After news of the finality of Vivian Girls, it would only make sense that Katy Goodman and her project, La Sera, would get more of a focus. She leaked news via a Youtube clip earlier in the week, and now we get our first full listen to one of the tracks. It’s definitely a more rock n’ roll approach, which fits with Goodman’s known adoration of classic West Coast punk like Black Flag and the Wipers. After hearing this track, we’re completely giddy in anticpation of her new record, Hour of the Dawn. It’ll see a release of May 13th via the good folks at Hardly Art.
In 2011, Katy Goodman stepped away from the Vivian Girls and made her first record under this new moniker. That album was the essence of a dream, with echoes upon echoes of vocals layered on ethereal pop instrumental in the background. A lot must have changed since then; relationships broken, new attitudes adopted, and an overall new sound for La Sera on Sees the Light, a sound which goes in a bold, good, direction.
From the very start of the album you can pick up on the new changes for the band. If it’s any indication of a change, the first track on the self titled release of last year was “Beating Heart,” whereas Sees the Light begins with “Love That’s Gone,” and we have the new, bitter and resolved Katy Goodman. Instantly you can hear this change in the music: the dreamy washes of echo on the vocals are gone, the drums are more centralized, giving a real and solid feel to the song. It’s as if the honeymoon period of dreams is over and what’s left is a woman scorned, trying to move away from the gay melodies of yesterday.
After the first song gets things going on Sees the Light, the second song, “Please Be My Third Eye,” takes it up a notch, increasing the pace and the level of intensity; the drums are always pushing, the guitars are guttural, and Goodman commands the song, pushing it around to show her strength. This strength continues on through the next few songs, and then enters into a more reserved state on “It’s Over Now,” which is the first real breakdown on the album. The placement of this slower, more morose song this far along into the progression of tracks helps to convey some emotion that is perhaps lost on the faster songs; Goodman doesn’t ignore the pain completely, she just channels it in different ways.
Essentially, it’s a break-up album, but whereas most of those tend to linger on the whiny, sorrow-filled, my heart was broken-listen-to-me cry-about-it, songs, La Sera focuses on channeling this sorrow into faster paced, bolder, and overall stronger pop tunes. It’s not a step to weakness, but rather a step away from it, and a focus on the strength that has always lied behind those spunky, girlish vocals. The emergence of this lingering power is what separate Sees the Light from the previous album and allows it to stand as a cohesive album as opposed to a series of cute songs strung together.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/La_Sera_-_Break_My_Heart.mp3]
Download: La Sera – Break My Heart [MP3]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]