We live in a period of human existence in which vibe is more decisive than quality — in which a zillion filters can be dumped on a photograph, a full album can be drenched in reverb or a vote can be cast on guts alone.
When it comes to music, don’t get me wrong — I’m in love with the watery beach-rock-garage-fuck revival of the mid-2010s — but as with any genre that reaches its zenith, separating the beasts from the poseurs can be tricky. This is an age of manufactured image: Who’s real and who’s Lana Del Rey? At a certain point, you’ve got to listen to more than just vibe to know you’ve come across something decent.
In this department, La Luz has my vote. Formed in Seattle in 2012, this four-piece surf group has the right tone, attitude and hazy hipster vibe to thrust forward into the limelight.
At first glance, it’s Link Wray with greasy wheels, but frontwoman Shana Cleveland’s voice is at once soothing and desperately unique. It’s incredible what the right vocal harmonies can do. Pepper in some experimentation, some fuzz, some of that dastardly fun dark-soul-train, pop-dance, psycho-surf feel that everyone loves these days and it’s no wonder La Luz landed squarely in Burger Records land. The Fullerton, California, label is renowned for promoting a certain sound (Motown in a well?) and, as a result, many of the label’s acts sound strikingly similar. However, the more you listen, the more you’ll understand why La Luz is a signed, sealed, dominant band with thousands of loyal fans.
In short: These gals are not here merely because they fit with the now. They’re here because they’ve got talent.
La Luz plays with Eugene’s Egotones and Snow White 9 pm Thursday, Aug. 11, at WOW Hall; $10 adv., $12 door.