Exciting New Jam from La Sera

Sure, I’m a day late on this little jam, but I just couldn’t help myself. It’s hard enough to dislike La Sera and Katy Goodman for her striking beauty, but when she’s rocking such incredible jams as this one, the world is her oyster.  Her newest album, Sees the Light, comes out on March 24th on the most excellent Hardly Art, and it’s shaping up to be quite a delight for all parties involved.  This jam is brief, poppy, and Goodman sounds as confident as ever–as she should be with tracks like this at her disposal. If you haven’t heard this yet, get to it!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/La_Sera_-_Break_My_Heart.mp3]

Download:La Sera – Break My Heart [MP3]

New Tunes from La Sera

Within minutes of receiving this email, this track blew up all over the Internet; everyone is posting it.  This is a testament to the excitement surrounding the new release from La Sera, which will be hitting the streets on March 24th via the good people over at Hardly Art.  I really like the juxtaposition of vocals and music on this track; it’s got this Misfits/Spits guitar riff pushing you on through, but we all know Katy Goodman’s vocals come with that girl-pop sugar–we all know we can’t live without it.  It’s a nice little twist to what’s become a moderately watered down genre, so my hopes are high for this record, Sees the Light.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/LaSera_PleaseBeMyThirdEye.mp3]

Download: La Sera – Please Be My Third Eye [MP3]

New Track from Frankie Rose

Several years ago, the Vivian Girls re-introduced us to our love of girl-pop, and since that time, numerous acts have been spawned or seen on the side.  Perhaps none has caught my ear as much as Frankie Rose, who pretty much gets tied into the lot of featured girl-groups.  She’s got a new record coming out on Slumberland Records on February 21 (a single comes out on the 17th of January) titled Interstellar.  From this first track, there’s a huge wall of sound surrounding her dreamy vocals, which come off cool and casual.  Definitely sounds like Frankie could have another hit on her hands here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/02_Know_Me.mp3]

Download: Frankie Rose – Know Me [MP3]

New Girl Pop Number from Coasting

Man, as soon as I got this email, it seemed like Coasting was all over the web, and why shouldn’t it be?  It’s the new project from Fiona, the drummer from the Vivian Girls, and it’s pretty tasty.  The group has their new album, You’re Never Going Back, coming out on November 15th via M’Lady Records; and based on the record sampler we were sent, it’s going to be a solid effort.  Personally, the production’s a lot cleaner, yet it still has that bubbling garage-pop sensibility.  Hopefully they can sustain catchy goodness for an entire record, and a good career to boot.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/04-Portland.mp3]

Vivian Girls – Share the Joy

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Despite various member changes since their origin in 2007, Vivian Girls seem to know exactly who they are and what they aim to do on this album. Their simple and fun songs rely on catchiness, zest and pure lightheartedness. However, with all this focus on fluff, does Share the Joy just become a write off, or did Vivian Girls manage to do the difficult task of stuffing sunshine into a bottle?

Let me first say that this is definitely an album that grows on you. While the stark and flat vocals of Cassie Ramone can be a little difficult to listen to at first, tough through it; as the rewards near the end of the album are great; not to say that the beginning is bad, it is just a bit of much needed introduction for those who are not already in love with this band. These ladies open with “The Other Girls,” a rather long first track that begins with a little furious guitar, but for the rest of the song, the band develops a very chill mood. The muted and far away drums combining with the jangly guitars continue on their second number and single “Heard You Say.” On this number, background vocals are utilized to their full effect: the “oohhss and aahhss” dominate, but leave room for some lovely guitar riffs.

At this point, Vivian Girls have given you a good taste of their hazy pop sound, accompanied by the clichéd woe-is-me girly lyrics, but you’re still waiting for those knockout numbers. About halfway through Share the Joy, “Sixteen Ways,” fills this desire. The heavy guitar and drums allow Ramone to sink down a little in her vocals, and the deepness of the song in general lets it become one of my favorites; you can’t help but love that simple strumming and harmonization. Following this song, “Take It As It Comes,” is some girl to girl advice that could fit seamlessly in with something from the sixties. Akin to something from the past, you can practically see these three ladies waving their fingers, sassily urging to “think with your head” instead of your heart. “Light in Your Eyes” then finishes off the album with more of the group effort vocally, both harmonically and through the trade off of the lead voice. Much like the album itself, this end track begins softly, but by the end, Vivian Girls have won you over.

While this is a very fun album, it doesn’t come off as oversimplified. With summer just around the corner, most of these songs should be able to find a home blaring out your car windows, the hot sun serving as the icing on the cake to this bubbly work, or vice versa.

