The Angelus are stirring hearts and unhinging jaws all over Texas with their brand flat out glorious electrified folk music that is as difficult to pin down as it is to forget. Led by the enigmatic vocal powerhouse Emil Rapstine, whose brooding tones and mesmerizing stage presence bring to mind any number of iconic front men from Morrissey to Nick Cave, The Angelus quietly summon up epic sounds that build like storm systems and burst into bone rattling sonic downpours, The Angelus often leave even the hardest hearted hipsters teary eyed and shaken.
The Angelus have just released the Josh T. Pearson produced full length record, "On A Dark & Barren Land" on Gutterth records.
The band previously released a self-titled EP on Pyramid-Scheme in late 2004.
The Angelus has had the fortune to share the stage with bands such as: The Angels of Light, Wovenhand, Akron Family, Calla, Celebration, The Black Angels, Mono, Do Make Say Think, Thee Silver Mount Zion, This Will Destroy You, Wooden Wand, School of Seven Bells and The Album Leaf.
Emil Rapstine - Guitar, and Vocals.
Justin Evans - Drums/Backing Vocals
Ryan Wasterlain - Bass
1. On A Dark A Barren Land - 2011 Gutterth Records
2. The Angelus s/t EP - 2004 Pyramid Scheme
Show review w/ Silver Mt. Zion
[+ Show ]
Earlier, Dallas trio The Angelus played 45 minutes of hymnal slowcore. They were a wise fit, setting...Earlier, Dallas trio The Angelus played 45 minutes of hymnal slowcore. They were a wise fit, setting the tone for an evening where brevity would have cheapened the vibe.
Mojo Magazine Blurb
[+ Show ]
I'm carrying a torch for (fellow Texans) The Angelus. This band has rung out for more than a decade ...I'm carrying a torch for (fellow Texans) The Angelus. This band has rung out for more than a decade but "On A Dark & Barren Land" is their fist full-length feature. Pearson produced it, that is to say, corralled the boys into a studio long enough to get'em to record this, their goth-pel manifesto. Practically had to hold a gun to their heads. Anyway, it totally worked. Sounds great. Better than the Pearson record even, but don't tell 'em I told ya. The record is way way out there somewhere. Floating is space. God bless ya Texas and keep you brave and strong. See, it ain't all about the size there, it's about the skies too. The darker the skies, the brighter the stars.
The Angelus Created A Dark And Barren Landscape
[+ Show ]
With the hundred or so would-be ballroom dancers tromping around upstairs in the venue's typical per...With the hundred or so would-be ballroom dancers tromping around upstairs in the venue's typical performance space and the older mix of somewhat confused regulars hanging out in the downstairs bar eating tacos and playing pool, the added swirl of activity made last night's performances in the fraternal lodge's old bowling alley from The Angelus, Austin instrumental quartet Weird Weeds and Eyes, Wings and Many Other Things feel all the more special.
And the spaced out, somewhat experimental sets by the three bands doing a rare show in this downstairs space were by far the most calm proceedings taking place in the venue. And seeing all three of these acts perform their latest records in full was indeed something of a treat.
Headliners The Angelus were maybe the most straightforward act on the bill, but even their brand of gothic folk was droney and contemplative enough that the few folks who opted to sit on the floor or to pull up folding chairs didn't appear the least bit out of place. Neither did the projections on the left wall of the bowling alley showing footage of trains and clouds. The highlights of their set, however, were the aforementioned four songs when the trio was joined by violinist Petra Kelly, who added a rich, almost cinematic texture to the three-piece's already murky-sounding compositions.
Review // The Angelus // On A Dark & Barren Land
[+ Show ]
We start with All Is Well and I can’t help think it isn’t. A minute in and I feel like I’m on a jour...We start with All Is Well and I can’t help think it isn’t. A minute in and I feel like I’m on a journey into the unknown, which is interesting and intimidating. The echoes and unfamiliar background chants massage the mind and allow it to run free and wild. I feel like a child running around the woods, while discovering something charismatic and captivating.
Latin I is what I’ve been waiting for in a track. I feel like the band have left us a bread-crumb path and we have to work out the meaning/path and goal, all in one. This is a challenging task, however after four or five listens you can really feel the passion and creativity in the instruments. This track is a showcase of two minutes and seventeen seconds of pure bliss and everlasting talent.
Turned To Stone is wonderful and mesmerizing. The relationship between the vocals and the instruments is like chatting with an old relative; the experience it be-known and the stories are absorbing. Another great track from a wonderful band.
We’re now on a boat ride in the Gone Country. The steady rowing motion between the vocals and buzzing, creature like instruments is alternative and different. This pushes any boundaries set by the government and has similar passion and demise to the film – They Live. I really love that the track has no expectations and lives off the reaction of listeners. I’m adding this track to any electrical device I own.
My Grandad once shouted – “Screaming Bloody Murder“. I was only young and I really didn’t understand the meaning of his words. I wish The Angelus were there at the time to describe its presence in the room. Once listening to this track I had this sudden emotion in the tear of my mind. It’s such a simple term to shout, however it’s goal is not so charismatic. This is my favourite track on the album, so far. Maybe because it has that connection that is missing in the music industry.
Let Me Gone is another track that has soul. That might sound peculiar as the track title doesn’t depict the same meaning. The instrument notes weep and cry for attention, while the vocals add an additional sad scenario. This is an emotional track and has the same charisma/aura of any Bon Iver or Sigur Ros track. That reminds me. Check out this new track and artwork by Sigur Ros:
Back to the action, Crimson Shadow diverts your attention from the album and ultimately feels misplaced. I’m not saying this track is rubbish or it’s disrupting, I’m basically adding that this track is fast-paced and moving home from its current path. Maybe I’m missing something? This is still a great track and I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard it on BBC 6Music; it has that much promise and talent. Second favourite track on the album, so far.
For The Sake Of The Night and Sudden Burst Of Hope end the album on a cocaine high. I’m grateful to have downloaded this album for free, however I’d like any music lover to purchase this album and enjoy an alternative stance on the music industry. It has everything and anything. It’s message has so many paths……you can listen to it on many occasions and still find something new. Great band and album.
Can The Angelus’ Spare First LP Win New Ears?
[+ Show ]
Their first full-length album, On a Dark and Barren Land, shows Dallas’s The Angelus to be a judicio...Their first full-length album, On a Dark and Barren Land, shows Dallas’s The Angelus to be a judicious, serious group. Their sound is spare but dauntless, circumspect and solemn. It has both the order of choral elegance and indelicate force of rock and roll. Although it shuts the door to the excuse that their weighty tone is anything but ingenuous, On a Dark and Barren Land will manage to win over receptive ears.
Judging from the album’s title, you might correctly suspect that The Angelus is dramatically inclined. The album bleeds with melodrama. It is dangerous work, to tiptoe the edge that divides seriousness from pretension. Failure in that place is called unintentional comedy. I imagine there are few reactions that rank worse for an artist than having your seriousness snickered at. Correspondingly, hardly anything trumps the irritation of a band crying wolf.
Audiences are fickle on the issue of melodrama. On one level, when someone pronounces the dread we cannot, there is hardly a limit to our appreciation. But when the same efforts turn imprecise or lazy, we can hardly keep from laughing at the frown-faced side of theatrics. What spares The Angelus this insult is that their compositions are careful and simple, sidestepping the temptations of excess yet still wrought with an arresting quality.
The Angelus craft a sound made to echo off stone walls and match pace with the trudge of groans deeper than words. Their watery harmonies are delivered aloof, with a strange authority. Many songs are built from a succession of ominous imperatives. On a Dark and Barren Land listens like an archeological effort, aiming for something ancient: monasteries perched on inaccessible Greek cliffs or catacombs, pungent with dusty expiration. It is a world, too, comfortable with the fantastically real, in which living corporeality could, in a moment, become dead stone. They clearly wish to evoke that mysterious world of earliest history, whose terrain is imposingly tenebrous but for where the narrow candle of recorded antiquity shines on it.
Though The Angelus have previously released a series of EPs and scattered demos, they took a more deliberate approach to developing their first LP. For starters, recording sessions and post-production spanned several months. Second, they enlisted the help of Lift To Experience’s Josh Pearson to produce it, dragging the erstwhile Texan from his German home. To look at him, Pearson could himself be the bearded, ashen-faced sage of an alien land. His personality is all over On a Dark and Barren Land, a fitting explanation for its gorgeous, celestial overtones.
