La Luz with Shy Boys

October 29, 2018 - 8:00pm

By Bob Fennessy​

            On Monday, October 29, the Community Center for the Performing Arts proudly welcomes La Luz back to America and the WOW Hall along with special guests Shy Boys.

            When we last saw our heroines (May 14 at the WOW Hall), the four members of La Luz – singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl and bassist Lena Simon– they were touring the USA in support of Floating Features, the band’s third studio album.

For this, their most ambitious release yet, La Luz has left the continent!  They have been touring Europe and covering a lot of ground: the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany… even Turkey.  But when the band got to Poland, disaster struck and the girls were left sans clothing (no joke).

            “Gdansk Poland! I have nothing to wear because my suitcase is on a mysterious voyage without me, where can I buy some clothes?? Any good thrift stores in this town? I also need so many other things like soaps and hair stuff and any recommendations would be much appreciated, thank you!!  We’re still waiting for @lotairlinesus and @americanair to find and return all of our gear and belongings but in the meantime we’re buying replacements and piecing this thing together as best as we can. Love you all and can’t wait to see you out there.”

            It wasn’t quite a wardrobe crisis of Janet Jackson proportions, but it could be true that the girls will do a little thrift store shopping in Eugene?

Then again it could not be, as Los Angeles has often been described as a “dream factory” and they probably have good thrift stores there, too.  The girls moved there after forming La Luz in Seattle after being inspired by surf and rock and roll acts like Link Wray, The Ventures and Dick Dale as well as girl groups like The Shirelles.  

After releasing an EP titled Damp Face in 2012, La Luz signed with Hardly Art and released their first full-length album titled It's Alive in October 2013. While on tour supporting the record La Luz was involved in a serious accident as the tour van slipped on black ice.  After crashing into a highway divider, their van was then hit by a semi-trailer.  Band members sustained injuries, and all of the instruments and merchandise were destroyed with the tour van and trailer, forcing them to cancel the remainder of the tour.

La Luz released their second album, Wierdo Shrine, in 2015, again through Hardly Art.  The album was a more live-sounding recording than previous efforts, and received positive reviews in The Guardian, Pitchfork and The New York Times.   The group moved from Seattle to LA later that year.

Now America’s Goodwill ambassadors, La Luz are conjuring up Floating Features’ Leone-on-LSD vibes and sensible clothing solutions for the benefit of the teeming masses on the European shore, yearning to break free like they do on our swinging West Coast.

You go, girls.

 

SHY BOYS

 

Being in a band is a sacred thing.

Being in a band in 2018 is a sacred thing.

Being from the Midwest is a sacred thing.

Being in a band that is from the Midwest in 2018…

Consider Shy Boys – DIY local champions of Kansas City, MO, who if you add it all up, are something sacred. Comprised of brothers Collin and Kyle Rausch and best friends Konnor Ervin, Kyle Little and Ross Brown, Shy Boys are the heartland’s answer to The Beach Boys had Alex Chilton been on guitar.

Shy Boys’ history isn’t too dissimilar from any other Midwestern band. Like the many Replacements or Husker Düs before them – they exist neither here nor there, but instead, somewhere anonymously in the middle. And though you may not find the same opportunity floating in the middle as one would Here or There, you are allotted a certain amount of time and space to grow both yourself and your craft into what you want it to be. Over the past four years, that is exactly what Shy Boys have done and that is what brings us here today.

On August 3, 2018, the world will see the release of their second record, Bell House, out on legendary and globally cherished record label Polyvinyl, bringing both their profile and music to the surface for the first time.

The album’s title is taken from the band’s beloved headquarters – the old house on Bell Street in Kansas City where they lived together for the better part of five years.

“‘Lived’ is a loose term,” says lead songwriter Collin. “It was more like a bum den than anything else. There was a giant hole in the floor of the kitchen that had a piece of plywood over it. In the backyard, weeds got like 6 feet high in the summer. It was its own thriving biome. We lived in trash.”

Musically, Collin describes the songs on Bell House taking shape through, “a group of guys trying to get through some sort of mutual identity crisis.  The lifestyle became overwhelming and really seeped into the music.”

In the time since the release of ST, Collin saw himself falling in love and getting married, leaving the old house on Bell Street, and moving back into his mom’s house with his wife in a suburb of the city. It’s here where the songs of Bell House were born. Being back under the same roof he had grown up in where there was, “still writing on the walls from childhood,” Rausch found himself reflective and looking out at his life as a whole.

But through all of this, Rausch kept his passion in his band, if even for nothing more than to – in his own words – have an excuse to keep hanging out with his brother and best friends.

“I have to keep Shy Boys alive to have a regular excuse to hang out with them,” says Collin. “To keep the band alive, I have to write songs. To be able to travel with my buddies, there has to be a new record.”

There is an old term that’s kicked around in country music called a “blood harmony” – in which two people in the same bloodline, usually siblings, harmonize with one another in real time. Perhaps that is Shy Boys’ magic touch, putting them just a notch above all the other angels out there in the indie rock choir, and it makes sense, though no longer practicing evangelicals, Collin and Kyle grew up singing besides their parents in their church choir, so their keen sense of harmony is nothing new to them, but instead a life practice devoted to the voice as an instrument.

The result is Bell House, and the result is beautiful. There is something sensitive to the touch about this album, which is perhaps another way of saying that, well – Shy Boys are indeed Shy Boys.  There is a heavy sense of family in everything they do both, literally and figuratively.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.  Doors open at 7:00 pm and showtime is 8:00.

 

Door Time: 
October 29, 2018 - 7:00pm
Cost: 
$12 Advance, $15 Day of Show