California Sounds: New L.A. music from Cooper Saver, La Santa Cecilia and Allah-Las
La Santa Cecilia, “Winning” (Rebeleon Entertainment/ Universal)
The first song from the Grammy-winning Los Angeles band’s upcoming album indicts social media, hashtag culture and empty advocacy. In the video, as lead singer La Marisoul and band stare at their smartphones and poke at screens, she drops a series of Instagram-style captions and Twitter-speak lines.
“Hashtag kids-in-cages. Frida Kahlo has an Instagram? ... Hashtag thoughts-and-prayers. Can your soul be saved?” La Marisoul sings. As she does so, Pepe Carlos plucks out a requinto-guitar guided melody before the rest of the self-described Mexican-American cumbia-soul, tango-punk band joins in to let loose. The video below contains strong language.
Though the song starts off with a humble but catchy Mexican-folk tinged melody, its chorus feels like a big-budget new wave explosion: “I can’t find no inspiration / Never-ending information,” she sings. “Always stuck in purgartory / ‘Cause I’m addicted to your story.” The band’s eponymous album (due Oct. 11) was written and recorded during a grievous year in which three of four bandmates lost their fathers.
The record also features a cover of Bessie Smith’s melancholy blues song “Nobody Knows You When You Are Down and Out.” The album was produced by Latin hitmaker Sebastian Krys, who has worked with artists including Luis Fonsi, Shakira and Elvis Costello.
Allah-Las, “In the Air” (Mexican Summer)
The Los Angeles band has long had a thing for late-'60s jangle rock, but not the optimistic stuff. Think more stoned, like the Rolling Stones “Paint It Black,” the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” or Love’s “Alone Again Or.” Somewhat miraculously, though, the Allah Las exude the feel of contemporary Los Angeles, and their devoted young fanbase proves it. The quartet’s new song and video, “In the Air,” operates on the same lysergic frequency as Tame Impala — but as created by a well-rehearsed full band instead of the auteur approach taken by Kevin Parker.
The video takes place on land, in water and by air — thankfully, no fire is involved — and puts guitarist Pedrum Siadatian squarely in the sights of a poison-dart-shooting intruder, who spikes Siadatian in the neck, causing him to drop into a swimming pool. His band mates pull him from the water, but instead of hitting the emergency room, they embark on a curious margarita-fueled journey. They drive a Mercedes convertible along the L.A. River, board a helicopter for a trip across Los Angeles. Are they going to Cedars-Sinai? Nope. With their guitarist still passed out, they load him into a hot air balloon. Then, they carry him up a hill overlooking Los Angeles. He never regains consciousness.
The song is taken from band’s first album for Brooklyn-based Mexican Summer (after a trio for LA-based Innovative Leisure). Called “LAHS,” the band’s fourth full-length finds them in expansion mode, pushing their sound away from three-and-four minute rock songs and toward less restrictive structures and textures — while maintaining a stylistic cohesion.
Cooper Saver, “Pacifico” (Biologic)
The producer, who makes the magnetic minimal house music under the Cooper Saver moniker, has been busy of late, and L.A.'s the better for it. Hardly known for its house and techno innovations, the region has been more affiliated with touchy-feely, optimistic EDM and G-funk-driven beats than for the spacially vast, melodically driven mechanical stuff born in Detroit, Chicago and Berlin.
Cooper Saver’s techno-forward aesthetic is on full display in his new mix for Berlin-based dance music tip-sheet Resident Advisor. A set that jumps from classic synth works and remixes from Chris & Cosey, the Human League and progressive trance producer Human Blue to contemporary experimental beats by Los Angeles producer Eddie Ruscha (under his Secret Circuit moniker), Norwegian artist Prins Thomas and Ivory Coast rhythm expert Mr. Raoul K, the hourlong dance mix showcases a DJ with very good taste and style.
Need more proof? His Dublab show, Far Away, which doubles as a club night and mix-tape series, is an indispensable part of L.A. beat culture.
The artist’s new EP opens with a set of interlocking rhythms connecting a four-on-the-floor bass drum, vibraphone-suggestive mid-range loops, a conga in the background and some crazy high-hat action. With a graceful, gradual build that extends across the track’s first two minutes, Cooper Saver harnesses analog-synth tones in service of a dynamic instrumental feat whose very title seems to celebrate the region. (Or maybe the song’s about the beer?)
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