At times, On a Dark and Barren Land’s prophetic tone may strike listeners as cold and imposing. Their opinion of this album is entirely dependent on whether they will sit and listen in earnest. In a more direct way than most musical works, it is an album for those with the ears to hear it. In any case, it is delivered with the gravitas of a chorus who believe they have something crucial to share.
The Angelus has been waylaid from performing with much frequency, a situation they will likely remedy in the late winter. For now, they have made their album available at record stores in Dallas and Denton, as well as on their website.
Album info: The Angelus – On a Dark and Barren Land (2011 – Gutterth Records) Theangelusband.com
THE ASCENSION OF THE ANGELUS
[+ Show ]
A drone oscillates into life; quivering and incandescent, maybe an organ of some description? The to...A drone oscillates into life; quivering and incandescent, maybe an organ of some description? The tone shimmers for a bit, bells are intoned in the distance. The certain urgency of ceremony. Voices enter, benedictine harmonies sounding with not a small amount of friction and tension between the singers. A creeping dread takes hold as one cries the words“All is well,” followed by a scraping dissonance of voice doubling the line. Cymbals rise to meet an eerie whine issued forth from a place lonely and forboding.
Steeped in the Southern Gothic tradition, and combining the bombast of post-rock, the tenor of Appalachian folk, and vernacular of gospel song-craft, The Angelus stands apart and unique among its peers in the North Texas music scene. With its new album On A Dark And Barren Land, the band has constructed a narrative of loss and redemption balanced on the edge of the metaphysical and nakedly emotional. This is the sound of our cancer year, our decay of self and spirit, and ultimately, the sound of our ascension beyond the struggle of human experience.
Built around the core duo of Emil Rapstine and Justin Evans, The Angelus has spent the better part of six years working toward this album, often in a regularly-fluctuating group of backing musicians. It is to their credit that their sound has maintained consistency and been focused, even if out of necessity, owing to the group dynamic.
Rapstine: “The songs have always been really important to me and Justin. We’ve released one EP in six years, all this stuff has happened in our lives that kept pushing the band to the side. It’s kind of miraculous in a way. Justin and I started together and that we’re finally getting this record out ... a lot of people would have just done something else.”
The uncommon chemistry between the two is particularly evident in the vocal harmonies they create. An amalgamation of pentatonic, eastern-tinged melodies slide into place alongside ordinarily staid, evangelistic harmonies creating an incredibly rich sonic framework for Rapstine’s sturm und drang lyricism. Recent San Francisco transplant Ryan Wasterlain fits neatly as the group’s new bassist. His solo project, Summer of Glaciers, shares a mutual aural ideology with The Angelus.
Rapstine: “I really love the structuring and layering he does in Summer of Glaciers, I think it shares a little bit of common space with what we do, and it hopefully will lend itself to our new stuff.”
While the band claims Land was not written with a unifying concept in mind, it’s difficult for my ears to hear anything other than a deftly realized song cycle rooted in the grieving process. Whether by accident or design, the album is also structured in an operatic manner. To be clear, we’re not talking Tommy or Operation: Mindcrime. Progressively theatrical, the opening triptych of songs “All Is Well,” “Latin I” and “Turned To Stone” form an overture, fading from one track to the next, and providing a thematic backbone for the record. An emotional arc in miniature, these songs are the Rosetta stone to understanding the intentions of Rapstine and company. Uncertainty and dread give way to anxiety and rage, culminating a release of tension that reassures only slightly before an ambiguous resolution.
Stemming from his Catholic upbringing, Rapstine’s lyrics are full of phraseology biblical both in reference as well as scope. In “Gone Country,” he uses the story of Abraham’s sacrifice as a metaphor for human loss. Lyrics such as “With an ear to the ground/it will come without a sound/the bells ring, the birds sing, it won’t be long now/so sing like a lark/into that dark and empty heart/there’s no one to hear you any how,” showcase the sinister creep of fatalism inherent in these songs, almost a devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear. Elemental language and references to transubstantiation, both as a physical metaphor and as an emotional transformation play a significant role as well. In “Turned To Stone,” the refrain pronounces “As we wither we turn to stone,” inferring that though our earthly vessel may perish, our souls remain immortal in hearts and memories.
The instrumentation built around the songs reinforces these themes. Evans’ restrained percussion and the propulsive, post-punk bass lines add distinctive color and shape to what could otherwise easily pass for Burzum lyrics. Piano and strings are strategically placed throughout, lending an almost regal feel to the proceedings.
Make no mistake, The Angelus is assuredly a rock band, and are fully capable of summoning a clamorous wall of guitars when necessary. But in a song such as “Let Me Be Gone,” the band wisely chooses to step back a bit in order to create a spare and stark canvas to provide a stage for the heart-rending vocal interplay. It’s in this song that we get another taste of operatic engineering, as the listener is introduced to an aching minor-key melody that returns later in a recognizable, yet altogether different context.
“Let Me Be Gone” stands as the centerpiece of the record – both the most emotionally devastating and tragically beautiful. The pleading refrain, “release me/of my body/let me be gone” illustrates Rapstine’s grasp of the sublime. Who has never pined for escape — from sickness, from sadness, from yourself?
The album concludes with “Sudden Burst Of Hope,” a flat-out triumphant and joyous affair. Echoing the introductory drone, we’re instead shown the converse path. Sweeping and ornate in its arrangement, it concludes the narrative with, if not exactly a happy ending, at least a resolution of having survived the worst and come out the other side. Interestingly, “Hope” has a singular status among the other songs present.
Rapstine: “(‘Hope’) ... was one of the first songs I wrote with The Angelus in mind. I’m glad that we finally got a recording. Some of the songs are really old, and some are comparatively new. Hopefully they don’t sound like two different bands.”
The band looked to longtime supporters and local scene promoters/advocates Michael Briggs and Brent Frishman of Gutterth Records to help with the release of the album.
Briggs: “We've been wanting to release this record for years now. We love The Angelus and are very proud to be able to work with them.”
Wasterlain: “I think their enthusiasm and the way they help the Denton scene is awesome ... in other cities, you don’t see that. To see those guys really try to champion the stuff they enjoy and Denton, it’s hard not to want to be associated with them.”
Evans: “They’re just good friends to have, and they’ve supported us since the beginning. It’s good to have them on our side.”
On A Dark And Barren Land stands as a powerful statement of purpose, confident and sophisticated well beyond what any ‘local’ band has any right to claim. To not be affected by their music is surely the sign of a heartless cur, or at the very least, terrible taste.
Gutterth Live presents the Angelus’ record release show with special guests Sans Soleil, Diamond Age, and Summer of Glaciers at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on Saturday, October 8th.
On A Dark And Barren Land is available here through Gutterth Records.
Best of 2011: #23 The Angelus - On A Dark & Barren Land
[+ Show ]
23. The Angelus – On a Dark and Barren Land Discovered and bought on a late-night whim, The Angel...23. The Angelus – On a Dark and Barren Land
Discovered and bought on a late-night whim, The Angelus coin the term “Gothspell” for this album and it’s a term well-coined. Managing a darkly-reverential tone throughout, this is the sort of stuff that you’d expect Harry Powell and the Reverend Kane to be preaching to us, explaining to us all in great detail exactly what is going to happen to us all whether we start behaving or not. It’s such a compelling and frightening narrative that by the time that closer Sudden Burst of Hope has tried to cheer us up, few will be inclined to believe it but will be grateful for the sterling effort.
The soundtrack to a pretty, terrifying angel
[+ Show ]
Angelus means “Angel” in Latin, but indie-rockers The Angelus apply more to the terrifying, battle-r...Angelus means “Angel” in Latin, but indie-rockers The Angelus apply more to the terrifying, battle-ready archangel idea than the calming, peaceful messenger motif that is common in our culture. I’m not often scared by music, but the pervasive sense of dread and woe that runs through On a Dark & Barren Land creates some profoundly disorienting and distressing moments.
