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Black Angels take different flight path on new album

For Journal Register Newspapers

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"Indigo Meadow" is a whole new trip for psychedelic rockers the Black Angels.

The Austin, Texas, group's fourth album takes an admittedly different and decidedly more upbeat direction than its predecessors, though frontman Alex Maas says that any change "wasn't really intentional going into it."

"It was more like shooting a documentary; you shoot not knowing what's going to happen or what they story is until you're done with it," explains Maas, 31. "So we didn't go in saying, 'It's going to sound like this' or 'There's continuity within these songs.' It wasn't a conscious decision to say, 'Oh, we're going to make something different.' We just started writing different things and went from there.

"Any person wants to evolve and grow, whether you're a musician or not. So the whole thing was just really natural."

The Black Angels -- who co-produced the annual Austin Psych Festival, taking place April 26-28 -- also get topical on "Indigo Meadow," on songs such as self-explanatory "Don't Play With Guns" and "Broken Soldier," the latter of which deals with challenges faced by military personnel returning home from duty. Maas says the group doesn't necessarily consider itself overtly political, but such sentiments help the Black Angels be viewed as more than a throwback musical outfit.

"People can relate to those songs," he says. "It seems like people like the songs and they like what the song's about. More importantly for me, it's not what their reaction is but what people do with the power they have and realizing they have the power to communicate their ideas and make change happen.

"Artists do it through painting, poetry, sounds. I just think it's important that people realize they have power right now. That's a major theme of what I think -- not just on our record, but in life. So I'm anxious to put that out there, too."

The Black Angels, Allah-Lahs and Elephant Stone perform Monday, April 15, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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