Notable Crate-diggers, Los Angeles retro-rockers Allah-Las are back with “The Stuff,” an enjoyably simple mid-tempo taste of Zuma 85 (out October 13 via Calico Discos / Innovative Leisure), the group’s first full-length album since 2019’s LAHS.
A sarcastic – although by-and-large unoffending – lamentation of the state of modern music in the form of a glam rock bop, sonically “The Stuff” unabashedly channels the mid-’70s solo output of Velvet Underground founding members Lou Reed and John Cale (Transformer and Fear, respectively), while no doubt owing some lyrical debt to the twee-niaveté of T. Rex’s Marc Bolan.
“‘The Stuff’’ is a tongue-in-cheek ode to rock tropes and nostalgic sentiments in the music world, including stereotypes of musicians and various trends in music,” said the band in a press release announcing the new record and runs of summer and fall touring. “This is sonically embodied with vocoder, guitar solos and a steady, driving rhythm.”
- Stream “The Stuff”
Even as they’ve explored the diaspora of underground rock – surf on their 2012 eponymous debut, psych-folk and global psychedelia and pop on the three records since – the Allah-Lah’s North Star has arguably always been the teenage riot of Back From the Grave. Members of the group reportedly met while working at Hollywood’s Amoeba Records, the famously well-appointed music retailer, and coalesced around a shared appreciation for a range of sonic obscura, specifically the compilations of garage-rock one-offs released by Crypt Records beginning in the early 1990s.
But while they no doubt share an unencumbered passion for vintage, they’ve proven tasteful curators, able to curb their enthusiasm enough to avoid wholesale derivation. “The Stuff,” meanwhile, finds the group balancing a playful self-awareness of the pitfalls of anachronism with an earnest regard for “the old world.”
You can hear new music from Allah-Las, as well as local, regional, national and international artists on our music discovery station The Independent 89.9 HD4. And you can follow our Fresh Squeeze playlist on Spotify to stream all the best new music, updated every month.