I thought the Vivian Girls were pretty good, a lot of pissy but prim potential. But I think La Sera, bassist-vocalist Katy Goodman’s new band, is great. That’s because her new thing’s self-titled debut doesn’t hide behind Ramones-wanna be riffs or Sonic Youth ear-gumming feedback. Instead, La Sera shows what the Shaggs would have been like if they weren’t ridden by a freaky old alcoholic father-manager, and could have been produced by a post-treatment Phil Spector; and oh yeah, could feel free to play away sincerely and happily with her own toys by herself. Toys being guitars, basses, percussion, and cream cake layers of sumptuous vocals. (Uncle Joe Meek’s ghost is in the closet, too, and Stephin Merritt would probably kill to produce the next one. Stand firm, Katy!)
And moreso, on going-to-outlive 2011 songs like “Never Come Around” (this year’s “Young Folks” and I mean that with a pure heart) and “Dove Into Love” it’s sort of like a revenge fantasy for every pretty girl who was told she’d never play beautifully. When you listen to the joy of creation and discovery Goodman puts into the design of sweet-torture chamber mazes like “Beating Heart” (all boxed in and sugar-coated) you want to go into that room and create fresh noise with her. She leaves that necessary space to put your heart into, even if the freezing lyrical icicles of “Left This World” and “Devils Hearts Grow Cold” threaten to pierce right through the ventricles.
You may be thinking I’m having a slobbering description-orgy up there with myself, but La Sera just pinches it out of gross old music hounds like me. Honestly, the twelve songs on La Sera make me wonder what I ever saw in other bands of this type in the first place (oh god no, I want to be its “very special friend.” Call someone and protect yourself from me, you precious sparkling genius little Compact Disc you!). Meanwhile, one of the bands that are sort of like this one, da Dum Dum Girls (La Sera’s tougher, older sister in a psycho boyfriend’s paint-splashed leather jacket) will be accompanying Katy and her enrolled musical colleagues on tour for at least a couple of shows. A perfect duo, and perhaps the first time a line-up will ever have to take out a restraining order on an entire too-fawning audience.