Levitation has made all of our days here in Austin with the announcement of the first wave of artists for the 2019 edition of the spectacular festival. We’re no strangers to the festival, as it’s become one of our favorite excuses to run around town seeing incredible bands, both local and national. Now a fall festival (Nov 7-10), we’ll be treated to the likes of Angel Olsen, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Holy Wave, Death Valley Girls, Allah Las, Chelsea Wolfe, Dinosaur Jr., Devendra Banhart, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and so many more. Tickets for individual shows and four day passes are on sale now. I suggest you go scoop some tickets now as this ‘first wave’ announcement is enough to warrant a four day already–get hyped for the fall with their official Spotify playlist below!
I say this with little to no sarcasm—there hasn’t been an influx of retro American rock these days—I mean there’s a plethora of garage and surf rock, but not much of what helped inspire this genre. So when it comes to bands like Allah Las, I’m a little soft, but granted, there’s something infectious about their sound, as if it’s a straight blast from the past; akin to that perfect vintage collectable you find tucked away in some mom and pop store. Though old fashioned in style, Worship The Sun has just enough jangle to keep up with today’s genres.
“De Vida Voz” begins as a subtle and soft introduction to the album, with plenty of gang vocals and jingle-jangle to float anyone’s boat, though the very opening part allude to a deeper, rockier side to the band and album that will be revealed later. The whole number sounds like a glazed over desert rock tune—the guitars play off each other in a campy mix, while the gang vocals blend together with the guitars in a nasal ethereal kind of vibe. It’s the perfect kind of song that you want as its still somehow stiflingly hot in the last (who am I kidding, this is Texas) September slump of the summer.
There are quite a few tracks to listen to on this album, so if you aren’t careful, you just might miss some of the good ones. In the third position, “Artifact” is a hauntingly western rock song, which creeps along for longer than most of the tracks here, and oddly enough it has the kind of build that most of the other songs don’t lead up to. You get Miles Michaud on lead vocals through a thick glaze of reverb and fuzz, while the music forms a kind of storytelling mode. Though it comes across as a story in the instrumentation, Michaud’s vocals have a different idea and you can hear the build within it as he circles round for the last time, singing, “it goes on and on and on…” You get the feeling like this song, or style of song, though done well by the group, has been around for a while.
While the overall style on Worship The Sun is really worth your time, the album feels a bit like it could have used some revision. There isn’t a track that’s bad per-se, but a little more precision in the tracks selected, or variation, would have given this record the appeal it lacks when you reach its end and the tracks have all blurred together in one American rock haze.
One of the things I love about listening to Allah-Las is that you get the real sense that you’re listening to music in California. While their songs have hints of the modern psychedelia, they carry with them these sun-drenched guitar tones. I guess that’s an easy comparison considering they’ve titled the new LP, Worship the Sun, but those hues of Cali make a great impression on listeners. That being said, the new album has a lot of progression in it’s songwriting; the songs are tighter and there’s a greater variance from song to song. You can grab the LP on September 16th from Innovative Leisure.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/07-07-Buffalo-Nickel.mp3]
I was in love with the first release from Allah-Las; it combined elements of California sun with psychedelic shades, all the while holding on to some solid hooks. It looks like the band is about to take a very similar approach, though this newest tune seems to move further into the past, musically. There’s some swagger remaining, but this song displays more of a devotion to the delivery of the vocals, which serve as the song’s key focus. You can grab this on the band’s upcoming 7″, and it’s also likely to appear on their Worship the Sun LP, which is slated for a fall release.
