Sunday, December 31, 2006

Somebody stop that war.

Today I found out that the brother of a friend of mine was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Friday, along with two of his fellow servicemen. His name was Aaron Lee Preston, and he was assigned to the 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

A close friend of mine, Spec. Javier A. Villanueva was killed in Iraq last year, also by injuries sustained from a bomb. I have friends over there fighting as I type this, and have had other friends who are going over and/or have been there and thankfully arrived home safe. Countless other people across the nation have stories just like mine, and I'm just ready for this thing to be over. The number of confirmed U.S. casualties in this war is reaching 3,000, with over 20,000 wounded.

Austin's The Black Angels wrote a song for their 2006 album Passover that is about a friend who was killed in battle, and it expresses some of what I'm feeling about the situation. The song is untitled and hidden in the last part of "Call to Arms," after a three minute silence. The band's guitarist Christian Bland says of the song:

"That song... I don’t even know what the title for that song is. Originally it was called “The Iraq War”. But I think the name was changed to something else. The title “The Iraq War” was too straight forward. I think it was tagged at the end of the album because it sounds so different from the rest of the album, so it fits better at the end. And it’s very personal. It’s about a friend who was killed in battle and it just fits well after the last song. There’s a 3 minute silence and then it concludes with that song."


I must say that Passover is really starting to grow on me, after taking my sweet time to actually sit down and pay attention to it. I even met these guys and shared a cigarrette with them one night before ACL down at The Mohawk, and at the time I only had a vague idea of what they sounded like. Pitchfork had nice things to say about the album, though they left out most of their typical elitist soliloquy. Weird.

I've heard great reviews of their live shows, and I'm looking forward to seeing them open up for Ghostland Observatory next month at the opera. That's going to be a killer show. I'll do what I can to get pics/audio/video of this performance, and we'll see what happens. I did find a live recording of the Black Angels opening up for the Black Keys in November of this year, and the show info as well as a .Zip file of the recording are listed below. It sounds great at high volume, by the way..

The Black Angels Live at Cat's Cradle on November 9, 2006


01) Intro :49.11
02) Young Men Dead 5:31.52
03) Bloodhounds On My Trail 3:51.19
04) The Sniper At The Gates Of Heaven 4:57.56
05) Vikings and Furrs 6:05.58
06) Better Off Alone 3:50.19
07) Ronettes 7:52.18
08) Black Grease 4:13.62
09) The Prodigal Sun 4:26.32
10) Snake in the Grass 8:00.08

This recording in downloadable by clicking here, via

Plenty more available at, and MySpace.


mjrc said...

i heard them play "the iraq war" (that's what they called it at the time) at an in-store performance back in november. they were great. they were all crammed in to this tiny space, so the drummer only played one big drum, and it gave the songs a really sparse, haunting quality. and talk about nice--they all hung out and talked to us afterwards. i've got some pics but none of them are great. i think i'll put them up anyway.

i totally agree with you about the war, too, and am so very sorry for your friend and all the other families who have lost loved ones to this mess, this neverending mess.

Mr. Curiosity said...

Thanks mj.