Groove is in the heart
The brain-bending Black Angels dive into death and distant eras
Published: November 11, 2010
“A lot of political, religious problems happening in the world all lead to a river of blood,” says Maas. “When I was writing this song, I pictured people sitting on this river waiting for help. In reality, they’re just sitting ducks waiting to get demolished by the enemy.”
Although not every Phosphene track is concerned with death (“Entrance Song” is about hitting the highways), the Angels inevitably return to this idea. The lyrical hook of “Telephone,” the record’s most promoted song, signifies its mundane concerns (“You never call my name on the telephone”), but even that closes in morbid fashion. “You make me sick inside / You make me wanna die,” Maas sings. Death is always lurking in the Black Angels’ psychedelic underworld.
Like punk for others, psychedelic is more than just a genre for the band. Maas frequently expounds on the nebulous idea of psychedelia and its importance. Despite his vocal love for many baby boomer bands, the psychedelic spirit didn’t die with the past. His praise for contemporary psych groups like Clinic, Psychic Ills and the Brian Jonestown Massacre symbolizes the vitality that still exists in an old thread.
“Those bands are totally just as good as any band back then. I don’t think that you have to be from the ’60s to make badass psychedelic music,” says Maas. “You don’t have to do drugs. You just have to understand the concept.”
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