Emil Rapstine, the songwriter behind The Angelus, is a master of mood: using nothing more than harmonized voices, he can conjure up a profound sense of discomfort (“Let Me Be Gone,” “All Is Well,” where nothing sounds well at all). Add in a tasteful restraint on the arrangements of these dark, gritty dirges, and you’ve got an album that will stick with the listener long after the run time. “Turned To Stone” segues a plodding intro into an indie-rock tune anchored by organ, choir bells, and massively overdriven guitar. Just imagining that should bring up thoughts of The Misfits or Godspeed! You Black Emperor, and it is assuredly more of the latter. “Gone Country” sounds like a doom-thousand The National, while the frantic bass work on “Crimson Shadow” lends an urgency to the tune that jars against the slowed-down guitarwork.
I made the mistake of listening to this last night in the dark by myself, and a sense of dread creeped over me as I read my book. If the goal of all music is emotional connection, The Angelus has succeeded mightily. (Even the album art is darkly fascinating, entering into my best of the year list.) Fans of The Black Heart Processional, darkly atmospheric post-rock, or genuinely creepy music would do well to catch up with On a Dark & Barren Land.
On A Dark & Barren Land "Gutterth Records"
[+ Show ]
Few records conjure up such specific imagery as Denton act The Angelus do on their long-awaited debu...Few records conjure up such specific imagery as Denton act The Angelus do on their long-awaited debut album, On A Dark & Barren Land. Listening to it, you could swear that lead singer Emil Rapstine has lived his life alone on a desolate, rural landscape in the l800s. Doom-ridden songs about death, burial and turning to stone have more in common with Cormac McCarthy's The Road than with any other recent pieces of music from North Texas.
That novel comparison has already been made about this record, though. In press materials supporting the release, Cocteau Twins member and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde says On A Dark & Barren Land "feels like every single song is a chapter from a truly important novel." Raymonde has long been known for his obsession with Denton acts; before he "discovered" Midlake, he hit an artistic gold mine with Lift To Experience, a clear influence on The Angelus. No surprise, then, that Josh T. Pearson, former Lift frontman, was brought in to produce the record.
His work here is not too far from his work in Lift To Experience — religious metaphors and epic, guitar-echoing songs are all intact — but this is no rehash. The Angelus' take is much darker, thanks in large part to Rapstine's distinct vocals, which give On A Dark & Barren Land more character than any thunderous guitars or minor-key chord changes could.
The album's first track, "All Is Well," sees a choir of Rapstine's vocal tracks accompanied by little more than an ambient drone. The instrumental "Latin I" follows with a terror-inducing build. The album's only bright spot, "Sudden Burst Of Hope," is exactly that — a downpour of relief after a journey through a difficult yet effective record that is painfully bleak and equally fascinating.
This certainly isn't an easy-listening album, but within the first few notes it succeeds in setting a mood and transferring the feeling suggested by the title.
The Angelus – On A Dark And Barren Land
[+ Show ]
One thing that has come from me doing this blog is the rediscovering of the youthful joy of buying s...One thing that has come from me doing this blog is the rediscovering of the youthful joy of buying stuff previously unheard of just by seeing a name connected with it. Forging pathways and making connections (and making the occasional wrong turn) was a favourite method of mine for leaping from band to band, album to album for reasons varied and tenuous – the “thanks to…” lists on many a thrash/punk album for example have set me off in new directions, or even someone wearing someone else’s T-Shirt. Yeah, it’s a bit random, but more fun than going through 30-second samples of a computer’s recommendations on a phone because of some clever algorithm.
It was wandering through someone else’s Facebook page on a Sunday night last month, and this band’s name popped up alongside that of Josh T. Pearson, who has come up with one great album of his own this year and who appears here as co-producer. Well, that was enough for me, who duly forked out the necessary for the CD and download of this, their debut album without having heard a note.
It’s probably inevitable that with Josh assisting with helming duties and a general sense of geography that comparisons will be made with fellow Denton, Texas musicians Lift to Experience, and from the very beginning of the unsettling reassurance of All Is Well those comparisons do seem to be fairly put. Emil Rapstine’s vocals are delivered in a similar fashion to Josh’s with LtE, carrying a certain weighty conviction to his words, tempered with a plaintive, sorrowful edge. This intro is accompanied by little more than flat chimes, adding to an atmosphere that feels centuries old before moving straight into the instrumental Latin I, introducing guitar chords full of foreboding before settling back into a rather cinematic reworking of a track off their previous self-titled EP (from back in 2004, no less) and whittling it down from 11 minutes to just over two without losing any of the atmosphere in the process. And thus, the stage is set.
The general feeling upon listening to this album is that of being told in no uncertain terms that, like it or not, the world is going to end. The band describe their music as “Gothspell”, and it’s unerringly accurate in this – there is a deep-seated spirituality at work throughout and each song is presented to the listener as a sermon, and not one of the nice New Testament ones either. This is all blood and thunder, fire and brimstone stuff, and it’s both incredibly compelling and oddly uplifting with it. I suppose the temptation with this sort of material is to get all doomy and gruff about it all, but restraint is applied throughout the rather complex compositions and arrangements (occasionally bringing to mind another Denton band, Midlake, with their prog-folk approach), allowing Emil’s voice (helped along in no small part by the backing harmonies of Justin Evans) to put across his endtimes readings with an empathy for his congregation and the hint of the possibility of salvation if we just buck our ideas up a bit, especially during the closing epic and aptly-titled Sudden Burst of Hope, which provides both solace and encouragement.
Without wanting to bang on too much about Lift to Experience, it has to be said that On A Dark And Barren Land is a great accompaniment to The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads, certainly in terms of a robust spirituality that doesn’t require anything from its audience (I have no beliefs in any direction myself, choosing to be somewhat lazily hedging my bets) in order to be captivated and moved. Having said that, it occupies a landscape very much its own and stands well enough on its own merits. Reverent and frightening, it’s a great way to while away the darker evenings.
Track by Track with Paul Slavens: The Angelus
[+ Show ]
Paul speaks with Emil Rapstein of The Angelus about the band’s new Josh T. Pearson-produced album, O...Paul speaks with Emil Rapstein of The Angelus about the band’s new Josh T. Pearson-produced album, On A Dark And Barren Land.
DARK BROODING FROM THE ANGELUS
[+ Show ]
This isn't the kind of southern rock Texas is known for. After a 2004 self-titled EP, The Angelus...This isn't the kind of southern rock Texas is known for.
After a 2004 self-titled EP, The Angelus has released their first full-length album, On a Dark and Barren Land, available on Bandcamp. The darkness is there. Barren? Not so much. The sound is very full and rich, considered by the band to be "enchanted rock" and "gothspell"--also fitting, especially considering the Biblical references and the occasional hauntingly beautiful use of bells, chimes, and piano ("All Is Well," "Let Me Be Gone"). Don't let the self-proclaimed gothness fool you, though, because as much as that can be associated with teenage angst and Hot Topic, The Angelus is a band with a much more mature sound and mood.
The Angelus combines a great mix of instrumental songs with vocals, yet all share a common vibe. While the prevalent sound is dark with a brooding feel to it, other elements do come into play--most notably, the powerful vocals have a distinct, warbling folk feel, at times calling to mind Mumford and Sons or Iron and Wine. However, the instrumentals, especially guitars, are very rock-oriented. "Latin I," for example, has a memorable, magnetic riff that seamlessly flows into the epic "Turned to Stone." "Gone Country," available below, has hints of Nick Cave. Highlights include "For the Sake of the Night" and the pretty, aptly titled closer "Sudden Burst of Hope."
The Angelus is definitely a band full of potential you'll want to keep an eye on.
Release show celebrating the release of The Angelus’ new album, entitled On a Dark and Barren Land
[+ Show ]
The album comes courtesy of Gutterth, and as such there is an accompanying Violitionist session. The...The album comes courtesy of Gutterth, and as such there is an accompanying Violitionist session. The somewhat more unadorned videos present a clear picture of what The Angelus are actually like in a live setting, as opposed to the luxury of a record rich with guest musicians and a star producer—Josh T. Pearson.
No matter who is involved however, The Angelus have one of the most easily identifiable sounds out of any long-running local band, and it’s one that’s long on atmosphere and short on subtleties. According to the group’s site, there’s even a rather impressive quote from The Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde neatly summing it up thusly:
“It feels like every single song is a chapter from a truly important novel.”
Yes, and perhaps even a novel slowly read by a male version of Nico, during The Marble Index sessions. When lead singer Emil Rapstine is at his most musically morose, he actually enters that often uncharted territory.
