You In Color: The Black Angels' Christian Bland Talks Film Scores

Categories: Playbill, Texas Me

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Photo By Craig Hlavaty
The Black Angels' Alex Maas at Free Press Summerfest in June
Tomorrow night the Black Angels hit Houston for the third time in about a year, with a gig over at Fitzgerald's with fellow retro-doomers Dead Meadow and Spindrift. The last time the Angels were in Houston it was early June and they played under the sweltering sun at Free Press Summerfest. It was unnatural hearing them in broad daylight, and we felt dirty.

The Austin band is still touring behind last year's great Phosphene Dream, their third full-length. The band's music is a witchy distillation of the Velvet Underground, Suicide, and The 13th Floor Elevators. We've been fans for so long and driven to Austin on a whim to see them that it's hard to even describe them ourselves. A top ten band of ours? Sure.

The band has gained a good bit of notoriety from their songs appearing on television dramas, soundtracks, and the like. In 2007, the Coen Brothers used the band's "Young Men Dead" for the red-band trailer of No Country For Old Men.

Hearing the band even on the trailer sparked our interest in the band one day scoring a film, any film. At the same time of the No Country trailer, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was getting set to unleash his own score for There Will Be Blood.

Last year when everyone was swept up in a rightful love affair with David Fincher's The Social Network and it's Trent Reznor-produced soundtrack, we did an overview of the best band/artist film scores. There's the list if you wanna wrestle.

The Black Angels are incredibly cinematic band in their own right. Guitarist Christian Bland is no stranger to making small films.

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Photo By Marc Brubaker
Bland At Work
"I grew up making movies with my friends with our parents old VHS camcorders. We made horror movies, stop motion movies with GI Joe and Stars Wars action figures. Sometimes I wish I would've gone to film school, but then I'm glad I took the path I did, because otherwise I wouldn't be a Black Angel," says Bland. Films are important part of the Black Angels story too. Bland and lead singer Alex Maas used movies as a backdrop to draw sounds out from themselves early on.

"Alex and I used to create music by watching movies with our electric guitar, bass, and drums ready to go to document what was happening in the movie. Some of our favorites were Apocalypse Now, A Clockwork Orange, and the Andy Warhol's Screen Tests. "

As for what directors the Black Angels would like to work with given the chance, we can't argue. Our nerd senses are on fire.

"Gaspar Noe, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Wes Anderson, and Adrian Maben for his direction of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. I can picture Live at Big Bend With The Black Angels or Live At The Alamo."

We asked Bland for his five favorite band-written film scores, and wouldn't you know it his short list coincides with our current George Harrison and Pink Floyd obsessions.

Pink Floyd, More

Jonny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood

The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles, Yellow Submarine

Pink Floyd, Zabriskie Point



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