Man. The festivals and large events in this town never cease, and while I appreciate that, I’m a bit sick and tired of it all. Are you in the same boat? Perhaps you want to carefully venture downtown and catch some live music? You’re lucky, as the local bands are bringing you some great line-ups all over the map this weekend. Here’s a quick look at where you can go. Read more
So close! Yet we’re so far away. Okay, not really…SXSW is officially upon us, and shows are sprouting up all over the place. Personally, I’m freaking out. So many incredible bands that I want to see for the first time, and so many more that I would gladly see a hundred times over. Here’s a list of a few acts that I haven’t actually caught yet, so I’ll be seeing them for the first time…SXSW is the first time to lose your band cherry. Read more
I’ve really been wrapped up in the Allah-Las since I first stumbled upon their early 7″. The group seems to encompass everything about the musical history of California, harkening back to the state’s glory days, which may or may not leave the band with some detractors. Their self-titled debut lives up to my expectations, though it does seem to get stuck in one place for a bit too long.
If you run straight through the first several tracks, you’re going to get the exact feeling of this debut by Allah-Las. “Catamaran” opens with a wayward psychedelic jangle, employing gang lyrics to provide an extra bit of emphasis. It includes a chorus of “I want to hold your hand/I want to be your man,” which seems to epitomize everything my father taught me about falling in love with the 60s. “Don’t You Forget It” has a bit more of an angular guitar line, but it still seems to have that Eastern guitar sound popularized during the hey-day of Haight Ashbury. Don’t take this to mean that there’s nothing ultimately pleasurable in traversing the annals of history, as the group makes it their own, especially when the guitar brightly dances off on its own.
For me, the standout track comes after the group takes an instrumental break with “Sacred Sands.” “Sandy” is perhaps one of the best songs the group’s put together. There’s an effect on the gang-vocal section that creates more intimacy with the listener, which isn’t always present on the rest of the lyrical development throughout Allah-Las; it’s almost as if they’re all whispering in your ear. Throw this in with “Catalina” and you can clearly see that re-hashing isn’t the sole purpose of this record. The group’s inspired by their home state, as the latter song indicates. It’s percussion perfectly fits with the mood of the record, matched evenly with the swirling guitar work and the fluid vocal approach. It all leads up to album’s last track, “Long Journey,” the song that I think most closely resembles my expectations and fascinations with the group. At its heart, you can almost feel some acid-induced boogie, but here they slow it down to the most mellow tempo their style allows, giving the song and listener room to breathe.
For what it’s worth, I went out and bought this album. I’m obsessed with the Allah-Las; I think no one out there has completely captured the sound of the California psych-garage scene quite like these guys. But, that being said, their self-titled debut does lack a little bit of pace or a little bit of mixing things up. A few instrumental tracks here and there do give you a chance to calm yourself, and that’s great, but perhaps a fast-paced jangler or a long-drawn out smoke-shop ballad would have made this record something out of the park. Do yourself a favor though, and sit down with this record. Absorb it, appreciate it, and you’ll definitely look highly upon this effort.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Allah-Las-Dont-You-Forget-It.mp3]
Download:Allah-Las – Don’t You Forget It [MP3]
A bit ago I brought you a sweet gem from Allah Las, a California group with an homage to the classic psychedelia of their home state. Well, lucky for you, the group is nearing the release of their self-titled album, which comes out on September 18 via Innovative Leisure. Again, the group is tossing back their sound, and that guitar sounds so incredible coming through the speakers. I can’t really see a lot of modern bands giving the sound this kind of classicism, which proves to me that this group really has something special going on in their tunes. It’s not a rehash; it’s a re-imagining and it sounds great.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Allah-Las-Dont-You-Forget-It.mp3]
Download: Allah-Las – Don’t You Forget It [MP3]
Sure, Psych Fest just ended here in Austin, but I’m already trying to organize next year’s artists for the festival. I’ve decided the first band they should pencil in is the Allah-Las, a hot group out of California. After spending my weekend with music that blended together, I think there’s some distinction in the blend this band is playing, offering a cleaner spin on the genre. Their second single, Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind) is something you’ll want to try and order from the group; I want you to take a nice little listen to the lead track from said single before you get your wallet out.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/01-Tell-Me-Whats-On-Your-Mind.mp3]
Download:Allah-Las – Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind) [MP3]