La Luz – Tickets – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR – January 23rd, 2015

La Luz

Shimmering surf-rock meets doo-wop from the Emerald City

La Luz

Prom Queen, Is/Is

Friday, January 23, 2015

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00

This event is 21 and over

La Luz
La Luz
Seattle'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.
Prom Queen
Prom Queen
Prom Queen is a cinematic vintage pop band from Seattle that's been described as the soundtrack of a prom co-directed by Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. The sound is dark and moody and pans across surf to exotica to western to psychedelic rock. The band was named one of the "50 bands rocking Seattle" by Seattle Magazine and their second album "Midnight Veil" was recently released in October 2014 as a video-album, with 12 songs that each have 12 interconnected videos.
Is/Is
Is/Is
At times Is/Is can sound like a lost gem from the Creation hey-day, infusing their music with a sense of mystery and brooding atmosphere. Psychedelic and shoegaze influences emerge throughout the catalogue: the atmospheric tones of early Verve, a droning pulse reminiscent of Loop. Some songs bounce gleefully forward with a pop sensibility, while some keep a cool distance and move with a language distinctly their own. This is Is/Is’ strength: not simply a sum of their influences, but to put that ineffable “witchgaze” quality on their music.