La Sera Crush On The Smiths Yet Stay Inventive On The Instant Classic "Music For Listening To Music To"

by Brody Coronelli - Link: Twitter

La Sera, the songwriting moniker of former Vivian Girl and bassist Katy Goodman and guitarist Tod Wisenbaker, has been one of indie-rock’s finest glimmers since their debut in 2011. Boasting a luminous drive-by of dreamy indie-pop trailing a quiet, soft-rock edge, the band came through with all potential intact on 2014’s Hours of the Dawn: a beaming array of some of their best work thus far. To follow up this successful affair, La Sera got into the studio with singer-songwriter extraordinaire Ryan Adams to record their latest offering Music For Listening To Music To. Not only is it the band’s most conceptually intact and adept record so far, it also resembles a true classic after only a few listens. 


Music For Listening To Music To has two very distinct merits. First of these, Katy Goodman’s soft, tender, and enveloping vocals render the songs soaring. The vocal qualityis mildly dissonant and soaked in a thin smoke-screen of reverb that’s come to make Adams’ recordings so recognizable, yet sounds more heartfelt and forward than ever. With soft precision, she constantly lingers near the higher notes of her register without giving away too much. Goodman’s vocals contrast the rich, moist guitar tones of Wisenbaker in a firework-resulting ordeal, giving Music For Listening To Music To a fresh and blooming quality that remains captivating all the way through. 


The second of this album’s distinctive attributions is Wisenbaker’s virtuosic guitar contributions. “Stealing the show” on nearly every track, these dense and embellishment-heavy guitar leads channel the high points of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr with a psychedelic 1960s flair. All the while, Wisenbaker experiments with a wide variety of tones that yield meritorious results. On the lead single “High Notes,” he plays a reverb-heavy, roots-country soaked lead that constantly finds new ways to be inventive as the song progresses. “One True Love,” a song where Wisenbaker himself takes up lead vocals, features a power-pop fetching lead riff that manages to become a hook of its own; something La Sera clearly mastered on this LP. Alongside being an accomplished feat of indie-rock, this album is sure to be the Christmas day equivalent for guitar-geeks. 


When the virtuosic talents of both Wisenbaker and Goodman come together, the result manages to be something fresh and charming in an entirely new way. The chemistry between these two musicians doesn’t even ask to be realized; it simply strikes without warning. By the end of the LP, it becomes common knowledge that when Wisenbaker’s psychedelic, Smiths’ reminiscent guitar leads loosely welded with Goodman’s tender vocals and Ryan Adams’ reverb-heavy, vintage production style could just about make cities crumble. On “Shadow Of Your Love,” Wisenbaker plays an approachable, fingerpicked lead as Goodman’s delicate vocals blend seamlessly into the six strings and soar beneath a billowing cloud of reverb. “A Thousand Ways,” a song that resembles the better end of a Smiths’ B-side, belongs in the background of a John Hughes flick with its saccharine vocal delivery and the airy, harmonic guitar lead that join forces to emulate a world of unstable yet poignant romance.


La Sera’s Music For Listening To Music To is a masterfully arranged, written, and recorded heartthrob of superb achievement that’s vintage while also modernly inventive. The chemistry between Goodman and Wisenbaker is sharper than ever, and when it shares a room with Ryan Adams’ distinctive and sonically ripe production, an instant classic comes forward and steals the show. La Sera struck gold, silver, and just about everything in-between on this LP; a feat that won’t go unnoticed as the year progresses. 




Listen to: “A Thousand Ways”, “One True Love”, “Nineties”, “I Need An Angel”, “Begins To Rain”