre and pretty disappointing that a musician so instrumental in creating an ‘original’ sound and scene back in early 2000s would rely on that ubiquitous 80s-electro-synth Get Into the Groove-thing so many others have turned to. Maybe this would have been cool over a year ago but now it seems a bit lame.

>>>>TIME LAPSE <<<<

So blah blah blah I rattle off this whole criticism above, get distracted, and don’t pick up on this post till almost 4 days later.  I’ve now listened to the song on repeat, at work, during my commute and while getting ready to go out on Friday night. This one’s a creeper. And I’m a little addicted. So go figure.

That all said, take a listen and see what you think. For me it’s all about the cadence of his lines…he places emphasis on words you would never think to emphasize and extends shorter phrases to match length of longer ones. Ok yeah that’s what ‘singing’ is I guess and it’s hard to articulate the effect, but I love it. Sorry for doubting you JC and congrats for making me feel like a cynical, hypocritical ass. I’m sure I’ll rip on the next single and then make it my wedding song or something.

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension [mp3]

For an extra treat let’s look back and judge what those other Strokes members have been getting into since the band’s hiatus.

Fabrizio Moretti taught us all how awesome life is when you have gobs of money, live in Southern California and spend your days recording breezy, boss nova-y beach tunes with your friends.
Little Joy – For One’s Better Sake [mp3]

Albert Hammond Jr. showed us how lackluster the ‘Strokes’ sound can be with only 1 Stroke.
AJH Jr.  – Everyone Gets a Star [mp3]

Nicolai Fraiture sung to us about drinkin’ and bein’ dark! Initial thought: This is what a tone-deaf Bob Dylan karaoke cover of “Hurricane” would sound like.
Nickel Eye – Back From Exile [mp3]

It’s interesting that you can listen to these other albums and still hear that cohesive Strokes sound bubbling beneath the surface. I think I’m ready for a reunion.