Remember those old high-school friends and how you never got around to doing all the rad things you planned to do with them? Well take heart, for Los Angeles psych-rock quartet Allah-Las is living out the dream for the rest of us. Band members Matthew Correia (percussion), Spencer Dunham (bass), and Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) went to high school together and shortly thereafter formed Allah-Las. Later on, while Dunham and Correia were working at the famed Amoeba Records in LA, they met the fourth member of the band, Pedrum Siadatian, and casually started playing music together. Now, with their second album Worship the Sun out on Innovative Leisure, the band will stop in San Antonio as a part of an extensive U.S. tour.
Correia, who recently chatted with the Current via email, says that the band began as a "Sunday ritual to play music and mess around with ideas. We didn't know what would come of it." From that quaint and pressure-free ritual, the band's excellent self-titled debut grew and was released in 2012. The album, an amalgamation of Cali styles and moods old and new, was a critical success and forced the band to take itself a bit more seriously. The danger, of course, with a debut album that seems to naturally fall into place, is that it will be impossible to duplicate the process or the organic nature of the original sound.
"The songs on the first record developed as we experimented playing them in live settings," says Correia, "while the songs on Worship were written while traveling and then experimented on in the studio." Either way, Allah-Las' songs go through initial phases and experimental phases, which pay dividends in the form of tight song structures that lazily branch out into gratifying and loose extrapolations. "Both were rewarding processes," admits Correia.
In the Allah-Las gently rollicking, faded and surf-inflected psych-rock sound, it's easy enough to hear the influence of all those old hippie daydream records they must have gushed over, back in their Amoeba days. It's easy enough to hear Spaceman 3, The Velvet Underground, the 13th Floor Elevators and LA's own Love when you listen to either of the Allah-Las records. The influences, however, don't make Allah-Las feel derivative. Instead, they are a band fixed on the eternal line that divides yesterday from tomorrow, imitation from innovation and nostalgia from progression. When I asked Correia how it felt to have the band's music referred to in terms of the burgeoning 1960s nostalgia of the moment, he reminded me that folks have always made music that could be seen as nostalgic, "but only recently have people begun to care."
Allah-Las feat. Tashaki Miyaki, Creatura and DJ Proper Yarn
$10, 8pm Sat, Nov 15, The Korova, 107 E Martin, (210) 226-5070, ticketfly.com