La Sera – s/t

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Known for her bass playing in pop punk super star band Vivian Girls, Katy Goodman has been looking for side projects since spring of last year. She tried her ways under the moniker of All Saints Day, and even released a seven inch. However, it apparently didn’t stick, and Ms. Goodman moved onto her latest project. Enter: La Sera.

 Like Vivian Girls, La Sera has those cutting guitars and the presence of Goodman’s wispy vocals. However, while her voice takes a backseat on her full time band, it is the main element of distinction to this album. On “Beating Heart,” the opening song, her voice is layered upon itself to create echoed sugared oohs in the background. The clear guitar contrasts with this vocal quality, and builds up to the breaking point of the song. This is when the clarity of the guitar shifts muddier, wrapping up the bubbly lo-fi track before its close. Next is “Never Come Around,” one of the singles from the album. Some tambourine spices things up right off the bat, mixing effortlessly with sunny vocals and thus the airy yet viscous song—the norm for this album.

I think what makes this album decent is that Goodman knows her limitations; most of the songs barely reach two minutes, which sharpens the difference in between them, so that the listener doesn’t get caught up in the thick and sticky jangly songs that this album is chalked full of. In this way, the album is able to have those crests and troughs, all while staying close to that happy medium. It doesn’t become too complex for its own good and frankly none of the songs are what I would call bad or boring.

While its shortness is what makes La Sera, it also seems to be what breaks it. When reaching the end of this quick burst of energy album, it’s fairly easy to forget the latter part. The simplicity of the whole thing turns on itself, and suddenly it’s over, and you haven’t really been taken anywhere: like running on a treadmill. Slight fluctuations were present, the songs varied, but there was never that pop punk power punch that knocked your socks off and left you satisfied.

All in all, it’s still a pretty good way to spend thirty minutes of your life. Goodman hypnotizes you with her serene pop/lo-fi tunes, as any good jangly guitar album should.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/LS_DevilsHeartsGrowGold.mp3]

Download: La Sera – Devil’s Hearts Grow Gold [MP3]

New Track from Vivian Girls

Haven’t had enough girl-group fun yet this year?  Well, Vivian Girls aim to bring it back, but this time they definitely seem to have a bit of variation on their sound.  “I Heard You Say” sounds much cleaner, which really lets the melody break through, rather than being muddied by a bit too much distortion.  And the chorus (breakdown?) has one of the best hooks I’ve heard from these girls, even if it only spans about 12 seconds of the track.  You can find this track, as well as nine other new tunes on the new record, Share the Joy, which will be coming out on April 12th via the band’s new label Polyvinyl Records.  Dig it folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/02-Vivian-Girls-I-Heard-You-Say.mp3]

Download: Vivian Girls – I Heard You Say [MP3]

New Music from La Sera

Katy Goodman can typically be identified by her participation with Vivian Girls, but let’s not let her rest on those laurels.  She also works diligently on various projects, one of which is La Sera.  Prior to the release of her self-titled album, which comes out in February on Hardly Art, Katy’s putting out another single, as a follow-up to last year’s. The effortlessness that seems to accompany the melodies in her songs really makes me wish she had more of a hand in writing VG tracks, as everything here feels more spontaneous, and less mapped out, sonically.  If you haven’t gotten into La Sera yet, now is your chance folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/LS_DevilsHeartsGrowGold.mp3]

Download: La Sera – Devil’s Hearts Grow Gold [MP3]

New Music from The Babies

Last April I brought you all news about the Vivian Girls/Woods side-project, The Babies, and at that point in time, it was rumored to be sort of a one off, kind of just a fun release amongst friends.  But, as these things inevitably go, the group had so much fun writing together that they continued to pump out tracks, leaving us with the upcoming album, The Babies, on February 8th of next year. It’s going to be sort of a combination between bedroom pop and lo-fi grittiness, and in our minds, that sounds exactly like this new single, leading us to believe this could be one hell of a good time in 2011.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/thebabiesrunmeover.mp3]

Download: The Babies – Run Me Over [MP3]

New Music From La Sera

I think it’s time we all jump aboard that hype machine train with this relatively new Hardly Art band La Sera.  The project is the brain child of current Vivian Girls bass player Katy Goodman who began working on new material under the La Sera name back in February.  For now, the only material from the lovely ladies new band is a 7″ single featuring the track below “Never Come Around” and flip side “Behind Your Eyes”.  Street date for that single is November 17th with a full album coming in 2011.  You’ll notice a sound similar to Best Coast combined with some of the sweet bass/drum beats created by Vivian Girls (duh she’s the bass player).

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/tn.jsp_.mp3]

Download: La Sera – Never Come Around [MP3]

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