New Black Angels Single/Video ‘El Jardin’ is an Urgent Plea for Mother Earth

When we last heard from The Black Angels in April of 2017, we were still in the sort of state of shock that one would be in realizing that we were three months into the Donald Trump presidency. The band had just released ‘Currency’, a track that so incisively summed up the insidious effects of unchecked capitalist greed – with its lyrical mantra, “Spend and spend the money that you print, then / One day it’ll all be over, one day it’ll all be gone.”

Who would have thought (maybe us?) that five years later everything would be far, far worse? The COVID pandemic has not only killed millions, but turned out to be a cash machine for the super rich. So no surprise, 2022 finds the band squarely back in philosophical mode with their visceral new single ‘El Jardin’ – only this time, they are making an urgent appeal for capitalism’s greatest victim, Mother Earth herself.

“A forest burns, you ask for me to save you
But I’m running out of time
As the years go passing by I realized
You’re killing us both

You can build me up or you can rip me apart
You can build me up or you can rip me apart”

The psychedelic/shoegazey track, taken from their upcoming Wilderness of Mirrors double LP (out September 16 on Partisan Records), bears all the sonic exigency that those words deserve – especially as the planet we call home is in fact genuinely running out of time. Indeed, a 2016 report revealed that we had destroyed 10% of the Earth’s wilderness in 20 years – a pace we can only imagine has since been accelerated.

The accompanying Vanessa Pla directed video (starring The Walking Dead‘s Austin Amelio and his son Lev) is a strikingly unflinching plea for the preservation of the natural world, opening with a young boy skateboarding through a toxic industrial park, fully gas-masked up. In a moment he is suddenly transported to a beautiful forest via a strange, glowing portal, which allows him visions of now extinct landscapes and wildlife around the globe. The ending, we are sorry to report, is not a happy one.

“[Singer/bassist] Alex [Maas] came to me with a dystopian sci-fi idea,” Pia recalls, “of a future where Mother Nature is dead because we killed her, and the only way to experience her is through virtual reality. It’s an already relatable feeling, as most of the world lives viscerally through social media. Who knows where we will be 100 years from now?”

Obviously, we’ll leave that question to the soothsayers. But for now, where The Black Angels will be is at last back out on the road again, playing Denver’s Ogden Theatre tonight, before a further 37 dates take them to Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, DC, New York City and eventually on to the Hipnosis Festival in Mexico City on November 3. We would sincerely recommend not missing them, considering we don’t know how long we have left.

Image by Pooneh Ghana

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