La Luz

La Luz: Marian Li Pino (drums), Abbey Blackwell (bass), Shana Cleveland (guitar), Alice Sandahl (keys)

On Tuesday night, while on their way to Seattle to play a show with Of Montreal, the four young women who make up the great new band La Luz suffered a frightening accident. Losing control of their van, they slid across black ice, and slammed into a concrete highway divider. The band managed to maneuver their van to the side of the road, where they called for help. Then, almost incredibly, while waiting for the police and a tow truck to arrive, their van was hit by a semi-trailer truck. The van, all of the band’s gear, and many of their belongings were completely destroyed.

To get a sense of the impact, see a photo of the van here. Fortunately, it was a 12-passenger van, and La Luz were using the entire back half as cargo space for their gear and belongings. The women were seated up front when their van was rear-ended by the semi-truck, sending them toppling into a ditch. Moments later, a third van slid across the freeway and collided into the semi! Aside from bruises, broken bones, and the major disappointment of having to cancel the rest of their tour, all members of La Luz are fine, as are the drivers of the other vehicles.

A message from La Luz’s official website:

We are beaten up but grateful and amazed to be alive today. We love all of you and are greatly appreciative and humbled by of all of the love and concern that you have shared with us. Your kindness will go a long way toward helping us deal with all of this.

Unfortunately we had to cancel our remaining tour dates with Of Montreal. This is such a major bummer because we were all just becoming friends and we were really looking forward to dancing to their set all over the rest of the country. Go see them on this tour, they are amazing.

La Luz, who have released material on Hardly Art, Burger Records, Suicide Squeeze, and Water Wing, create a sound that combines girl-group pop, surf rock, and classic punk: four-part harmonies, reverb, warble, and joyous abandon. Their debut full-length, It’s Alive, was released through Hardly Art on October 15. It’s one of my favorite records of the year.

If you’d like to make a donation to La Luz, visit Hardly Art. Suicide Squeeze is donating 100% of the money collected from purchases of La Luz’s 7” single, “Brainwash” b/w “TV Dreams.” The vinyl edition now appears to be sold out, but you can still contribute by pre-ordering the next vinyl edition, purchasing a digital copy (available in various formats/sample rates), purchasing the complete It’s Alive LP, or by making a separate donation through PayPal.

(I purchased five copies of It’s Alive—one for myself, of course, and one for each of the ladies in my own band, Lip Action.)

Seattle Weekly ran a touching interview with guitarist Shana Cleveland, describing the incident in greater detail.

john abramson's picture

Too many musicians to list have lost their lives or almost lost their lives traveling between gigs. This band plainly had some one (thing) watching over them.

Thanks for the music clip. As for their music, i liked the instrumentals, especially the b3 or synthesizer (my ignorance). Overall a nice retro sound, reiniscent of the early to mid '60s 'girl groups', not without some alure, but for me, nothing much more than that. Without doubt they could use a different videographer.

Again, they were rolling sevens and elevens when they had that accident.

On another, perhaps more important note, not a word in Stereophile on the death of Lou Reed.  While outside your demographic - and perhaps your ken -  he remained an iconic figure in the converging worlds of rock, poetry and art for his entire career ( 1964-2013). It has been said that the VU spawned 'thousands' of bands. (my word, as I have forgotten the origianal). I don't think you woud doubt this notion. Lou's influence did not pass with the break up of VU.  He continued to make exciting, vital, music for more than the next 40 years. Not too shabby at all.

Give the guy his well earned due.


dalethorn's picture

If all that Lou Reed had ever done in his life was 'Transformer', that would be enough in my book to grant him a lifetime achievement award, as one of the most important people in creating an entire genre of rock-n-roll.

ken mac's picture

Michael Fremer wrote about Lou Reed over at Analog Planet, a defacto SP site!

john abramson's picture

gee. thnx.  insufficient. if one doesn't 'do' analog, so to speak. who benefits?

a decent length retrospective is required. one that has at least as much space allocated to itas that given to the au currant/latest come and go in a split second girl band.

seems that the 1963-2013 demographic is a thing of the past, ezcluding, of course classical music,

JA seems to have both history and knowledge, at least from the Brit perspective.  A piece by him c ould well be appropriate AND appreciated by us 'has beens'.

ken mac's picture

"Brian Eno made the often repeated statement that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

john abramson's picture

a good correction. i would say atr least 30,000 bands lolol.

dalethorn's picture

Hmmm, I sampled music from a dozen or so Dick Dale albums on HDTracks, buying none of those, and now I'm listening to and enjoying surf music by a girlie group. I can't wait for the next wave...

christopher3393's picture

I think I see the light! Thanks, Stephen. Listening to album right now. A great sound. In fact I think Lou Reed would appreciate it and encourage his fans to ccheck them out and maybe throw a little love their way.

john abramson's picture

who am i to disagree with your presumption of lou's tastes in music? his tastes in music were catholic, even if he wasn't.  just help me out: where is La Luz's originality, or some other distinguishing, salient element of  musical presentation?

on your 'say', la luz is worth a bit of spotify, and sure, why not a little love, especially  after their near death experience; maybe, with some listening tine, they will move out of the 'ho-hum' catagory', at least for me.  re  their longer term viability and  rep,  don't keep your eyes wide shut.  listen to more VU and  music from Lou's later transformations.


dalethorn's picture

It was never easy to find all-girl bands in big record stores, and before the Internet, I had a couple of lucky breaks in accumulating perhaps 200-300 CDs of such bands, none of which sound like La Luz. As to Lou Reed, his pre-Transformer work was boring and repetitive, Transformer itself was almost childishly primitive and saved only by a few snappy tunes (and probably David Bowie), and after Transformer little or nothing of merit.

john abramson's picture

In audiophiledom, the subjective reigns supreme in equipment and listening tastes.

you want to valorize thie music of this girl band and shred lou reed's, go for it. as far as i listen, the former band is boring, though there is some nice work on the organ.  perhaps, they will develop  some following prior to falling off the music map and/or going their separate ways. their shelf life is a bit longer than the blink of an eye.

as for reed, there is nothing more to be said. his peers have said all that is necessary about his music.