Black Angels, Strange Boys

"Turn on, tune in and drone out." Stamped onto the cover of the Black Angels' eponymous debut EP, this twist on the familiar '60s mantra demonstrates the way this Austin six-piece reinterprets the past, drawing startling parallels between "The First Vietnamese War" and the current wartime hysteria through an arsenal of vintage guitar tones and hypnotic drone machines. Last year's Passover (Light in the Attic) was an extension of the 13th Floor Elevators' Easter Everywhere, but its moods and grooves were heavier and darker, as if tainted by time. "How could you be an artist today and not be affected by what's going on in the rest of the world?" asks guitarist Christian Bland, who also designs the band's Rick Griffin-inspired concert posters. "It's like a call to arms." Openers and fellow Austinites the Strange Boys' lo-fi garage punk could easily be mistaken for original artifacts from the first psychedelic era. The quartet's vinyl-only EP Nothing (Dusty Medical) crackles and pops with classic rockabilly riffs that nod to the Kinks, while guitarist Ryan Sambol's slurred vocals sound like an adolescent Iggy Pop. History is indeed repeating, and the music, thankfully, is following suit.

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Austin Powell