The Black Angels' Alex Maas Doesn't Know What Psych Music Is, But He Knows What it Isn't.
On a recent allergen-filled spring day in Austin, Black Angels lead singer Alex Maas chuckled as he struggled through a sinus infection before this Saturday's show at Granada Theater. Speaking over the phone, Maas tried his best to give an answer as to whether the organ was more psychedelic than the guitar or not.
"Well, they're equally psychedelic, I guess, but that's not the answer you probably want, is it?"
While the question itself, indeed, is a bit silly, it only takes a couple of listens to the reigning psych kings' new album, Indigo Meadow, produced by local indie guru John Congleton, to hear why the seemingly dumb question actually has a bit of merit. It's not as though past Angels albums have ignored the keys, but Indigo Meadow displays a greater dependence on the organ's mind-bending powers than ever before.
"We really did utilize the organ more for this record," Maas says. "When things weren't working on guitar or bass, we would go to the organ. We actually brought a bunch of organs with us to Tornillo [the Sonic Ranch Recording Studio], so it was fun to experiment with weird instruments we haven't taken on the road before. The organ-heavy nature of this album is probably the key difference between this album and our others."
It's not as if the band needed to improve, given their constantly building fan base and increasingly high profile, thanks to events such as Austin PsychFest, which is the band's annual party. But there is a cleaner sound to many of the tunes on the new album such as "Holland," and while it's still very much a rock album, the band is seemingly letting the game come to them, instead of chasing it with as much swirling sound as possible.
"It's more focused when it comes to having more space in the songs," Maas says. "In the past, we might put a drone in a small spot somewhere, but here, we let the songs breathe a bit more. We would see what worked and what didn't with each song. We experimented with sonic alchemy on this record."