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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2018 | Hardly Art

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 7, 2015 | Hardly Art

La Luz are clearly not afraid to mix things up, taking the reverb-soaked guitars of vintage surf rock, the harmonies of '60s girl group pop, and the simple, revved-up melodies of first-generation garage rock and twisting them together into a sound that miraculously stays true to its influences without sounding like the musicians are struggling to live in the past. La Luz aren't trading in irony or misplaced nostalgia on their second long-player, 2015's Weirdo Shrine -- they've simply appropriated bits and pieces of rock & roll's past the way a kid might build a hot rod out of scattered parts found at a junkyard, and like that hot rod the band has created something that runs like a top and has a personality and swagger all its own regardless of how it was put together. While producer and engineer Ty Segall might have been expected to add some of his own speaker-blowing psychedelia to La Luz's formula on Weirdo Shrine, he's clearly put his own ego on the back burner at the service of the band's own approach, and he's given Weirdo Shrine a sound that's tight and uncluttered but also captures the energy and space of a live performance. The interplay between guitarist and lead vocalist Shana Cleveland, bassist Lena Simon, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and drummer Marian Li Pino is excellent, just loose enough to suit the often languid mood of the surf-influenced tunes but tight enough to deliver when the band cranks up the amps and makes with the rock. And if the vocals are further back in the mix on Weirdo Shrine than they were on 2013's It's Alive (which was already a bit murky), making it hard to tell just what Cleveland is here to tell us, the harmonies are executed with skill, and the overall vibe is smart without forcing any particular issue. Weirdo Shrine shows La Luz are more than living up to the promise of their early work, and that they're still one of the most interesting and entertaining acts on the Pacific Northwest scene in 2015. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 15, 2021 | Hardly Art

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 21, 2013 | Hardly Art

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Rock - To be released October 22, 2021 | Hardly Art

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2018 | Hardly Art

La Luz had their formula firmly in place on their debut album, 2013's It's Alive, and they're a group who've managed to grow and mature without major changes to their aural signature. Their fusion of vintage surf sounds, garage rock, and smart indie pop sounded clever and well-crafted right out of the box, and there's been a certain sense of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" in their subsequent recordings. That said, their third full-length, 2018's Floating Features, is a step forward from their first two albums, if not an especially dramatic one. Musically, La Luz sound tighter and more emphatic here, with the performances boasting a bit more muscle, Alice Sandahl's vintage keyboards taking more chances, and the harmonies revealing more sparkle. Guitarist and songwriter Shana Cleveland has always believed that surf music doesn't have to be silly or facile, and her lyrics on Floating Features are intelligent and thoughtful, pondering an unmoored existence in "Cicada," dabbling in West Coast folk-rock tropes on "Mean Dream," and fearing global mortality in "Don't Leave Me Here on the Earth." And Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys produced the sessions for Floating Features, and while his touch is unobtrusive, he does get a more polished and full-bodied sound out of La Luz. Cleveland's guitar cuts deeper on these performances, Marian Li-Pino's drums have more depth, and there's a sense of detail that flatters the performances. If you liked La Luz before, there's nothing on Floating Features that's likely to change that, but their craft has gotten stronger and the improved audio helps to make that clear. This album is smart fun from a band that actually makes something fresh out of the sounds of the past, and as long as La Luz keep doing that, they'll be worth hearing. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 21, 2021 | Hardly Art

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Rock - Released August 25, 2021 | Hardly Art

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 13, 2013 | Hardly Art

Pop - Released April 16, 2021 | Numero Group

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 16, 2013 | Suicide Squeeze Records

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Rock - Released September 9, 2021 | Hardly Art

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Rock - Released August 3, 2021 | Hardly Art

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 1, 2015 | Hardly Art

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2015 | Sub Pop Records

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