Release Date: Jan 24, 2012
Record label: Sugar Hill
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, American Trad Rock, Jam Bands
What Happened to the La Las, moe.‘s ninth studio album and first since 2008, finds the band in a very different place professionally. They’ve been running their career completely on their own for more than a decade—booking tours, doing the merchandising, and self-producing and self-releasing their albums on their homegrown label Fatboy Records. Now, for the first time since the ‘90s, the band has signed with a different label, the usually country and bluegrass-leaning Sugarhill Records.
After funding, producing, and releasing their own albums for the better part of two decades, moe. went corporate (by jam band standards, at least) by signing with Sugar Hill Records. What Happened to the La Las kicks off the new partnership with a mix of heady Southern rock and rootsy, festival-friendly funk. Longtime fans may be worried about the loss of moe.'s cottage industry, and some of the band’s defining characteristics -- the improvised sprawl of their jams, the multi-minute length of their guitar solos -- do get tempered this time around, thanks in large part to John Travis, the band’s first outside producer since 1998’s Tin Cans and Car Tires.
Conventional wisdom says that jam bands don’t make good studio albums. Not true for moe., amongst the old guard of this amorphously defined genre. What Happened to the La Las is their 10th studio album and continues their trend of solid studio efforts. Unlike the segues of Wormwood (2002) or the sprawling and exquisite The Conch (2007), La Las feels more like a straight-ahead rock album, fusing moe.’s extroverted but never ostentatious style: a mixture of quirky pop and prog-flavored hard rock with a more mainstream production value.
Jam band moe. have displayed a staunch, independent fortitude since their earliest days out of Buffalo, NY through its career retrospective release in 2010. That resilience remains resolute in 2012, despite the fact that the band teamed up with new label Sugar Hill Records and an outside producer, John Travis (Kid Rock, Social Distortion) on What Happened To The LA LAs.