Posts Tagged ‘Floating Features’

La Luz is a band in Seattle, WA, started in the summer of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard) and Lena Simon (bass). Everyone sings. Songs by Shana and La Luz.

La Luz just might be the greatest rock band in the world. It’s OK if you didn’t know. Since achieving instant hype on the strength of their pretty garage pop songs and haunted girl group vocals floating around guitarist Shana Cleveland’s glow-in-the-dark surf guitar lines, La Luz’s music has possessed an effortless ear candy quality that makes it easy to overlook—if not outright dismiss. But La Luz have always been stealth rock-‘n’-rollers with a taste for the raw; their discography reveals a band gradually ramping up the intensity of their sound while cloaking its creeping menace in soft clouds of four-part harmonies that soothe.

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With the epic Floating Features, La Luz’s slow burn reaches a boiling point, leaving no doubt that the quartet—Cleveland, bassist Lena Simon, organist Alice Sandahl, and drummer Marian Li-Pino—are among the most imaginative, dynamic rock bands currently active. Always technically impeccable, Floating Features is a showcase for the band’s deeply empathetic musical chemistry, embodied in moments of impassioned musicianship delivered with all of the confidence and none of the cockiness commonly associated with rock star moments. And there are a few of them here. Floating Features is a record rife with moments that thrill, from Cleveland’s fearless, heartbreaking guitar solos, her most powerful passages often preceded by howls emanating from somewhere just deep within the sound, to the angelic, enveloping atmospherics of “Mean Dream,” to stunning centerpiece “California Finally,” a song so rhythmically complex it seems to follow its own dream logic; the chorus of “I do what I want” tumbles into echolalia as Cleveland plays catch-up with Li-Pino’s off-kilter beats. A record of luminous beauty and subtle majesty, Floating Featuresis a portrait of a rock band playing at the peak of their powers, La Luz’s very own Houses of the Holy remade in their own heavenly image.

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A Seattle by way of Los Angeles four-piece who drag the sounds of 60s girl bands and classic surf rock into a sun-kissed Californian present. Exuding effortless cool, La Luz take the lazy, endless summer mood of Los Angeles at sunset, and essay on it through driving rhythms, honeycombed vocal harmonies, and breezy surf and garage rock guitar figures straight out of the Takeshi Terauchi playbook. On Floating Features, the four-piece write rich, vivid, and impressionistic studies of life viewed through the surreal, hallucinogenic haze of the city of angels, earning their spot in the Californian sun. La Luz hasn’t made one single weak song- everything they do rips. This new album just continues their unbeaten streak.

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With comparisons to Mild High Club, The Shangri-Las, Dum Dum Girls La Luz started in the summer of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard) and Lena Simon (bass).

La Luz

Ever since they first appeared in 2012 with their lush combination of moody surf guitar and luminous girl group harmonies, La Luz have pushed the expressive possibilities of surf into ever more adventurous realms, with songwriting and arrangements that have grown increasingly sophisticated over time. The band’s latest LP, Floating Features, is the most fully-realized version of their sound to date, a record of complex, cerebral rock songs that feel as light and effortless as pop.

Floating Features was recorded in Nashville, and it marked the first time the group had been able to “take full advantage of all the bells and whistles and the toys that were just kind of laying around the studio,” remembers Simon, the group’s resident gearhead. “Harpsichord, orchestra chimes, marimba, all the different pedals. A Leslie speaker, too. We ran different organs through the Leslie with various effects.”

Like the rest of the band’s discography, Floating Features is a record that hinges upon La Luz’s preternatural talent for writing songs that balance the menacing edge of instrumental surf with sunny harmonies, a mix that’s defined the band from the beginning.

presents La Luz performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded March 9th, 2013

Songs:
Big Big Blood
Call Me In The Day
It’s Alive
Sure As Spring

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Dreams are an essential element of Floating Features, which achieves a far more lush, glowing production than La Luz’s previous records, 2015’s Weirdo Shine and 2013’s It’s Alive. “Mean Dream” is breezy indie rock with vivid and bizarre imagery, while “Lonely Dozer” is a spaghetti western-stomper featuring a wayward protagonist who is “alone inside at night.” Shana Cleveland makes impressive use of surrealism in lyrics for songs like “The Creature,” a grim and gorgeous ballad, and “Greed Machine,” which playfully casts the idea of being broke (the eternal musician struggle) as a classic movie villain, constantly lurking around the corner to get you. “Oh no, not again!” Cleveland sighs. “Just when you thought you’d got ahead/ It always finds you where you live.”

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Los 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 commuters’ attention.

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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.

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.

“California Finally” is the second single from La Luz’s Floating Features, out May 11th, 2018 on LP,

Band Members
Shana Cleveland – guitar
Marian Li Pino – drums
Alice Sandahl – keyboard
Lena Simon – bass