Austin, Texas, rockers the Black Angels have always reached back into the past for musical inspiration, but on the super catchy “Telephone,” a cut from their upcoming third album, Phosphene Dream (out Sept. 14), the band is trading in some of their earlier influences (the Velvet Underground, ’80s shoegaze) for the perky ’60s sounds of fellow Austinites and garage pop trailblazers the 13th Floor Elevators. Download the track below!
Working with producer Dave Sardy (Wolfmother, Oasis), the quintet reeled in the noisy, stretched out sprawl of their first two records: “Telephone” is barely two minutes long, and it’s a gleeful shimmy, with splashy organs and handclaps galore.
But underneath the giddy exterior, the song has a darker lining: Singer Alex Maas’ lyrics describe fruitless attempts to reach a lover on the phone, only to cross paths with them later, on the train. “You make me sick inside,” Maas howls at the end, after the maddening discovery. “You make me wanna die!”
“It’s about no one hearing your calling, while everything around you is crumbling, about being left lonely and nothing seeming holy,” guitarist Christian Bland tells SPIN.com.
As for the sound of “Telephone,” Bland has a supernatural theory of how the song came to be. “I bought a 355 12-string Rickenbacker in April ’09 while we were out recording [Phosphene Dream] in L.A., and the song must’ve been stuck inside the guitar, because once I picked it up to play, it came right out,” he says. “It was waiting for me to channel.”
But fans of the band’s earlier work need not worry: There are plenty of heady trips on Phosphene Dream, and they temper a psychedelic, Jefferson Airplane vibe with the pop acumen of the Lovin’ Spoonful.
As of now, the Black Angels have but one scheduled U.S. live date: September 5 in upstate New York, for this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival.
What do you think of “Telephone”? Download the track and sound off in the comments.
Black Angels, “Telephone” DOWNLOAD MP3