Psych-Rockers the Black Angels Quicken the Pace on 'Indigo Meadow'

The Black Angels
Courtney Chavanell

Psychedelic rockers the Black Angels have taken another kind of trip on their fourth album, "Indigo Meadow," and it seems like the Austin group's fans are happily going with them.

"Indigo Meadow" debuts at No. 15 on the Alternative Albums chart and No. 23 on Rock Albums this week, despite the quartet's discernible change to more direct and dynamic song structures -- something frontman Alex Maas says "wasn't really intentional going into it."

"It just sounds like us to me -- but I'm looking at it from the inside, of course," Maas tells Billboard. "For me it's more uptempo and like a blossomed, fully-realized version of what we're doing right at this minute. It's kind of like taking a shorter ride to a long journey. The songs get to the point a little quicker, without dragging on too long. But it wasn't a conscious decision to say, 'Oh, we're going to make something different.' It's just good to evolve -- just as people, not just musicians."

Maas traces "Indigo Meadow's" path to the album's title track. "That definitely set this new tone, this idea of, 'Oh, that's a different sound than we've normally done," he says. "The early demos for that sound were really trashy, a bit more trashy and dirtier than it is on the record. But we heard it and just went, 'Well, let's see where this goes. Why not?' "

With the strong early reception, the Black Angels' horizon "looks blue and good," according to Maas. The group is on the road in North America through May 26, then heads to Australia in June with Japan and Europe to follow.

"We're just going to be doing a lot of touring," Maas adds. The group will also be hosting the sixth annual Austin Psych Fest April 26-28, this year featuring Billy F. Gibbons' reunited Moving Sidewalks, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Deerhunter, the Raveonettes, Clinic and many more.

"At this point it's really taken on a life of it's own," Maas notes. "It's an amazing thing to be able to throw an amazing party with all of these people we've met over the years. We wanted to have the old and the new play, but it's a timeless sound that obviously translates to current music. We're always asking people what they want at the festival, who they want, so we're confident that it's something that reflects what the people who come want it to be."

Watch the Angels play "Telephone," off 2010's "Phosphene Dream," on our roof: