Created by record store employees with a love for laid-back '60s sounds that verged on somnambulant psychedelia, the L.A. band Allah-Las documented the sounds and moods of sunny West Coast days with nothing to do but strum guitars and gently harmonize. Their first two albums also had a heavy surf influence, but by the time of 2016's Calico Review some of the reverb was replaced by a Stones-y swagger. The group's fourth album, Lahs, took another step out of their SoCal garage to add sounds from around the world, while still sounding ready for a long afternoon nap.
The Allah-Las formed around the talents of lead vocalist/guitarist Miles Michaud, lead guitarist/vocalist Pedrum Siadatian, bassist/vocalist Spencer Dunham, and drummer/vocalist Matthew Correia. Three of the four bandmembers were working in the L.A. branch of the legendary record store Amoeba when the group formed in 2008, and they must have spent a great deal of time researching the garage and psychedelic sounds of the '60s while propping up the counter. The band's sound combines the harmonies and pop hooks of the British Invasion, the trippy atmosphere of West Coast psychedelic groups, and the raw swagger of countless American garage rockers. They made their debut on vinyl in 2011 with a single ("Catamaran"/"Long Journey") produced by friend of the band and old-school soul revivalist Nick Waterhouse, and released on his Pres label. The Allah-Las' alliance with Waterhouse continued as they issued two singles during 2012 on his new label, Innovative Leisure: a split single with the boss featuring their song "(Tell Me) What's on Your Mind," and another single featuring that song with "Sacred Sands" on the flip.
Their Waterhouse-produced self-titled album was issued in September of that year and featured all their previously released tracks, plus nine more. After spending time touring, the band hit the studio again with Waterhouse to produce their second album of laid-back garage-psych moodiness. Worship the Sun was released in September 2014, again by Innovative Leisure. For their next album, the Allah-Las worked at the recently reopened Valentine Recording Studios, a legendary spot where bands like the Beach Boys and artists like Stan Kenton recorded. It had closed in the late '70s and the band was one of the first to use its refurbished equipment. The resulting Calico Review was released in September 2016 on their new label home of Mexican Summer. The following year saw the group release Covers, Vol. 1, the first in a series of EPs exploring the band's myriad influences.
The Allah-Las were dedicated travelers during this time, playing shows all around the globe and soaking up experiences and influences. Their next appearance on record was on the soundtrack to Self-Discovery for Social Survival, a surf documentary released in 2019. Later that year, the band's fourth album, Lahs, was released. After three albums that captured their hazy West Coast lifestyle, this time the group (and producer Jarvis Taveniere) gathered up sounds and feelings collected while on tour to make a much more outward-looking album that added elements of soul music, Brazilian psych, and Dead-style jamming to their psychedelic mix.
~ Tim Sendra
ORIGINLos Angeles, CA