The Angelus finds music in a desolate landscape
[+ Show ]
The Angelus has enjoyed a place of prominence in Denton’s indie music scene for a while. The band...The Angelus has enjoyed a place of prominence in Denton’s indie music scene for a while.
The band, anchored by Dallas artist Emil Rapstine and one-time University of North Texas student Justin Evans, is equal parts literate and creative. The lyrics seem inspired by Poe, Rimbaud and the psalmists. And yet the narrative through the songs of the group’s latest album, On a Dark & Barren Land, could just as easily be the stuff of a post-apocalyptic fantasy.
The band reveals its nine-track album on Saturday. The group celebrates the release with a Denton show at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.
The two musicians recorded the album with guitarist/
organist Casey Clark, bassist Matt Chaney and keyboardist Jay Allen.
There’s a proper, Anglo-American gospel undercurrent to what the Angelus does. Maybe it’s the dirge-like drone of the organ marching forth, or the sad guitars.
Could the Angelus use an editor? Well, yes. “Gone Country” clocks in at more than six minutes, and “Sudden Burst of Hope” passes the eight-minute mark by a hair. The songs could say as much if they were half as long, but the band does have a way of migrating in song. At the end of both tracks, we are in a new place. And we have been through something.
Call it the Midlake school of rock, if you will, because the preview of On a Dark & Barren Land hints at an album that isn’t made up of easy singles. No, this is a record that will likely command more attention than, say, a Jay-Z track requires.
Sounds like: A mad scientist and thwarted musician spliced Jim Morrison and Morrissey together and programmed him to record music found in a piano bench abandoned in a recording studio by Lift to Experience. That music would have come from Lift’s “blue period,” if it had one.We’ll hazard a guess that fans of Rush will find something to love in this record, even if it doesn’t rock with the same sharp, metallic edge.
Trivia: An arts writer at the Denton Record-Chronicle sent a Denton composer and director to Rapstine when he asked for some candidates for the title role in a local production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Rapstine doesn’t have the shrill scream of Ted Neeley, but we still wonder what he’d have made of the role.
Details: The Angelus plays Saturday night with Sans Soleil, Diamond Age and Summer of Glaciers at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 411 E. Sycamore St. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $5 for 21 and older, $7 for ages 20 and younger.
On the Web: www.theangelusband.com , www.gutterthrecords.com
The Angelus - Violitionist Sessions
[+ Show ]
3 QUESTIONS ONE: Considering the name, sound, and many of the lyrical themes in your songs, would y...3 QUESTIONS
ONE: Considering the name, sound, and many of the lyrical themes in your songs, would you say that you are a religious band?
Emil Rapstine: I knew that you were going to ask this question. I wonder that, too. I picked the name for the band a long time before there was even a band. When it started out, it was just myself, playing a lot of the same songs on an acoustic guitar.
MB: When was that?
Emil: That’s a good question…early 2000’s. I had been in a band when I first moved to Denton that was called the Coals to Newcastle. We played for a while, and we recorded a record, and right when we finished recording, we broke up, so nothing ever happened with the record. But there were a few songs that I was discovering the sound a little bit on, so I started working on those, and tried to work on them with just playing them on acoustic guitar. I started playing them out at open mic nights. They used to have Big A$$ Beer night at Rubber Gloves, and they would have an open mic, and I’d play at the Brick Haus back when that was there. I slowly brought on Justin, who started playing with me, and we started building the band from there. So, it grew slowly. To get back to your original question, I was an art major and I was studying art history and there was this painting called The Angelus that was painted by a French painter named Jean-Francois Millet. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the painting, but it’s a painting of two peasants, a man and a woman, standing out in their field, and I didn’t necessarily consider the amount of history and meaning that was actually in the name when I picked it. Part of me just thought it sounded cool, and I liked the painting. There was something about it that I really liked. And, it sounded kind of like the angel or something like that, but had this mysterious side to it, and that was before I even knew about the TV show or anything like that…
MB: TV show?
Emil: Yeah, like the character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I guess on the TV show they called it ‘AnGELus,’ so a lot of times people will be like, “So, you’re in the AnGELus?” and we’re like, “No, we’re in the ANgelUS.’ “The Angelas?”…A lot of times people think that we’re named after a bunch of girls named Angela. “The Angel U.S.?” But we stuck with the name. So, anyway, in the painting, there’s a man and a woman, and they’re both paused in prayer. The Angelus, anyway, is a very popular and longstanding Catholic prayer. Basically, in the painting, these people are taking a break from their work. The Angelus is prayed three times a day. I’ve just found all of this stuff out looking for The Angelus stuff.
Justin D. Evans: Isn’t it when a certain bell tolls in the church…?
Emil: Yeah. This is something that I like, you know…these people would know when to stop because they would ring the bell three times a day: morning, midday, and evening. They would ring the bell so that all of the peasants out in the field would be able to hear the sound and know that it was time to stop and say this prayer. I think that in the painting that you can actually see the bell tower far off in the distance. It’s a really simple painting, and there is just something about that.
MB: Did that lead to the occasional use of bells in the music? Do those things have anything to do with each other?
Emil: Well, I guess, honestly I liked that coincidence, but…and maybe, I mean, I was raised Catholic. I grew up as an altar boy. At Communion, we would use the bells — a lot of the bells that we have actually incorporated into the band over the years, the hand bells, the Sanctus bells that we used. So, I did like that connection. In using those bells, and the sound, and the subject matter…I guess it’s something…because the lyrics aren’t necessarily…you wouldn’t be able to translate that into a pop song. I think a lot of the vernacular kind of leans to an older time. I’m not referencing calling you on the phone or going out to the club or things like that. Not like everyone else is, but…
Justin: “Hit me up on FB!”
Emil: Yeah! I think that sound…it’s kind of complicated, but, I remember being an altar boy and growing up in the Church, the Catholic Church, and at Easter…I grew up in a really small town. I always really liked the drone of the organ with all of these voices singing behind it, you know, it really fills it out, and it’s got this somber, melancholy sound to it. At Easter…they wouldn’t play the organ during Lent, and they wouldn’t play any music until Easter Sunday. Or, I should say that they wouldn’t do that completely, but when they would sing “Hallelujah,” because in general Mass they would always accompany it with organ, but during Lent they would just sing it a capella I believe. And so, when Easter came, I remember being an altar boy, and we were all handed bells. They all gave us bells, and then they would bust out with the organ when they would sing “Hallelujah,” and we were instructed to play the bells as loud and as fast as we could, and I remember thinking, “This sounds awesome. This sounds amazing to me.” There was something very transformative and…I can’t think of the word, but it was really grand sounding, and I really liked that. When I was growing up, I played in more, you know, just rock bands, and that influence never really came back in until I got started thinking about doing this band called The Angelus. I started thinking, “How can I get some of those bells?” and “How can I work in that sound?” and recreate that in some way, and so, that’s where that started. That being said, I don’t feel like The Angelus is a religious-type band. There’s no specific meaning, and I think that every member who has been in The Angelus has differing views as far as religion and what that means to them.
MB: Do you consider yourself religious? Are you still a Catholic?
Emil: I don’t know if I would necessarily consider myself a Catholic. I don’t go to church…I do go to Catholic church sometimes. I don’t regularly go to church anywhere, now. Sometimes I do. But I think maybe it’s obvious from the subject matter of the songs that there is a spiritual subject matter and influence that’s kind of going into the music.
Justin: A lot of friends do say that going to an Angelus show is like going to church.
Emil: That’s true. I’ve heard that.
Justin: We’ve heard that a lot.
Emil: I hope it’s a good thing.
Justin: We’ll take it as a compliment.
MB: They should pay a tithe to the band.
Justin: That’s a great idea.
Emil: We should pass a basket around. I mean, I’ve always been conscious of that, and I wonder, since it has that feel to it, if people assume that The Angelus is a Christian Rock band, to which I firmly say no, but I do understand where that thought might come from. I do understand, and it doesn’t bug me. It would only bug me if people just assumed that without asking. So, I think it’s very much wrapped up in a very unclear thing…and a very rambling answer, obviously. There’s a lot to it, I think. So, I would say that it’s not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, but hopefully that will explain it to anyone who is curious.
TWO: You moved from Denton to Dallas a few years ago. How do the two cities compare? What do you think is next for Dallas?
