Release Date: Feb 15, 2011
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop
Click to listen to La Sera's "La Sera" In Vivian Girls, Katy Goodman always delivers the emotional assist: As the Brooklyn garage rockers’ bassist and back-up vocalist, her tense walking lines and falsetto sighs bring sensitivity to the ladies’ lo-fi squall. Her newest solo project, La Sera, replaces distortion with light, beatific girl-group harmonies and clean, sweet production of jangling surf guitars and soft brushes of snare drum. Her featherlight vocals touch on romantic pitfalls — she vows confidently to bore her lover to pieces in "I Promise You" ("I won’t ever let you go/You’ll get sick of me soon" she coos) — but La Sera’s debut is about buoyancy, not drowning.
Taking time off from her regular gig with Vivian Girls to put together a solo project worked out well for Katy Goodman. Not that La Sera is a solo project; in fact Goodman, wrote the songs and gave them to her friend Brady Hall (who had made videos for Vivian Girls). He recorded all the music, bringing her in at the end to sing the vocals. No matter how it was done, the end result is pretty great.
Katy Goodman can usually be seen playing bass and adding syrupy harmonies to Vivian Girls' spiky guitar songs. Her voice and melodic bass lines lend a sense of fragility to that band, so it's no surprise to hear that carried over into her side project, La Sera. Here, Vivian Girls' distorted guitar and haze is replaced by a bare sound, stripped to its core elements, while Goodman's voice becomes central, sometimes double-tracked.
Three years ago, a wave of bands collectively dubbed “shitgaze” dominated the blogosphere with a healthy mix of hyperbolic adoration, excessive hatred, and issues with the genre name itself. This apparent genre became the label given to noisy indie punk acts including Times New Viking, Psychedelic Horseshit, and Vivian Girls. For shitgaze, the music is made indecipherable not by shoegaze-style effect pedals, but with recording techniques that brought the concept of intentionally lo-fi production values to new heights, or if you prefer, lows.
I think we’ve all met a girl like La Sera’s Katy Goodman. She probably sat in front of you in high school chemistry class, running her fingers through the back of her hair and smiling knowing that every guy in class was looking at her. Except Goodman remained cool after high school, playing bass in the punk-girl three-piece Vivian Girls and writing songs about evil surfer boys and dying on her wedding night.