Angels in America / Weyes Blood – Split Cassette

Angels in America – The Corpse by Northern-Spy Records

Angels in America are Baltimore based duo Moppy and Merv, who make sex crush music that is too smart, and too aggressive, to be called spaced out and too real life to be associated with the words witch or house. Past Angels releases (including 2009’s EP on Ecstatic Peace) have been moody, terribly recorded, barely decipherable noise hymns flirting with melody in a very special lo-fi heroin daze. In comparison, these three tracks, though equally knee weakening, make up a sludgier, more mature gothic masterpiece. It’s exciting to see where this band is at now. The gems found on Split Cassette are all the more precious in that they’re cut short so soon – the release’s climax, the final minute of “The Corpse,” is also the final 60 seconds of the Angels side. Taking a song that clocks in at almost seven minutes and keeping things loose and droney for over five before erupting into some kind of bass heavy, weird synth-infused murder anthem (accented by Angel’s long time signature ambient whistling and the rare treat of Merv’s snarled vocals) is definition tweenoise. I’m addicted.
Weyes Blood begins the reverse side with two tracks that, ignoring whatever underground neo-folk mystique Natalie Mering might have achieved, read as lost-on-purpose Joan Baez b-sides, after which the third and final song apexes with vocals played backwards over some synths and random noise, which as a whole isn’t very interesting. Side B is a lot like what I’ve seen of Mering’s live show – sometimes hypnotic and atmospheric, sometimes tedious. I don’t get making psych music in 2011 that could pass for forgettable music from 50 years ago – the effort seems pointless and even regressive. I’m not giving up on Weyes, but for now I’ll stick to Angels.
Speaking of, check out Merv of AiA’s PLEASURE Editions and newsletter The Gorgon, a small press project, which just reached its Kickstarter start-up goal. (Northern Spy, Kristel Jax