Surf-rock band La Luz is a sepia-filtered road trip down Hwy 101 in the dead of summer. The group mashes together doo-wop, angst and dance jams with an added sprinkle of vocals thick as winter fog. From their Seattle roots to a newfound home in Los Angeles, La Luz creates a balanced stew of purely West Coast sounds.
Shana Cleveland (guitar, vocals) and Alice Sandahl (keyboard, vocals) meld together haunting melodies with their cooing voices and wailing, classically ’60s keyboard. Lena Simon (bass, vocals) and Marian Li Pino (drums) bring a contagiously danceable tempo for a balanced concoction of sulky yet playful vibes.
“The darkness is part of what I consider to be empathy or compassion,” Cleveland says about the band’s saturated sound. “To ignore the struggle is to be uncompassionate.”
She explains that La Luz brings empathy to every show; it’s an experience you can dance to, but also something real. “If I hear music that’s only celebrating the good times, like party music,” Cleveland says, “it doesn’t touch me. It doesn’t feel true to life.”
Last year, La Luz took their lovably dreary Seattle sound to Los Angeles, where they are polishing their West Coast vibe — and getting more sun, Cleveland notes. “Seattle had, ya know, the ’90s,” she laughs. “It’s the perfect place to start a band. Los Angeles feels like home.”
This sentiment will be reflected in the band’s fourth and upcoming album (details yet to be disclosed), along with a more finely tuned vintage sound. “It feels like us,” Cleveland says, “not the idea of what we would be when we first started.
La Luz along plays with Savila and VCR 9:30 pm Tuesday, July 4, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $18 door.