Emil: [to Justin] Do you want to talk some?
Justin: Not much.
Justin: I’ll insert my opinions.
Emil: Yeah, feel free, if I start talking forever…
Justin: I’ll cut you off.
Emil: Yeah, we moved in 2006. I guess the reason for that was…it wasn’t necessarily a strategic, like, “We’ve got to get out of Denton and try something new!” Most of the guys in the band, you know…it’s funny, because Denton is a great town, and you know, it’s very easy to live in this bubble of Denton. It’s very comfortable. I loved living in Denton, and I’m sure Justin did, too, because, you know, you could go out any night and just walk, and see your friends play. It didn’t necessarily even have to be some show coming through town—
Justin: You could see great bands almost on a nightly basis. At least four nights a week.
Emil: And most of those people were your friends.
Justin: Or you’d see some national acts come through Rubber Gloves or Hailey’s or whatever. It’s good stuff.
MB: But Dallas isn’t like that?
Emil: Well, it’s hard to say. I can’t say specifically yes or no, but transporting ourselves there…we’re not…it’s just obviously not as close-knit of a scene. There’s tons of bands from Dallas that I love, but I don’t just walk down the street and run into someone that I saw play last night. Every once in a while you do, but don’t run into these people at the grocery store or the bookstore…
MB: Would you say that the Dallas scene is in a lull?
Justin: I don’t know. It is what it is right now. There are a lot of good bands and a lot of not-so-great bands, in my opinion.
Emil: I think that’s always going to be true, though. There’s tons of not-good bands in Denton, and there’s tons of not-good bands in Dallas, and hopefully we’re not one of those.
Justin: We may be both of those.
Emil: I think that Denton has a lot of things going for it because of that tight-knit thing. Dallas doesn’t necessarily have that. I remember, before I moved to Dallas, I never planned on moving there, and I kind of had this preconceived notion about Dallas bands to be honest.
MB: Was it right?
Emil: No…I mean, not really. I think it wasn’t very fair, and I was probably just concentrating on that based on bands that I didn’t necessarily care for. So, it wasn’t fair that I wrote off Dallas as not as good because it’s not Denton. It’s a totally different scene. Dallas is a lot bigger. There are clubs all over town, so if there’s a show in Oak Cliff, and I live in East Dallas and Justin lives in North Dallas, you’re not going to be able to walk there. So, how much effort do you really want to put in, after putting in your eight hours in Dallas, and sitting in traffic to go home, do you want to get out, get home, and drive out again? When we first moved to Dallas, it felt new, and we had a lot of people that…Dallas slowly started to feel like home. We were playing shows there regularly, and it was good. It was kind of getting how it was like playing in Denton before we left. And then, you know, it’s just so, it’s such a…bands can be on such a microcosmic level or something like that, you know? The attention span of Denton can be really short, because you have all of these people who come here for school, and then four, five, or ten years later, they’re moving on, and so you come back and there’s all of these new kids who simply don’t know who you are, which is a great opportunity, but you lost that built-in crowd that you had. Your friends are moving to New York, they’re moving to Austin, they’re moving to Dallas—all over the place. But, as far as Dallas goes now…a lot of times now I feel like we’ve established ourselves back in Denton a little bit better, and that we haven’t given Dallas as much attention, which is not necessarily a calculated move or anything, but that just seems to be the way that things are going. As far as what’s next for Dallas, I don’t know. It seems like they were kind of picking up on the house show type thing that Denton…well, I’m sure it’s still going here…
MB: Eh, not so much.
Emil: It seemed like there was a time when it was full-on in Denton. I think that it started to creep into Dallas a little bit, and it didn’t last as long, and there probably weren’t as many houses. I’m sure there are a few that I know of that still happen, but I think that that’s even further under the radar than in Denton. It seems like it’s kind of word of mouth in Denton, but it’s just under the radar in Dallas, and so it’s harder to know about those, and you’re like, “Where is this house? I don’t know these people!” In Denton, you might very well. You’re like, “Oh, I know those people. I’ve been to that house before. I used to live in that house!” So, things in Dallas are just more complicated. There’s a bunch of new clubs that are opening up. Things in Deep Ellum are getting revitalized, I suppose. I guess that time will tell, as far as that goes. I would just say that Dallas is never going to be Denton, and Denton is never going to be Dallas, and hopefully people can embrace those differences, instead of feeling like one or the other sucks because they aren’t the same thing.
THREE: Could you tell us about your new album?
Emil: It’s called On A Dark & Barren Land. We recorded it at the same place where we recorded our first EP, which is out at the Echo Lab. Matt Barnhart engineered the record. He did a great job. He engineered the record from before, so we were very comfortable working with him. We had our friend, Josh Pearson…we kind of just asked him last minute…he was living nearby, and we asked him a month or two before we were going to record if he would be interested in producing the record, and he said sure, he said he would love to, and he was like, “When are we going to do this?” and we were like, “Next week.” And he said, “Shit!”
MB: What was his role like?
Emil: He did a lot prior that I hadn’t even thought about. You know, you spend all of this time on these songs, and we’d been collecting these songs, and unfortunately hadn’t been able to record them. With different things happening, lots of different life changes for all of us, and moving to Dallas and kind of getting things back on our feet, it just felt like the rug kept getting pulled out from under us. We had all of these songs, and we were ready to record these songs, finally, and we were all in a place where we could do that. So, we sent him the demos or live recordings of the songs, and he started putting them together, which is something that we hadn’t really tried to do, and listening to them in context with one another, and started figuring out an order, like, before you even track the record. How is this record going to feel? How is it going to flow well? And what could we change as far as before you even go in there and try it, what can we kind of plan ahead for before we go in there? So, that was big help. He already had some suggestions to try out before we even got in there.
Justin: He gave us some real experience, and a lot of his past knowledge of how things flow, and it worked out really well. The changes he made were good. He gave us excitement and a lot of motivation to get it done well.
Emil: I think it was good to have someone who is your friend — well, maybe not his friend, because all of the people in the band were friends, but to have someone that you respect their music and their opinion, and to kind of have their direction. They’re familiar with you enough that you’re comfortable that they might steer you in a direction, but nothing where they don’t understand what you’re going for. They know enough about you where they can direct you into the right direction. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but he ended up being quite the slave driver as far as things go. Lots of yelling – that was okay.
Justin: Lots of yelling at me.
Emil: Yeah. He abused Justin on the drums. He wore Justin out by telling him to play faster.
Justin: “Damn it, Justin!”
Emil: I think he kind of drove us. He was in there yelling while we were playing, which was kind of cool to have. You can’t hear any of that on the record. He kept the momentum going, and he was also good, because I was trying to concentrate on the songs, and concentrate on the performance, and I wanted to be able to…We all had our own input, but it’s hard being in a band and keeping everyone’s spirits up. He was really helpful in that regard. Patting people on the back and encouraging them, and inflating their egos, and then bringing them down whenever they needed too. It was fun to do that.
MB: How long did it take?
Emil: Well, that’s another part of the story. So, for all the production, for all the tracking, he was there to help produce, and then, unfortunately, he had to…
Justin: Was it six days?
Emil: The tracking?
Justin: Vocals and all?
Emil: Well, I’m just thinking before vocals. For like, basic tracks, everything, it was three days I think, and he was there for that entire part, and we all got takes that we could agree upon. So, the plan was to come back in later with him to help us produce the vocals and anything else, but unfortunately he had to go back to Europe, and he had other things going on. He actually invited me to fly over there and record the vocals on his computer in his apartment, but I figured it would be better to spend money on good microphones and equipment, rather than on a plane ticket. It was tempting, but it was a trade off. We were sad he couldn’t be there. There were even some plans for him to add some vocals to the record, but things just didn’t turn out that way. That was the part that we were…As a ‘singer,’ and someone who has experience with that, we were hoping to have that influence on the production side as well. So, we just took up doing the overdubs, and our guitar player really enjoyed that, and spent a lot of time…we added strings…Ryan Williams, and Nick Foreman, and Tamara Brown, they all played strings on some tracks on the record. Who else?
