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Floating FeaturesLos Angeles has often been described as a "dream factory"--both a mecca where dreamers
converge to pursue long-held aspirations, and a topography of hallucinogenic contradictions:
enchanting tangerine sunsets diffused by smog, crystal-clutching spiritualists mingling with
deep-pocketed narcissists, rows of scenic palms competing with garish billboards for
It was against this backdrop that the four members of La Luz--singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland,
drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and bassist Lena Simon--conceived
of Floating Features, the band's third studio album. For this, their most ambitious release yet,
La Luz consulted landscapes both physical and psychological.
References to dreams abound on Floating Features. "Loose Teeth" catalyzes nightmare fuel
into a propulsive, intentionally-disorienting collision of honeyed harmonies and Takeshi
Terauchi-esque jetstreams of distorted surf guitar. "Mean Dream" unsurprisingly mines dreamstate
imagery, and the lyrics and melody for "Walking Into the Sun" actually came to Cleveland
during a particularly-vivid night of deep sleep. Looming over the album's coterie of surreal
figures (gargantuan cicadas, a monstrous "Creature," The Sun King, aliens, the titular "Lonely
Dozer") is the magnificent "Greed Machine," a skulking, insatiable engine of consumption-Nathanael
West's "business of dreams" fearsomely manifested.
Only La Luz could conjure up Floating Features' Leone-on-LSD vibes, and the album finds the
L.A. band at the height of their powers--golden rebels in a golden dream.1. Floating Features
3. Loose Teeth
4. Mean Dream
5. California Finally
6. The Creature
7. Golden One
8. Lonely Dozer
9. Greed Machine
10. Walking Into the Sun
11. Don't Leave Me On the Earth$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
It's AliveSeattle's La Luz recorded their debut EP, Damp Face, in a small trailer on a hot August day. But barring the inevitable "no-AC-in-the-van" summer tour calamity, La Luz runs cool. Their brand of coolness isn't about distance or affect; it's a mood, and-sue me, but I'm about to totally rip off Zelda Fitzgerald: Something about this music vibrates to the dusky, dreamy smell of dying moons and shadows. So yeah, that kind of cool.
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. Like a proper punk band-which they are not- they give you shit for not dancing. 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.
But as any half-assed Freudian will tell you, there can be no meaningful connection without first weathering some dark and lonely times. Here comes the chilly part: What makes La Luz stand out-and stand out fast-the band has only been playing together for a year and people took notice almost immediately-is that this is a band that embodies that most elusive slant on the human condition: longing, and the fleeting relief that tags alongside deep desire.
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 much-anticipated 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. On "What Good Am I?", the lead vocals, and the swirl of harmonies that surround it, recall the Spartan haze of Mazzy Star's misty-eyed super hit. Smack in the middle is the title track. "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.
Imagine all of the Shangri-La's trying, precariously, to balance on top of Link Wray's surfboard.
The kind of sweet surf rock with a touch of melancholy that should be the soundtrack to the slow-dancing-at-prom scene in every teen movie.
-- The Stranger1. Sure As Spring
2. All the Time
3. Morning High
4. What Good Am I?
6. It's Alive
7. Big Big Blood
8. Call Me in the Day
9. Pink Slime
10. Phantom Feelings
11. You Can Never Know$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Oh Man, Cover the GroundLimited Edition Of 1,000 Copies
Pressed On Custom Lake Blue Vinyl
Shana Cleveland is a rare artist who seems dismissive of time. Shes been performing with
a rotating batch of musicians tagged as The Sandcastles for years, and yet Oh Man,
Cover The Ground is their first proper album. It would be easy to chalk up the delay
behind the debut to a slacker lifestyle-Oh Man, Cover The Grounds laid-back vibe
certainly suggests an extremely casual approach to songcraft. But Cleveland is no slacker.
