In less than a year, surf-noir four-piece La Luz have gone from being virtual unknowns to one of the most talked-about bands in their native Seattle, with a sold-out cassette EP on Burger Records (Damp Face) and seven-inches for Water Wing and Suicide Squeeze under their belts. Now, the band has readied their anticipated debut full-length, out October 15th from Hardly Art. It’s Alive was recorded in the same North Seattle trailer park studio as Damp Face and crystallizes their lauded, expertly-wrought sound. In October, the band will open for Of Montreal on a nationwide tour. See below for a full list of dates and more on La Luz.
Still, La Luz’s live shows, more than most these days, are about connection. It’s evident that the four ridiculously talented ladies on stage are not only playing music with each other, but for each other. And they engage their audience as well. They convey a gritty self-possession, a sense that they’ve been there and back again. And, like the expert, but seemingly effortless, surf licks and meandering bass lines that rise and fall throughout their songs, their mocking is playful and dreamy and disarming enough to get most of the crowd (and sometimes the keyboard player) dancing down the center line of a soul train.
In Spanish, La Luz means “light” and that’s the perfect thing to evoke when your songs give the illusion of veering in the opposite direction. But lift out most any lyric—which is a good excuse to give a closer listen to the delicate, four-part harmonies that are fast becoming the band’s signature—and you’ll find that the aches and pains of love and loss, of living in a world where no foothold is ever a promise—all this is delivered with a nuanced dose of perfectly timed exhilaration, like the whole thing might just be worth it in the end.
Last spring, La Luz returned to that steamy trailer park to record It’s Alive – the follow up to Damp Face – with their friend and engineer Johnny Goss. From the first get-psyched drum roll and eerie chords of “Sure As Spring”, the dinged-up pop gem that opens the album, the rest moves like a slow drive on a dangerous road, slinking and bending as the terrain shifts. “It’s Alive” is a jangly rocker with a spooky refrain, oodles of ooohs, and a marauding narrative that nails down the misty logic of the rest of the album. Two instrumentals, “Sunstroke” and “Phantom Feelings”, showcase the band’s beach jam surf chops, and fall perfectly between the chilled out heartache that surrounds them.
October 15, 2013
01. Sure as Spring
02. All the Time
03. Morning High
04. What Good Am I?
06. It’s Alive
07. Big Big Blood [mp3]
08. Call Me in the Day
09. Pink Slime
10. Phantom Feelings
11. You Can Never Know
09.20.13 – Seattle, WA – Neumo’s %
09.21.13 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
10.28.13 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *
% – w/ The Growlers