Initially begun as a solo side project from her time in Vivian Girls and All Saints Day, Katy Goodman’s recording project La Sera has developed a growing national profile through the release of three critically applauded albums — the project’s self-titled debut, Sees the Light and Hour of the Dawn.Each successive album had Goodman expanding upon and experimenting with her sound — with 2014’s Hour of the Dawn being the most punk-leaning album she had released to date. Goodman’s fourth and recently released album, Music For Listening To Music To will further cement her reputation for continually expanding upon her sound, while revealing an artist, who has gone through both major personal and artistic transitions. Goodman’s husband, Todd Wisenbaker, best known as a member of Music For Listening‘s producer Ryan Adams‘ backing band, has joined the project as a guitarist and cowriter and that development has helped influenced the project’s songwriting approach and sound.
Back in January, I wore about Music For Listening‘s first single “High Notes,” a song that paired the shimmering guitar chords of The Smiths and the propulsive, old-school chugging rhythm of Johnny Cash (in particular, think of “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Jackson” and countless others) with Goodman’s wistfully ethereal coos. Sonically and thematically, the song makes a vital connection between punk, post-punk and renegade country that countless other acts have done before — but while pointing out the irony at the heart of a busted up relationship: that you may take the high road, not because you actually believe it’s the mature thing to do but because you want to appear as though you’re not as petty as you might feel; and on another level, you’re desperate to ensure that you get the very last word. If you’ve ever been in the middle of an embittering breakup, “High Notes” will most likely be the song for you because it captures a complex array of emotion (complete with its attendant irony) with a heartfelt and deeply honest nature.
The album’s latest single “I Need An Angel” is reminiscent of The Smiths “This Charming Man” and “Hand In Glove” as it pairs gorgeous and shimmering guitar chords and a propulsive rhythm with swooning and lovelorn lyrics sung from the prospective of the achingly and desperately lonely and unloved. In this case, the male and female narrators of the song are pleading to find that special someone — perhaps not quite recognizing that they could they could bond over their mutual loneliness. Certainly, if you’ve ever been alone — or if you’re alone now — the sentiment at the heart of the song is universal and deeply heartfelt.
The recently released music video directed and edited by Jason Lester is shot in what appears to be L.A. in grainy 8mm film with some playfully psychedelic filters and features the creative duo of the project walking around L.A. in glorious sunlight — plus, check out the leggy Goodman in a beautiful yellow and white dress that explodes with brilliant color. The video also splits its time between gorgeous Southern California shots, the entire band performing the song, stops at stores celling random bric-a-brac, including one with a fittingly perfect Morrissey poster, and a Mexican food court. It’s surreal yet old-timey in a way that makes perfect sense.