Oh August… the sun is merciless, the nights enticing, and the diffuse melancholy of another summer passing (“NO, DON’T SAY THAT!”) wraps itself around all the fun you can wring out of the weeks before September. Sounds like perfect weather for La Luz, a Seattle quartet who mines a tasty vein of surf rock with girl-group harmonies. Their new single “Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine” is testimony to how much thoughtfulness they put into this so-called genre music. There’s no twangy solo, thundering drum fills, or references to the waves to distract from the purity of vision here. To be honest, “surf rock” is really a red herring on this track. Out of a lively backbeat, 60s organ tones, and ambient reverb, La Luz have wrought a minimalist indie-rock twang that brings to mind the earliest Pixies (think “Caribou”) or the most recent line-up of Chain and the Gang.
La Luz reaches for the garage-rock brass ring on their new album, Weirdo Shrine, produced and engineered by none other than young legend Ty Segall. Frontwoman Shana Cleveland is a fearsome shredder, as you hear on tracks like “You Disappear.” The band has just begun a world tour to last well through the Indian summer. Meanwhile, there’s only three more weeks of August in which to make Weirdo Shrine your daily soundtrack, so hop to it.
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.