Los Angeles’ Allah-Las have announced the October 13 release of their new album, Zuma 85. Today they share the first taste of the new album via the lead single and LP opener, “The Stuff,” b/w the title track “Zuma 85.” The glammy and electronic strut “The Stuff” signals the start of a new era for Allah-Las, and finds the band reinventing itself in defiance of the algorithmic categorization and robotic sterility. Showing another side of the album the instrumental “Zuma 85” features field recordings with chimes that precede Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra)-style guitars, which drift aquatically over a motorik rhythm and hazy synths.
Sharing a name with “Zuma 85” is a photo of an abandoned house by California photographer John Divola. Selected by Correia, the band’s resident photography head and album art designer, it juxtaposes a visage of man-made chaos against the natural beauty of the West Coast. It served as an unspoken reference point for the album, a symbolic totem indicative of a new era.
“‘The Stuff’ is a tongue-in-cheek ode to rock tropes and nostalgic sentiments in the music world, including stereotypes of musicians and various trends in music,” says the band.
Allah-Las have confirmed Summer and Fall Tour dates that include headline shows and festival dates across the US, Mexico and Europe. The tour kicks off June 15 in Oslo, NO and concludes November 18 in San Francisco, CA. Along the way they wll play at New York City’s Rockaway Beach on August 4 at the Rockaway Beach Hotel and at The Lodge Room in Los Angeles on November 15 and November 16.
Zuma 85 is being released via the band’s own label, Calico Discos, in partnership with Innovative Leisure, which released earlier defining statements from the band including the eponymously named Allah-Las (2012) and Worship The Sun (2014).
The pandemic induced downtime of 2020-2022 opened up space for the band members to focus on their own lives and interests, and the time to re-envision what creative processes could look like. When it came time to reconvene, a sense of looseness proved pivotal. Instead of bringing finished songs to the studio, they entered the picturesque Panoramic House recording in Stinson Beach with sketches, ideas, and riffs. Working with co-producer Jeremy Harris (White Fence, Devendra Banhart, Ty Segall) they shaped and crafted the new songs in real time over three sessions, which were then mixed in Los Angeles by frequent collaborator Jarvis Taveniere (Woods, Avalanches, Purple Mountains).
It was clear from the get go the bucolic environment—observed through picture windows overlooking Stinson Beach and Bolinas Bay—would be conducive to creating the first statement from Allah-Las 2.0. “We got in real late that first night of the first session,” Michaud says. “It was around midnight. We had a quick intro and Jeremy had a bottle of wine. We had a little and he said, ‘You wanna start recording?’”
They did. And when the group reassembled the following morning to listen back, they found the sparkling and stutter--stepped “Right On Time” mostly done. It was unlike anything the band had ever recorded but felt entirely natural. “Everything just worked,” Michaud says. “That studio just pulls it out of you.”
Zuma 85 finds the Allah-Las departing familiar territory and embracing the influence of late-era Lou Reed and John Cale, the ‘70s mutant pop of Peter Ivers and early Eno and Roxy Music, and textures borrowed from Japanese pop and loner-folk obscurities. There are kosmische zones, like the Popol Vuh-evoking “Hadal Zone,” anthemic and electronic boogies like “The Stuff” and “Sky Club,” and arch prog on tunes like “GB BB” and “Smog Cutter.”
For the last 15 years, Allah-Las have alchemically melded surf rock washes with folk rock jangle and rock, building up their lauded music podcast, Reverberation Radio, and record label, Calico Discos, in the process. A lot has changed since the group first bonded over psych rock vinyl in the back room at Amoeba Records in the late aughts and Zuma 85 finds the quartet facing a new world with a wealth of new sounds.
Allah-Las are Matthew Correia (drums/vocals), Spencer Dunham (bass, guitar, vocals), Miles Michaud (guitar, organ, vocals), and Pedrum Siadatian (guitar, synth, vocals).