Hardly Art

For most, a brush with death would be cause for retreat, reflection, and reluctance, but Seattle band La Luz found something different in it: resilience. Having survived a high-speed highway collision shortly after releasing their 2013 debut LP It’s Alive, La Luz, despite lasting trauma, returned to touring with a frequency and tirelessness that put their peers to shame. Over the past year-and-a-half of performing, the band arrived at a greater awareness of their music’s ability to whip eager crowds into a frenzy. In response, frontwoman Shana Cleveland’s guitar solos took on a more unhinged quality. The basslines (from newly-installed member Lena Simon) became more lithe and elastic. Stage-dives and crowd-surfing grew to be as indelible a part of the La Luz live experience as their onstage doo-wop-indebted dance moves.

When it came time to record Weirdo Shrine, their second album—due out August 7th—the goal was to capture the band’s restless  live energy and commit it to tape. In early 2015, Cleveland and Co. adjourned to a surf shop in San Dimas, California where, with the help of producer/engineer Ty Segall, they realized this vision. Tracking most of the album live in shared quarters, La Luz chose to leave in any happy accidents and spur-of-the-moment flourishes that occurred while recording. Cleveland’s newly fuzzed-up guitar solos—which now incorporated the influence of Japanese Eleki players in addition to the twang of American surf and country—were juxtaposed against the group’s most angelic four-part harmonies to date. The organs of Alice Sandahl and the drumming of Marian Li Pino were granted extra heft and dimension. Thematically, Cleveland channeled Washingtonian poet Richard Brautigan on “You Disappear” and “Oranges,” and sought inspiration from Charles Burns’ Seattle-set graphic novel Black Hole.

The resulting album is a natural evolution of the band’s self-styled “surf noir” sound—a rawer, turbo-charged sequel that charts themes of loneliness, infatuation, obsession and death across eleven tracks, from the opening credits siren song of “Sleep Till They Die” to the widescreen, receding-skyline send-off of “Oranges” and its bittersweet epilogue, “True Love Knows.”

In describing Weirdo Shrine, Segall remarked that it gave him a vision of a “world…burning with colors [he’d] never seen, like mauve that is living.” In “Oranges,” the Brautigan poem which inspired the aforementioned track of the same name, the poet writes of a surreal “orange wind / that glows from your footsteps.” These hue-based allusions are apt: the sound of La Luz is (appropriately) vibrant, and alive with a kaleidoscopic passion. Weirdo Shrine finds them at their most saturated and cinematic. 

 

“La Luz is ready to take on the world.” – MTV Hive

“…a uniquely haunting – albeit occasionally unintentional – spin on the innocent guitar-driven pop of the late ’50s and early ’60s, nudging the sock hop vibes of Dick Dale and the Shirelles into a darker parallel dimension.” – Paper Magazine

“Imagine all of the Shangri-La’s trying, precariously, to balance on top of Link Wray’s surfboard.” – Pitchfork

“One of those bands that hit the ground not running, but sprinting.” – Elle

Videos

On Tour

  • Tue, Aug 2
    Catalyst Club Atrium
    Santa Cruz, CA
  • Wed, Aug 3
    Reno, NV
  • Fri, Aug 5
    Pickathon
    Happy Valley, OR
    (w/ Protomartyr, Julia Holter, Ty Segall, more)
  • Sun, Aug 7
    Pickathon
    Happy Valley, OR
    (w/ Protomartyr, Julia Holter, Ty Segall, more)
  • Mon, Aug 8
    Seattle, WA
  • Tue, Aug 9
    Seattle, WA
  • Thu, Aug 11
    Eugene, OR
  • Fri, Aug 12
    Starlite Lounge
    Sacramento, CA
  • Sat, Aug 13
    The Ritz
    San Jose, CA
  • Sat, Aug 20
    Echo Park Rising
    Los Angeles,
  • Tue, Sep 6
    Lille, France
  • Thu, Sep 8
    Barcelona, Spain
  • Fri, Sep 9
    Fuzzville Festival
    Benidorm, Spain
  • Sat, Sep 10
    Aliatar
    Granada, Spain
  • Sun, Sep 11
    Case Independente
    Lisbon, Portugal
  • Tue, Sep 13
    Maus Habitos
    Porto, Portugal
  • Wed, Sep 14
    Dabadaba
    San Sebastian, Spain
  • Thu, Sep 15
    Les Pavillons Sauvages
    Toulouse, France
  • Fri, Sep 16
    Genève, Switzerland
  • Sat, Sep 17
    Zürich District, Switzerland
  • Mon, Sep 19
    Ex-Haus
    Trier, Germany
  • Tue, Sep 20
    Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Wed, Sep 21
    Het Bos
    Antwerp, Belgium
  • Thu, Sep 22
    Brighton, United Kingdom
  • Fri, Sep 23
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    (w/ Super Furry Animals, Demdike Stare, Dungen, Silver Apples, and more) Tickets
  • Sat, Sep 24
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sat, Oct 8
    Grinduro Festival
    Quincy, CA
    (Plumas Fairground)
  • Fri, Oct 14
    Joshua Tree, CA