Justin: Original members Jay Allen and Casey Clark. Matt Cheney…
Emil: Our keyboarding player had stopped playing with us because he was too busy a year or two before that, but there was just so much in the songs that he added, so we wanted to make sure that we had him on the recording. We finished it up, finally, and people started moving off. There was kind of this reoccurring thing, like in Coals to Newcastle — we finished the recording, and then people started moving away. Our bass player moved to Austin. That was our second bass player to move to Austin. Our guitar player moved to Amarillo. It just kind of came back down to me and Justin. With all of that happening, people were flying back in to finish up overdubs, and we were emailing songs for everyone to hear the different masters and takes, and it just…a lot of stuff was happening that slowed it down. But we didn’t want to rush through it. If we’re going to put this much energy into it, we want it to be as good as it can be. We probably could have spent a lot more time on the record, but I think that we’re pretty happy with the way that it’s turned out. But we’re really tired of it, and we’re ready to do something new. We’re excited about it. I’m excited to share it with other people.
The Angelus (Denton twinning project)
[+ Show ]
My new fave rave for 2012; with dark nights, chill air, another year of work ahead, and the challeng...My new fave rave for 2012; with dark nights, chill air, another year of work ahead, and the challenge of growing children gnawing at my soul, is the wonderful folk gothic choral grandeur of the ‘On A Dark & Barren Land’ by Texan residents The Angelus.
All the way from Denton, – home of Josh T. Pearson, Midlake, Sly Stone, Roy Orbison & Meatloaf – The Angelus focus around singer & songwriter Emil Rapstine. The music is rich, highly original and almost medieval in tone.
Produced by Josh T. Pearson & the band, the lyrics have many religious undertones that you might expect from a God fearing state like Texas. Texas is big. Very big. Big Land. Big Sky. Big Hats. That’s roughly the extent of my knowledge about Texas. But it does produce great musicians. And I would like to learn more. So to this end….
I spent about an hour earlier following the cognoscenti of the Denton social & cultural scene on Twitter. I’m thinking of suggesting that my current hometown (Nottingham UK) twins with Denton for a cultural exchange. In order to get the ball rolling I would ask any Dentonites to follow my Twitter account and send me some current pictures of Denton hot spots, places of interest, local heroes etc. You can leave comments here and send photos to my Gmail account, which I’ll post here to encourage a mutually beneficial cultural exchange.
But back to the band…..
There is an interesting interview with Emil on the ‘Violitionist’ website. He talks about the bands name, eschewing Buffyisms in favour of Jean-François Millet. An American art collector commissioned his painting of ‘The Angelus’, in 1857. It has a little of the American Gothic feel to it. The painting was later subject to legal ownership battles and now resides in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris and is an iconic example of the pre-Impressionist realist school.
Whilst familiar with the painting I probably have more of an association for Salvador Dali’s version.
This from Wikipedia ‘The Angelus was reproduced frequently in the 19th and 20th centuries. Salvador Dalí was fascinated by this work, and wrote an analysis of it, The Tragic Myth of The Angelus of Millet. Rather than seeing it as a work of spiritual peace, Dalí believed it held messages of repressed sexual aggression. Dalí was also of the opinion that the two figures were praying over their buried child, rather than to the Angelus. Dalí was so insistent on this fact that eventually an X-ray was done of the canvas, confirming his suspicions: the painting contains a painted-over geometric shape strikingly similar to a coffin. However, it is unclear whether Millet changed his mind on the meaning of the painting, or even if the shape actually is a coffin’
But back to the band. Again…..
This is from the Violitionist sessions. “Screaming Bloody Murder”
….and another….. “Touching Down” This ones not on the album
….and the final one “Gone Country” This is completely wonderful…..
The album can be bought from the bands website. If you get a lovely physical copy sent direct from Denton Tx you also get the digital download whilst you wait. Emil kindly also sent me a digital booklet with some really beautiful illustrations and the song lyrics. Very lovely stuff and he’s obviously a very skilled artist visually as well as musically.
You can get the audio of the songs from the Violitionist Sessions here as well, by kind permission of Emil.
The Angelus – Violitionist Sessions
I hope the band does well. The music is just beyond describable. The folk & choral aspects will probably resonate with UK ears and I’m sure live shows would find some really attentive audiences.
Pop Matters review
[+ Show ]
The Angelus likes to take things slow. Beats tend toward the plodding and rhythms might be described...The Angelus likes to take things slow. Beats tend toward the plodding and rhythms might be described as “dirgelike,” while frontman Emil Rapstine’s lugubrious vocals convey a weighty gloom antithetical to what the phrase “rock band” conjures up. We might be looking at the birth of a new genre here: dirge-rock? Funerock? Not as in “fun” but as in “funeral,” as these tunes swell heavily with portent and gloom. Opener “All Is Well” combines vocals reminiscent of plainsong chant with glacially slow chord progressions, and that’s about as lighthearted as things get. Tracks like “Turned to Stone” and “Crimson Shadow” rely on vocal repetition and crashing minor chords to convey a sense of dread rarely heard outside of metal. The Angelus is assuredly not that, despite their fondness for distorted guitar, but it is a band that takes a certain grim glee in being unremittingly dark. Pop in the CD and, er, have fun, kids.
Video: See The Angelus’ Dramatic New Album Promo
[+ Show ]
This is just a video promo for the upcoming album by The Angelus, entitled On A Dark & Barren Land. ...This is just a video promo for the upcoming album by The Angelus, entitled On A Dark & Barren Land. And I shouldn’t say “just,” since it is extremely obvious that an incredible amount of work went into this brief clip, which clocks in at over two-and-a-half minutes. The piece takes the uncommon approach of “combining several songs off of the new album” as opposed to just one–which was the original plan– says Angelus front-person, Emil Rapstine.
Shot over two days, the clip is “composed of thousands of still photos using a time-lapse dolly and a 24mm tilt-shift lens” according to the Vimeo page, and was directed by Dallas freelancer Jake Wilganowski.
The band has been working on the record “off and on for about two years,” says Rapstine. It will be their first release since 2004's self-titled EP. With only a quick preview to go by, it doesn’t stray far from the dark yet melodic and chiming sounds for which the long-running local band is known.
Numerous setbacks have made the already daunting project of completing an entire full-length record that much more difficult. “Band mates started moving out of town,” says Rapstine. “So it took time to get them to fly back to do overdubs and [it] made listening/agreeing to mixes hard.”
And one more thing. Their somewhat well-known producer, Josh Pearson, was also a little busy. “Pearson produced most of it but had to leave for Europe before everything was complete…He did a lot of work before we even started recording and was there for everything really besides the vocals and mixing.” Ultimately, he says the record’s production will be credited to both Pearson and The Angelus.
As impressive as the clip is, I just have one concern: What is going on with so many of our local artists and their vision of the world around them as a gloomy rural landscape inundated with abusively gratuitous religious iconography? Don’t you guys all live in cities? All of this preacher imagery and watery baptism stuff makes Dallas seem more terrifying than it actually is. How about we see a clip with some of you just hanging at Cindy’s Deli or Half Price Books or any of the places I actually run into you? Here’s the clip:
Track of the Day: The Angelus – On A Dark & Barren Land
[+ Show ]
Today’s track shouldn’t even need an introduction. It should speak for itself. But for those of you ...Today’s track shouldn’t even need an introduction. It should speak for itself. But for those of you who
have trust issues, let me give you a little breakdown. The Angelus is a Dallas-based band that plays dark and dusty folk rock that rumbles from deep within and sounds like a slightly gothic version of Mumford & Sons. The Angelus’ bearded frontman, Emil Rapstine, even has a voice that resembles that of Marcus Mumford.
This video is a promo for the band’s upcoming full-length album and is directed by Jake Wilganowski. Wilganowski uses a time-lapse dolly and a 24 mm tilt-shift lens to create a breathtaking compilation of thousands of photos. But I’m going to say no more so you can experience the beauty of this video yourself.
[The Angelus: On A Dark & Barren Land from Jake Wilganowski on Vimeo.]
Verdict: The tones, the movement, the music … Should I even go on? I can’t even imagine the amount of time that Wilganowski took to compose this video. With that, I owe respect not only to the band for a great song, but also to the director for an enchanting video that looks like it’s a clip from a dream. It’s short and sweet–mind-blowing, actually. The Angelus, with their perfect instrumentation, also proves to be a band that’s ready for its name in lights.
