La Luz

“Call Me in the Day” – La Luz

Current indie rock nodding aurally to late ’50s or early ’60s rock’n’roll has become commonplace, although I’m still getting a kick out of it, because first of all I never anticipated it and second of all it’s a fun sound, especially for anyone who likes a good tune with his or her music. Many of the melodies that pre-Beatles songwriters wrote sounded resolutely similar to one another but melodies they were, and if a new generation of musicians sees fit to excavate the vibe to see what charms may remain, I for one will not wag my finger and scold them for not being “new” enough.

“Call Me in the Day” is a kind of slowed-down girl-group number, the days-of-yore production limitations mimicked here by the reverb-enhanced lo-fi setting; add the slinky bass and the punctuation of echoey, low-register guitar riffs, which bring surf-rock undertones to the proceedings, and all sorts of nostalgia is in the air. And yet a spark of unfamiliarity shines through. First, the rhythm section grabs the ear, the way the old-school bass line is paired with a humble but decisive snare drum, the drum less supportive than finding its own way in the empty spaces. This brings a band awareness to music that had been previously crafted by non-performing songwriters. And what really snaps me to attention are the harmonies, beginning at 0:39. There’s something abruptly pure and clean about the sound of the two women here singing together that both transcends the muddier feeling of the production and ties it all together. The interplay of the voices now justifies the song’s leisurely pace. It just feels good. And then comes an 80-second instrumental break, and by then I’m so on board with the slinky groove that this feels good too. I’ve talked in the past about the pleasures of finding latitude in short songs by cutting back on verses and adding instrumental breaks; this is an upstanding example of that.

La Luz was founded in Seattle just last year. Their first recording was the EP Damp Face, which was released in September. “Call Me in the Day” is the lead track; it was recently made available as a free and legal MP3 via Fullerton, Calif.-based Burger Records, which this week re-released Damp Face as a cassette. You can hear the whole EP, and purchase it, via Bandcamp.