La Luz in Leeds
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Friday 22nd April 2022, £12.00
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Proving that depth and fun don't need to be mutually exclusive, La Luz are an all-female quartet who fuse the harmonies of doo wop and girl group pop with the splashy guitars of surf music, the low-budget keyboards of '60s garage rock, and the simple but snappy rhythms of first-era rock & roll with lyrics that speak from the heart and the soul. The Seattle-based quartet won critical acclaim for its 2013 debut album, It's Alive, and the group has been recording and touring at a steady pace ever since.
La Luz were formed in the summer of 2012 by guitarist and singer Shana Cleveland, who had previously recorded with the Curious Mystery and Shana Cleveland & the Sandcastles. Looking for a simple, upbeat, but forceful sound, Cleveland joined forces with Alice Sandahl on keys, Abbey Blackwell on bass, and Marian Li-Pino (another former member of the Curious Mystery) on drums, with all four sharing vocals.
Adopting the name La Luz (Spanish for "the light"), the new group wasted no time getting into the studio (in this case, a makeshift recording setup in a trailer), releasing a four-song EP, Damp Face, before the year was out. In 2013, La Luz dropped 7" singles on two ?ber-hip indie labels, Suicide Squeeze and Mississippi Records, and soon the Sub Pop-distributed Hardly Art label came calling, reissuing the Damp Face EP and in October 2013 issuing their first full-length album, It's Alive.
La Luz soon hit the road to promote the album, and in November 2013, they were returning home from a gig when their van skidded on a patch of black ice, swerved, and was struck by a truck. The accident destroyed La Luz's van and much of their gear, and left the musicians with minor injuries; a tour with Of Montreal had to be canceled, and bassist Blackwell left the band, but by March 2014, La Luz recruited a new bassist, Lena Simon, and went back on the road. In early 2015, La Luz started work on their second album, recording in a surfboard shop in San Dimas, California, with Ty Segall serving as producer and engineer. The finished product, titled Weirdo Shrine, was released by Hardly Art on August 7, 2015, and the group headed out on an international concert tour in support. La Luz traveled to California to record their third full-length album, 2018's Floating Features. Produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, the LP was their most polished and ambitious work to date.
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