The Angelus and Burning Hotels Tease Albums, Joey Kendall and Datahowler Release Free Ones
[+ Show ]
Seems like gothic area folk-rock outfit The Angelus is finally gearing up to release the follow-up t...Seems like gothic area folk-rock outfit The Angelus is finally gearing up to release the follow-up to their 2004 EP: The Emil Rapstine-led, semi-Josh T. Pearson-produced outfit just released the above trailer for their upcoming full-length, called On A Dark & Barren Land, earlier this week, and it's a doozy. Filmed by former Bridges & Blinking Lights frontman Jake Wilganowski and comprised of "thousands of still photos using a time-lapse dolly and a 24mm tilt-shift lens," the clip serves as a staunch reminder of Rapstine's powerful vocals and his band's quite-haunting sound. Here's looking forward to that disc's release.
The Angelus - On A Dark & Barren Land
[+ Show ]
?? "The Angelus" e??a? µ?a µpa?ta ap? t? Denton t?? Texas, d?µ??????µa t?? t?a???d?st? Emil Rapstine...?? "The Angelus" e??a? µ?a µpa?ta ap? t? Denton t?? Texas, d?µ??????µa t?? t?a???d?st? Emil Rapstine ? ?p???? e??ate?e??e t?? ?µ?-???ede???? ??? t?? pa??a? t?? µpa?ta? Coals to Newcastle ??a ?a?? µ?a? p??? µ???µa??st???? p??se???s?? t?? µ??s????.
?a t?a???d?a p?? e??a?e µe µ?a a???st??? ???a?a ?a µp????sa? ?a sta???? ?a? a?t???µa ?p? a?t? t?? ?pt??? a??a af?se pe??????a ??a µ?a µe???t??? live µpa?ta.
Sta te?? t?? 2000 e??se t?? d??aµe?? t?? µe t?? ?t?aµe? Justin Evans ?a? ?e????se ?a p?a?µat?p???s? ta ep??a t?? ??aµata.
?e t?? e??a????s? ?a? t?? ????? ?p?st????? t?? ? Evans, epe?se t?? Rapstine ?a s??e??se? t?? a?a??t?s? ??a t??? s?st??? a????p??? ets? ?ste ?a ?????????e? ? µpa?ta.
? James Barker ?e????se ?a pa??e? µpas? µa?? t??? µeta t? µeta????s? t?? st? Denton ap? t? Austin t? 2001.? Jay Allen p??s?ese t? ??e?t???? p?a??.?µf?te??? a?t??atasta???a? a???te?a ap? t??? Casey Clark st?? ??e?t???? ???a?a ?a? t?? Matt Chaney st? µpas?.
????st???? a????a ? ???? t??? a???te?a ape?t?se pe??ss?te?? ???? ?a? e?tas?, p??? ???ta st?? ??? ?e??? te?at?? t?? aµe???a????? t?a???d?p???a? ?p?? ?? Woven Hand, The Angels of Light ?a? ?? Swans, e???ta? t?? t?µ? ?a µ???a???ta? t?? s???? µe t??? d?? p??t??? ?a??? ?a? µe t??? Akron Family, Calla, The Black Angels, Mono, Do Make Say Think, The Album Leaf.
? µpa?ta ?????f???se e?a ?µ?t?t?? e.p. sta te?? t?? 2004 ?a? e?a "a?????f???t?" a?µp??µ µe t?t?? "On A Dark & Barren Land" ?a? pa?a???? t?? Josh T Pearson ap? t??? Lift To Experience.
???sfata ?? tesse??? t??? e??atasta???a? st? Dallas, ?a? ???? s?µe?a µa?? se µ?a ?????t?ta ???st? ?? "the Chateau Angelus".
?? ?e?t??e? d?aµa?t????ta? ??a t?? ?a?µ?d?e? p?? a??????ta? a??a t? ß?ad? ?a? ??a t?? µa????? ??? ???d??????.
?e???a ?at? e?e? t? ?e?? e?e? st? Texas............
Loud and intimate
[+ Show ]
The Angelus, another lot of Denton ex-pats, now based in Dallas, played as a three-piece -- Emil Rap...The Angelus, another lot of Denton ex-pats, now based in Dallas, played as a three-piece -- Emil Rapstine on guitar, Justin Evans on drums and a friend sitting in on bass, with Evans' backup vocals harmonizing with Rapstine's ethereal, powerful voice. Even stripped down from the band's former size, they're able to command a sound no less epic. (I had to crane my head to see around concertgoers to make sure there weren't any other players hiding out of my line of sight.) The Angelus was epic before epic became "epic," with music swelling from mere handbells and vocals, building into something powerful and all-encompassing, filmic and soundtrack-worthy.
35 Conferette: Night One
[+ Show ]
A block away at the Hydrant coffeehouse, Gutterth Productions took over the upstairs area, transform...A block away at the Hydrant coffeehouse, Gutterth Productions took over the upstairs area, transforming the space with eerie projected videos and atmospheric lighting. But it was the talent they brought to their showcase that set it apart, from the Skyped-in-from-overseas set by former local band Heartstring Stranglers and a head-spinning performance by the Angelus to a riveting full-band show by Denton's blues-n-punk outfit New Science Projects. Veteran DJ Cut Chemist packed in Hailey's, while Seryn played every instrument under the sun at its up-with-people folk-pop show at Dan's SilverLeaf.
It List: Dallas-area Music Offerings for Dec 15
[+ Show ]
The Angelus has long remained dedicated to a carefully thought-out concept that allows layer after d...The Angelus has long remained dedicated to a carefully thought-out concept that allows layer after dark layer of mood to build around primary songwriter Emil Rapstine’s vision of almost perversely studied sorrow. Though the group has received flak for drawing too much inspiration from acts such as Josh Pearson, I find them to be more sincere in presentation than Pearson’s particularly calculated brand of Snake Oil sentiment and bearded Texploitation.
The Angelus, led by one of the best vocalists in the region, Emil Rapstine, never disappoints.
[+ Show ]
Slackbeat, Sans Soleil and The Angelus at Rubber Gloves A nice triple-bill of Denton acts hits the ...Slackbeat, Sans Soleil and The Angelus at Rubber Gloves
A nice triple-bill of Denton acts hits the stage at Rubber Gloves this evening. Slackbeat more than live up to its name as the trio plays alt-country of the Frank Zappa variety. Chaotic, intense and almost frightening, the "songs" of Slackbeat defy easy catagorization. And that's a good thing. The quintet known as Sans Soleil is much more refined; songs like "Caldera" and "Memento Mori" might even fall under the progressive rock genre. Lengthy and exceedingly well-played, the songs of San Soleil set a cool mood that Slackbeat will certainly beat into submission. And The Angelues, led by one of the best vocalists in the region, Emil Rapstine, never disappoints.
After The Wall
[+ Show ]
The day only got better from there: Denton's the Angelus proved to be the best-sounding band on the ...The day only got better from there: Denton's the Angelus proved to be the best-sounding band on the WoSF side stage thanks to their hulking rock compositions and Emil Rapstine's unbelievable voice.
The never-ending NX35 track-by-track: Week 2
[+ Show ]
The Angelus–Song of Self Emil Rapstine, the man at the helm of The Angelus, comes from the same s...The Angelus–Song of Self
Emil Rapstine, the man at the helm of The Angelus, comes from the same stock as singers like Morrissey and Nick Cave. His voice is deep and dark, like some beautiful angel (sorry … ) of death, spinning gothic tales with every note. Seeing the band live is a religious experience.
Sleep Whale, Dust Congress Impress at Rubber Gloves' Free Week
[+ Show ]
"Emil Rapstine, of The Angelus, opened the show. He may technically reside in Dallas now, but in a w..."Emil Rapstine, of The Angelus, opened the show. He may technically reside in Dallas now, but in a way he will always be Denton's son. The first time I saw The Angelus live, I was blown away. Their music brings forth images of gothic castles, frigid moors and forbidden trysts between long-dead lovers (at least in my mind). Rapstine's solo shows are equally breathtaking. Though nothing compares to a performance by the full band, Rapstine can captivate an audience armed only with an electric guitar and his angelic voice. He's garnered comparisons to Morrissey, though I think his voice is much smoother than the beloved Moz. When I hear his unique brand of experimental folk, I feel like I'm in the presence of a modern-day troubadour. Though only a handful of people were present for his set, all stood at rapt attention, with a few hardcore fans singing along. Rapstine's quiet set was never overwhelmed by the usual din of audience chatter."
