Heading into homegrown territory tonight with a session by Seattle-L.A. Surf-Noir compendium La Luz, in session for Pressure Drop.tv in March of 2016. Founded in 2012 and consisting of Shana Cleveland, Marian Li Pino, Alice Sandahl, and Lena Simon, La Luz has received critical acclaim following the release of three studio albums It’s Alive, Weirdo Shrine, and Floating Features.
La Luz is known for their “surf noir” style with layered vocal harmonies.Their energetic live shows often include Soul Train-inspired dance contests and crowd surfing.
Shana Cleveland and Marian Li Pino (former members of Seattle band The Curious Mystery) formed La Luz in Seattle, Washington with Alice Sandahl and original bassist Abbey Blackwell after being inspired by surf and rock and roll acts like Link Wray, The Ventures, and Dick Dale, as well as girl groups like The Shirelles. After releasing an EP titled Damp Face in 2012, La Luz signed with Hardly Art and released their first full-length album titled It’s Alive.
And from their Wikipedia page:
While on tour supporting Of Montreal on November 5, 2013, La Luz was involved in a serious automobile accident on the road traveling from Boise, ID to Seattle, WA as their tour van slipped on black ice. After crashing into a highway divider, their van was then hit by a semi-trailer truck. Band members sustained injuries, and all of the instruments and merchandise were destroyed with the tour van and trailer, forcing them to cancel the remainder of the tour.
On February 4, 2014 bassist Abbey Blackwell announced via Facebook that she was leaving La Luz. She posted “Dear friends and fans, I am sorry to say that I will be leaving La Luz… after a year and a half of being in this incredible band, spending time with these talented women, and experiencing the best and the worst of tour, I’ve decided that the touring life just isn’t for me, and my heart lies in the back of an orchestra and working on my own music.”
Two weeks later, La Luz followed up by announcing the addition of new bassist Lena Simon.
In February 2015 La Luz announced the release of a new album produced by garage rock veteran Ty Segall. After supporting Segall on tour, he offered to produce their next album in his home studio (later moved to a surfboard warehouse). Segall’s influence resulted in a live-sounding recording sacrificing technical perfection for a more visceral, organic sound that he felt captured the essence of the group. Segall also encouraged to introduce the heavy use of a fuzz pedal on Cleveland’s guitar.
On August 7, 2015 they released their second LP through Hardly Art titled Weirdo Shrine, and embarked on an international tour to support its release. The album received positive reviews in The Guardian, Pitchfork and The New York Times, whose critic Ben Ratliff wrote:
“On La Luz’s new record, “Weirdo Shrine” (Hardly Art), what first seems blithe and brittle is actually sturdy, passionate, mysterious, fully committed. That guitar playing, from Shana Cleveland, becomes vivid and color-saturated. That light-handed drumming, by Marian Li Pino, swells and intensifies and comes to grips with the small details.”
On December 22, 2015, they announced that they would be moving from Seattle to Los Angeles.
In case you’ve missed them, this should get you up to speed. Wonderful band – great songs – spellbinding voices. Sign me up for the fan club.