In the years since she first started playing out under her own name, shes helmed a
number of other music projects; most notably her revered Girls In The Garage-inspired
band La Luz. In her downtime, shes crafted a set of 37 trading cards dedicated to
obscure acoustic guitarists and a calendar of drawings depicting rock bands of
yesteryear. The glacial pace of Oh Man, Cover The Grounds development has little to do
with work ethic and everything to do with doing things in a way that feels right. "I don't
really think of it as a proper band," says Cleveland. "The line-up has been different for
almost every show depending on which arrangements I thought would be best for the
atmosphere. Some shows I played alone; some with bass, clarinet, and backing vocals;
some with the addition of drums, cello and piano. We've played shows really selectively
throughout the last few years-just sticking to shows that I thought sounded really
interesting. Like, I'd rather play these songs for people in their bedrooms or in a field at
night than on a three band bill at a bar." In an industry fixated on striking while the iron
is hot, getting an artist in front of as many people in as short of a time as possible,
Clevelands insistence on atmosphere over arbitrary numbers is a bold move.
Oh Man, Cover The Grounds softly-stated melodies and breezy air operates on its own
sense of time. Though the songs still settle comfortably into three-minute parcels, their
gestation bucked at the convention of pop musics stringent time format. "I'm really into
meandering, fingerpicked open-tuned acoustic guitar, like John Fahey and Robbie
Basho," says Cleveland. "I started playing guitar in that style during a year right before I
moved to Seattle when I was lonely and bummed out in the San Fernando Valley and
found solace in spending long afternoons fingerpicking slow moving improvisations." This
casualness is evident in the music-you can hear it in the airy ambience of album opener
"Butter & Eggs", the gentle piano and strings accompaniment on the title track, the
particularly Fahey-esque explorations of "Itching Around" and "SPATM". But even the
timeline of the albums development seems to defy the ephemeral haste that permeates so
much contemporary music. The bulk of Oh Man, Cover The Ground was recorded in
Shanas basement. "I wanted it to sound casual and kind of loose like my favorite folk
albums, so we didn't practice much before recording and a few of the musicians were
playing the songs for the first time."1. Butter & Eggs
2. Holy Rollers
3. Oh Man, Cover The Ground
4. Itching Around
5. Potato Chips
6. Golden Days
7. (death riff)
9. Rounding The Block
10. City To City
11. Sucking Stones
12. Quiet As Skin
13. Change In The Ocean$18.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Weirdo Shrine (Awaiting Repress)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.1. Sleep Till They Die
2. You Disappear
3. With Davey
4. Don't Wanna Be Anywhere
5. I Can't Speak
6. Hey Papi
7. I Wanna Be Alone (With You)
8. I'll Be True
9. Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine
11. True Love Knows$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Suicide Squeeze Records Presents:Forever Singles (Awaiting Repress)
Limited Edition Of 1,000 Copies
Pressed On Custom Light Green Vinyl
Like many of the great independent record labels of the '90s, Suicide Squeeze started
off as a hobby. And like so many other hobby labels, Suicide Squeeze's rst ventures
were 7 singles. But whereas many upstarts plodded through a series of crudely
assembled debut records by short-lived and long-forgotten friends' bands, the Seattle
label hit the ground running with a stream of well-packaged singles by beloved
Northwest artists - 764-Hero, Pedro The Lion, Elliott Smith, and Modest Mouse, to
name a few. Not surprisingly, the quality of these early releases helped catapult the
label into a full-time operation.
Whether a testament to the enduring allure of vinyl or the quality of the artists on the
roster, Suicide Squeeze continues to make 7s. And in this era of renewed interest in
vinyl, the label's limited-run releases sell out quickly. Lucky collectors continue to enjoy
the vinyl, and the dedicated fans always have the option to download the mp3s. But
what's the better plan for making these recordings endure for posterity? To add mp3s
to the ever-expanding annals of the internet, or to create a new slab of wax capturing
the best singles Suicide Squeeze has had to offer in recent years? Not content with
limiting the songs to the former, the Seattle indie label is going for the latter, culling
some of their nest tracks for the compilation album Suicide Squeeze Presents:
The LP captures the rowdy garage rock of The Coathangers and Davilla 666, the
scraggly dirt-ridden guitars of JEFF the Brotherhood and Heavy Cream, the nostalgic
'60s girl-group melodies of Bleached and La Luz, the exuberant power pop of
Audacity, King Tuff, Nobunny, and Meat Market, the hazy noir soundtrack of Dirty
Beaches, the vitriolic basement-show noise-punk of Nu Sensae, the sinister post-punk
of Wax Idols, and the West Texas-bred Twin Reverb rock of The Numerators. Bundled
together onto one record, the collection perfectly captures the spirit of Suicide
Squeeze in the current decade: rambunctious youthful urgency tempered with a hat
tip to rock n' roll's gritty unsung heroes of the past.
