Year In Review, Vol. 5 - Your 33 Black Angels

This December, to celebrate the music of 2007, I asked a bunch of the artists I’ve featured on PHW over the last 11 months to share their thoughts on the “year that was”. I asked a mix of my favorite local artists, as well as several larger acts, with the hope of having a diverse assortment of reflections on the music that mattered to the artists that mattered to me.

Your 33 Black Angels has the distinct pleasure, here in 2007, of being a really good, completey independent band that received one of its first doses of national attention in Rolling Stone magazine. Crazy, right? Aren’t they the ones that gives 5-star ratings to crappy Mick Jagger albums while ignoring most music made by people under 60 or over 20? Yup. But somehow Y33BA, a Brooklyn-born band that self-released their debut, Lonely Street, with a run of 250 limited edition LPs, cut through the crap and found themselves featured in a David Fricke write-up. Remarkable. And very much deserved.

Lonely Street is a solid debut record, filled with passionate rock n’ roll songs and instantly memorable folk-rock ballads. The band mixes hard-driving Bob Dylan-meets-Dinosaur Jr. rockers (“Psycho On Your Side”) with completely un-ironic, feel-good, mid-tempo country rock (“Me And My Girl”) to great effect. Lead singer John Westfal’s voice is a very un-Brooklyn-like creeky drawl that immediately brought David Berman of Silver Jews to my mind. It’s a highly accomplished record, but more than anything else, Lonely Street shows promise. This is a talented band that looks ready to grow with each release.

MP3 :: Psycho On Your Side
MP3 :: Me And My Girl
(from Lonely Street. Buy here or here)


I caught up with Stevie “Sunshine” Stapleton, guitarist for the band and all around Brooklyn music fanatic. Stevie was kind enough to pass along the names of about a dozen new bands for me (and you!) to check out (with links! Dude!), as well as answering several questions I passed along to the band:

Favorite Albums….

Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade (Brooklyn) - self-titled debut on ICBM Records is an absolutely psychedelic-garage-future-age-rockalicioius album!

Slaraffenland's "Private Cinema" is knocking my socks off right now. Pitchfork reviewed this album and forgot to mention that 'Polaroids' is the best song written this year. What a shame. Slaraffenland is from Denmark.

Apollo Heights' "White Music for Black People" is raging amazing!

Butane Variations came out with an album this year, too. Simply splendid.

I can't wait for the new HEAVY CREATURES album, dernit!

Best Live Shows….

Endsville at Luna Lounge in Brooklyn, sometime near the end of July, I believe.Saw this band Master/Slave at Lit Lounge in the spring. They played with SAMARIUM and what an awesome sound these guys have. They're from California. We were lucky enough to be a part of our own party on Halloween...our annual Heavenly Horrors party! This year we had eleven great bands, hundreds of people in costume arrived, Don Pedro's was a very happy place to be that night! One for the ages, for sure.There are so many shows, and so little time. All of the bands we've played with have been wonderful. For real. Oh yeah, that reminds me...The Saudi Agenda is my new favorite band. I saw them at the Charleston and they simply tore it up.

Favorite Local Acts:

How about Discovery, Teedo, Trauma Team 666, We Are the Arm, SAMARIUM, The Above, The Bahamas, The Young Lords, Hobson's Choice, Endsville. Renminbi. The Saudi Agenda. Brooklyn is taking over. For real. You heard it here first. When is the music press going to figure it out?

PHW: Musically speaking, what were some of the most exciting things tohappen to Your 33 Black Angels over the past year?

The best part of being in this band is meeting so many great people and getting so see so many of our favorite bands so often! Your 33 Black Angels was a part of Make Music New York on the day of the summer solstice, and that was pretty badass. Fred Mills said we were his new favorite band, and that made me excited. I could feel the blood coursing through my veins, as it piqued my interest and made me smile. Does that count?

PHW: What was the most memorable show you played all year?

Heavenly Horrors III was the most memorable show for me - it was truly great. Most of the best bands in the world were there, and I didn't have to pay a cover since I was cleverly disguised as part of Your 33 Black Angels as my costume. The Heavy Creatures and The Above opened the show and just blasted good vibes throughout the whole neighborhood right off the bat. It was such a positive experience and it was a night none of us will ever forget! Don Pedro's is a great venue, too.We recently went up to Ithaca to play with Butane Variations, who were kind enough to invite us with them. it was a really amazing trip, and we met a lot of great people that we hope to see again soon and got a tour of the gorgeous gorges. I got lost trying to find the liquor store, drove home in a snow storm, got a cold and broke even! Those things together all make for a very memorable experience!

PHW: What exciting things can we expect from the band in 2008?

A nationwide spring tour, more debauchery, more music, more ribaldry, more community, another album, more lewd behavior, more beautiful people, less noise, more ringing ears and less geese shitting on my head!

P.S. - 12:01 am, January 1st! Your 33 Black Angels are playing a New Year's Eve blowout on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn!


Anonymous said...

Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade is also one of Y33BA's favorite bands.

Anonymous said...

New York band Your 33 Black Angels will be taking their live showcase to the southern and western United States in support of their debut album, “Lonely Street.” The tour will make stops in various cities including New Orleans, LA, Flagstaff, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, Los Angeles, CA, Riverside, CA, Portland, OR and Austin, TX.

The band will be performing in Austin, TX on March 13th during the South by Southwest music festival.

Anonymous said...

Your 33 Black Angels are getting geared up for their second tour of the year, in support of "Tales of My Pop-Rock Love Life," the bands sophomore full-length effort. Dates can be seen at and