Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.
La Sera: “Devils Hearts Grow Gold”
Fans of the noisy, riotous punk delivered by Brooklyn-based band Vivian Girls will find that La Sera — the solo project of bassist Katy “Kickball Katy” Goodman — explores decidedly softer terrain. More ’50s-era pop than riot grrrl, Goodman’s eponymous debut as La Sera exudes ethereal lushness.
Known primarily for her high-pitched backing vocals on Vivian Girls’ records, Goodman takes this opportunity to showcase a sweet singing voice through layered, heavenly vocals set to simple, clean guitar strumming. The result is a charming, dream-pop response to the hot buzz of Vivian Girls’ records. And though the songs began as simple guitar-and-tambourine demos, with the help of Brady Hall (director of Vivian Girls’ videos “Moped Girls” and “When I’m Gone”) Goodman was able to flesh the material out into tempered harmonies and celestial choral arrangements.
With 12 songs clocking in at just over 26 minutes, the album has the same quick pace of a punk record without all the angst and aggression. Goodman cuts to her melodies early on, transitioning from two-note guitar hooks to ghostly choruses and back, finding simple, catchy ways to navigate through these brief songs. She has her own style, with a tendency to maneuver through echoes, mine for moments of earnest pop, and build around them, if only for two minutes at a time.
The cuteness inherent in each song is undercut by themes of heartbreak and loss, which prevent the record from feeling too removed from her Vivian Girls roots. La Sera, in many ways, allows Goodman the freedom to venture beyond her punk background, while keeping close enough that the music never quite feels like a stretch.
La Sera, meaning “the night,” in Italian, is just that — Goodman’s escape from the heat, a time for her to slow down and unwind. It’s clear that she takes this time seriously, that she welcomes the dreamlike stillness of life outside Vivian Girls, and that she understands that these two worlds are both very real, and, without one, the other may well not exist.