In keeping with the limited-edition nature of the 7s, Forever Singles will be released
on 1000 hand-numbered colored vinyl. And while the compilation is a vital
documentation of the Northwest label's continuing commitment to bold and brash new
artists, it's also a solid reminder of rock music's humble beginning on dusty old '45s.1. The Coathangers "Merry Go Round"
2. JEFF the Brotherhood "Heavy Days"
3. Bleached "Electric Chair"
4. Meat Market "Too Tired"
5. Heavy Cream "Toasted"
6. Dirty Beaches "Lone Runner"
7. NÜ Sensae "Throw"
8. Audacity "Finders Keepers"
9. La Luz "T.V. Dream"
10. Nobunny "La La La La Love You"
11. King Tuff "Wild Desire"
12. Numerators "Dead"
13. Wax Idols "Schadenfreude"
14. Davila 666 "No Crees Que Ya Cansa"$16.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Apague la Luz y EscucheThe album contains 16 acoustic songs written by Ricardo Arjona. While most of the industry at this moment is based on loud beats and fast rhythm Ricardo Arjona comes out with his most intimate album yet. The album contains 13 of his best-written songs throughout his 25-year career. Songs that where left behind for not being album singles but always remembered for being some of his greatest work. Two duets sung between Ricardo Arjona and Buena Fe titled "PARA BIEN O PARA MAL" and another with Carlos Varela titled "MI NOVIA SE ME ESTA PONIENDO VIEJA". Buena Fe and Carlos Varela, two of the most renowned singer songwriters in Latin America. The Album has 3 unpublished songs, "NADA ES COMO TU", "MALENA", and "SU MENESTER."
Ricardo Arjona has been one of the biggest names in music for more than two decades. Always standing out with his innovative ideas; from his uniquely complex song writing, to some of the most original stage designs displayed on his world tours. He has always been a truly original artist; selling more than 25 million albums worldwide and with more than 2 million people in attendance at his last world tour "Viaje Tour." Making "Viaje Tour" the 6th highest grossing tour Worldwide.1. Adiós Melancolía
2. Te Acuerdas de Mi (Carta No. 2)
3. Quesos, Cosas, Casas
4. Para Bien o Para Mal - Ricardo Arjona feat. Buena Fe
5. Lo Poco Que Queda de Mi
6. Nada Es Como Tú
7. Asignatura Pendiente
9. Su Menester
12. Caudillo$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Circo SoledadLess than a year after releasing the acoustic album Apague la Luz y Escuche, Ricardo Arjona is dropping a new album titled Circo Soledad,
Along with the release of the LP, the Guatemalan singer/songwriter will embark on a world tour, with which he'll return to Europe after eight years making stops in London, Paris and Barcelona.
Arjona recorded Circo Soledad in different countries, including England, Colombia and his native Guatemala. "I never recorded in a country pretending that that place would become the main character in the song. If this production took me to many countries, studios and allowed me to work with some of the most important musicians around the world, it was simply because the song needed it," Arjona said in a statement.1. Circo Soledad (Intro)
3. El Que Olvida
5. Remiendo Al Corazón
6. Porque Puedo
7. Hasta Que la Muerte Los Separe
9. Sixto PÉrez
10. El Cielo a Mi Favor
11. Dime Tú
13. No Preguntes Cómo Estoy
14. Circo Soledad$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Grey Colored Vinyl
Beach Day - the name's more about attitude than genre. It's about the ease and breeze of their modern wall of sound. Their tall, bright merge of garage rock, surf pop and girl group sounds is inspired by nostalgia but powered by fresh verve, sitting pretty alongside contemporaries like Cults, Tennis, La Luz, Those Darlins and Dum Dum Girls. And while their native Florida may be in a state of perma-vacation, Beach Day isn't. The band will release Native Echoes on Kanine Records, their second album in two years.1. All My Friends Were Punks
2. Don't Call Me on the Phone
4. I'm Just Messin' Around
5. Gnarly Waves
7. The Lucky One
8. Fades Away
9. Lost Girl
10. How Do You Sleep at Night$16.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now