Band of the Day

2012.06.18

La Sera

Californian dream pop fit for breezy summer nights
I'm talking in my sleep and you're hearing every word. I'm talking in my sleep, please pretend you haven't heard.
lyrics from Sleeptalking

La Sera is the solo side project of Vivian Girls’ bassist Katy “Kickball Katy” Goodman. After writing solo songs in 2009, Goodman’s demos were picked up and re-recorded with friend and producer Brady Hall, at his home studios in Seattle. A 7” of La Sera’s first single “Never Come Around” was released in 2010 after signing to Hardly Art Records earlier that year. The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2011 featuring dreamy pop songs about love, heartbreak, and death. In addition to performing as La Sera, Goodman is also in a band called All Saints Day with Cat Powers' Gregg Forman. La Sera’s sophomore effort, Sees The Light, was released in 2012, debuting a more aggressive sound with lead single “Please Be My Third Eye”. While the Rob Barbato (of Darker My Love) produced Sees The Light showcases a slightly more forceful sound from Goodman, it still maintains the same dream pop sensibility as 2011’s debut.

Do you remember being a kid, and waking up on the very first day of summer vacation? There's usually that initial moment of panic when you think, “oh no, I've overslept!”, followed by an immediate sense of relief once you realize that you're no longer tied down to the restraints of a school schedule. Waking up early, writing essays, and cramming for tests is replaced by three solid months of freedom; a sense of excited anticipation at what the summer has in store. With ten solid tracks of breezy, Californian dream pop, La Sera's sophomore album Sees The Light manages to encapsulate that same feeling. La Sera is the solo project of Katy Goodman, also known as “Kickball Katy” and the bassist of Brooklyn trio, Vivian Girls. In 2011, Goodman released her first album under the name La Sera (which means “the evening” in Italian). While none of the songs on the self-titled debut make it past the three minute mark, Goodman lets the ten tracks on Sees The Light slowly unfold. The whole album barely makes it past half an hour in length, but songs like “Love That's Gone” never feel rushed. It's not the most obvious choice for an opening track, with a laid-back tempo and lyrics detailing what happens during a break-up when the other person still holds a torch: “I'm better off alone now/you may not agree” and “you're holding on/to a love that's gone,” sings Goodman, with just a hint of melancholy in her otherwise honeyed voice. The majority of the album is inspired by real break-up stories from Goodman's own life, compared to a few fictional stories on her debut album. “Do you not remember when you broke my heart?/Now you're tearing me apart,” she sings on “I'm Alone.” Rolling drums, and a swirling melody that brings to mind watching dust particles dance around in a beam of light, accompany Goodman's self-harmonies—maybe she's not so alone, after all? “Real Boy” has more of an early-50s feel, with Goodman's voice starting off low then soaring to a higher register, like a kite taking off in the perfect gust of wind. With a tambourine shaking with the rhythm of a rattlesnake's tale, “Drive On” brings about imagery of gunslingers about to have a showdown at sunset. The album's stand-out track is “Break My Heart,” an incredibly catchy number that draws upon early punk and lo-fi garage rock influences. Though the lyrical content of songs on Sees The Light are primarily focused on the pain of failed relationships, the music itself is perfect for kicking off the summer.