TRACK OF THE WEEK: The Black Angels “Diamond Eyes”

As if you needed another reason to be excited about Record Store Day (which is NEARLY UPON US, coming up April 19th!), Austin psych trip The Black Angels have announced that their 10″ clear vinyl Clear Lake Forest EP will drop the same day. It’ll be the third in a rapid-fire round of releases since 2010 for this foursome, and if new single “Diamond Eyes” is any indication, it’ll be more of the heavy-rocking, straightforward psychedelia that the group’s been putting out for years.

The Black Angels released at least one bona fide rocker in 2013 with “Don’t Play With Guns,” off Indigo Meadow, which came out that spring. This group doesn’t favor long jams–their style of psych is no-nonsense and utterly, miraculously free of stoned musings and distortion-packed trips to nowhere. The songs are direct descendants of The Velvet Underground’s, and the group even took their name from a Velvet track, “The Black Angel’s Death Song.” It’s psych music with a steady rock and roll heartbeat.

The instrumentals on “Diamond Eyes” are a sludgy mess, but it’s clearly an organized chaos. Alex Maas’ vocals glide over the track in smooth, practiced slides, reality sliding in and out of focus. Still, The Black Angels are too catchy for “Diamond Eyes” to be a demanding listen. The group’s expertise as  perpetrators of this particular style allows you to relax into the music, because even at their most tangential, The Black Angels clearly know how to write a rock song.

The Black Angels will be playing Austin Psych Fest, which they also curate, in very early May. But before you buy your plane tickets to Texas, make sure to pick up a copy of Clear Lake Forest  on vinyl April 19th. Listen to “Diamond Eyes” below:

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