Bonus MP3: Blixaboy -- "Lion Eyes (featuring Emil Rapstine of The Angelus)"
[+ Show ]
An unrelenting, head-spinning collection of various sounds, Kliks & Politiks races along without eve...An unrelenting, head-spinning collection of various sounds, Kliks & Politiks races along without ever feeling rushed--and, largely, without the accompaniment of vocals. There's one notable exception to that rule, though: the song "Lion Eyes," for which Dover enlisted Emil Rapstine, frontman for local outfit The Angelus, for vocal duties. Dover's been kind enough to pass along that track as a free download to DC9 readers. Grab it after the jump, where you'll also find an embedded player that allows you to stream the new record in full.
Album review: Summer of Glaciers - Concentric (2010)
[+ Show ]
Although never meandering, you're hard pressed to find an obvious end to anything on the record. The...Although never meandering, you're hard pressed to find an obvious end to anything on the record. There is one obvious track however in Touching Down, featuring Emil Rapstine on guest vocals. His performance almost sounds like a more Americanized take on Dead Can Dance, and lends desert imagery and a slight psychedelic feel to the juxtaposing futuristic musical foundation in place by Wasterlain. The production efforts on his voice also have more of a lo-fi sound amidst the ultra-clarity of the instruments, giving his voice a bit of a surreal presence. As it sweeps to its chorus toward the center, it is quite epic.
Kliks & Politiks Astroblaque - Feat. Emil Rapstine of The Angelus
[+ Show ]
Mostly instrumental save a few treated vocal samples, the album takes a welcome left turn into droni...Mostly instrumental save a few treated vocal samples, the album takes a welcome left turn into droning rock on "Lion Eyes," with Emil Rapstine of Denton doom-folk outfit The Angelus providing incantatory vocals that sound like Paul Banks doing an impression of a Benedictine monk.
The Angelus on Genesis, Whitney Houston and Slint
[+ Show ]
Local trio The Angelus is playing Thursday night at LaGrange with another local featured in this col...Local trio The Angelus is playing Thursday night at LaGrange with another local featured in this column before: Crushed Stars. Expect the music to be slow, but no doubt peaceful and heavenly. The three members of The Angelus took time out and shared their embarrassing and non-embarrassing musical firsts, from Whitney Houston to Slint.
Was there a musician or band that inspired you to play an instrument?
Emil Rapstine (vocals/guitar): I'd have to say I was initially inspired to pick up the guitar by my brother Xander, who is a year older than me. He was the "musical child" while I was the "artistic child." I saw how he could really capture the attention of people with a song while they would look at my drawings briefly and say "that's nice." When I noticed the difference I dedicated a lot of time hidden away in the basement trying figure out how to play guitar and write a song.
Ryan Wasterlain (bass): I think like most people our age, one of the big influences for picking up a guitar was Nirvana. It was music that I connected with that also seemed within reach. For better or worse, I imagine a lot of bands started because of them. We all thought we could make great music, and were wrong. I never really cared for the super technical guitarists. I loved people that were rudimentary but made powerful music. Which is why I ended up falling in love with punk rock for a long time.
Justin Evans (drums): Along the same lines as Ryan, Nirvana was the kick starter for me and music. Playing in my friend's bedroom and trying to learn the guitar parts for every song from Bleach to Nevermind brings back good memories. Then local bands like Funland, Centro-matic, Bobgoblin and Buck Jones were really influential throughout high school and even today. Being a drummer in The Angelus really came out of necessity, then I ended up loving it.
Early on, how much of an influence were your parents' music tastes on your musical tastes?
Emil: My parents didn't have an enormous record collection, but they enjoyed playing some folk and a couple Beatles records. My mom was a big Joan Baez fan and that introduced me to a lot of folk music. She also encouraged singing at church and family get-togethers. One early influence involved listening to the "1812 Overture" at high volume while my siblings and I furiously cleaned the house. This became a custom and taught me that if you want to score cannon fire in your songs, then you just go right ahead.
Ryan: From what I can remember, my parents listened to Simon & Garfunkel and Moody Blues exclusively. My uncle, on the other hand, played guitar and listened to Van Halen. That was much more exciting to me as a child.
Justin: My mom was a huge influence in my love of music. She was a singer/songwriter and trained vocalist when she was in school. Later she went on to write and record country music and perform in the Oprys in Texas and Oklahoma. Needless to say, I heard a lot of Willie, Waylon, Dolly Parton and the Oak Ridge Boys growing up. She started encouraging me to explore music as early as I can remember and still encourages me in my music today.
Can you remember the first cassette tape you bought with your own money?
Emil: I think the first full-length tape I bought was Urge Overkill's Saturation, but before I understood that there was any alternative music out there I have to admit to cassette singles of "I Can't Dance" by Genesis and Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You."
Ryan: Not to brag, but I'm pretty sure it was Vanilla Ice.
Justin: I'm pretty sure mine was Beastie Boys, License to Ill. And I'm pretty sure it was bought black market from on of my friends' older brothers. Then my mom let me join that mail order tape club, and it was on.
Have you ever been in this situation? A band blows you away with their record, yet is a disappointment in a live setting. What about vice versa: band is great live yet not great on record?
Emil: I think I was expecting to be blown away more when I finally got to see Mogwai years ago. I had loved them for so long then but was never able to see them. By the time I saw them I was left feeling unmoved. Certainly not the band's fault, I think their time for me had just passed. On a more positive note, I'd say that I think all of Wovenhand's records are phenomenal, but none of them come close to matching their live performance.
Ryan: One of the most influential bands for me is Slint. I started listening to them as a teenager (they had already broken up years before). Spiderland is one of my favorite albums ever. It's so raw, passionate and very different from anything I had listened to previously. Slint got back together and toured in 2005. I bought tickets as soon as I could. Technically, they were flawless and the music was great. Visually, they were statues. It was disappointing at the time. I really love seeing a band get lost in the music and move with reckless abandon. This was the opposite; they were lost inside the music and very much in their own heads. I will never regret getting to see it, but I guess I just thought it would be more of something to look at.
Justin: Wovenhand for sure; I love their records, but I have been blown away at every live show I have seen by them. Same for Sigur Ros. On the other hand, Godspeed records have always impressed me, but the one live show I saw was a snoozer.
What can you remember about the first time The Angelus played live?
Emil: I would be hard pressed to remember the first show considering The Angelus started as solo project soon adding Justin and then a full band over time. Once our newest record was complete the band was on the verge of disintegration with everyone moving away. We had a 35 Denton performance scheduled and Ryan's project Summer of Glaciers was coming through on tour. I chanced asking him if he would sit in on bass with us and he said yes. We had one practice and I could have been a disaster but the show was a success and I knew the band could be reborn if I could somehow trick him into moving from San Francisco to Dallas. I don't know how it happened, but here we are.
Justin: I think my first Angelus show was actually just Emil and I at Big Ass Beer Night or Open Mic or something at Rubber Gloves in Denton around 2000. Emil and I had been playing together for a short time and I had never played drums live, ever. In fact, I had only been playing drums for a couple of months at that point. I was nervous as hell, but we clanged through it and had a great time, and a good enough response to play more shows.
The Angelus, Le Leek Electrique, Clint Niosi - Dan's Silverleaf - 7/7/12
[+ Show ]
The Angelus, playing as a trio, graced the stage around midnight. They've landed some high profile s...The Angelus, playing as a trio, graced the stage around midnight. They've landed some high profile shows recently, including a February Sons of Hermann Hall slot opening for Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. Lead singer Emil Rapstine and drummer Justin Evans harmonized perfectly through songs like "Turned To Stone" and "Screaming Bloody Murder," and for the last four songs of their set, they invited Petra Kelly onstage, who has been a ubiquitous presence in bands such as Hares on the Mountain and Spooky Folk.
Crushed Stars - LaGrange - 7/26/12
[+ Show ]
The Angelus played almost an hour of material, joined by violinist Petra Kelly on three songs toward...The Angelus played almost an hour of material, joined by violinist Petra Kelly on three songs towards the middle of the set, expanding into a hypnotic folk drone.
All is Well
Song Of Self
Turned to Stone
Screaming Bloody Murder
What Storm is This
Let Me Be Gone
Sudden Burst of Hope
There are no upcoming dates at this time.