Directions To See a Ghost
This Austin, Texas sextet specialize in a druggy, spaced-out, slow-motion drone that feels less like its members have gone ‘retro’ than they never left the late-60s in the first place. While both 2008’s Directions, their second album, and their 2006 debut Passover, are obviously heavily influenced by the modern 80s/90s trances and guitar feedback of Spacemen 3, the Black Angels, named after the Velvet Underground tune, carve out their own identity with what’s credited as “rogue sitar” amongst the lugubrious organs and superfuzzed guitars. The band jams on two chords (“Never / Ever”) as well as any modern primitive and the tribal pump of “Vikings” adds a kickstep to their meditative bliss. The vocals seep over the transom like second-hand smoke emitting from another room, eerie and overheard. This is a group scoring a horror film that deliberately never climaxes but lingers in an ominous fog throughout. The tension is often palpable.