The good people at Light in the Attic are kicking off their first Holiday Sale and to make things even sweeter (sweeter than a $17 bundle of two Black Angels cds, an ep, and a poster) we’re offering you an extra 10% off three I Rock Cleveland recommended titles. Just use the top secret discount code Cleveland! in the memo box when you check out.

The Black Angels – Passover: Is it too early to call these Black Angels songs classics: “First Vietnamese War,” and its pounding, looming brigade of doom, “Black Grease,” and its two tons of lead heavy and tar pit sticky opening riff, “Maniupulation” and its mystical and mesmerizing Far East freak out? Not if you’ve lived with this album for two years and not if you’ve managed to catch one of this Austin based band’s many stops on their never ending US tour. These songs are classics and songs you’ll keep coming back to during what will most likely be a very long and very loud career for The Black Angels.

The Black Angels – Directions to See a Ghost On Directions to See a Ghost, the Black Angels’ follow up to their stirring debut Passover, the band have chosen to take a more methodical and measured approach over the course of its 70+ minutes. Whereas many of Passover’s signature songs, like “Black Grease,” came out with all guitars blazing, the big moments on Directions to See a Ghost often come via numbers like the 8 1/2 minute “Never/Ever,” where the band gives as much attention to setting up a haunting mood with tone, texture, and detail as they do to the grand, guitar and organ freak out that punctuates this track. When that carefully layered, dark spectral vibe is paired with pointed social commentary, Directions to See a Ghost becomes even more vital. On “Vikings,” a strong, steady drum beat is matched with eerie static as vocalist Alex Maas comments on the folly and perpetuity of warfare in modern culture with such striking lines like, “I’m gonna do things my way/Gonna see you tomorrow/On a German war plane/We’re gonna bomb you til Tuesday.” Then, on “You In Color,” Maas takes aim at racism. It’s not the love fest of Sixties psychedelic rock where social barriers could be transcended with a song, but a commentary on how far we haven’t come, “I see you see you in color/You’re not my friend and your not my brother/We agree to be enemies.” As we’re bogged down in a war with serious ethnic undertones, his commentary is both pessimistic and realistic.

As music fans we’re continually told we don’t want albums. We’re told we really don’t want long albums. As a music fan, I have one question? Who are these people and why are they speaking for us?

The Blakes – s/t When is a greatest hits album not a greatest hits album? When that album happens to be a debut. Power pop, dirty, Detroit style Rock ‘N’ Roll, raucous, bar room brawling garage rock, The Blakes covered it all, and did it with so much conviction and so much attitude on their self-titled release, that you’ll be convinced this is a decade’s worth of hits and not a debut album by a group of relative unknowns now calling the Pacific Northwest home. Don’t believe me? Check out “Two Times,” “Don’t Bother Me,” “Pistol Grip, and “Streets.” And when you’re done, you’ll have no choice but to rock out the rest of the album.