Top image: Photography by Lynn Petrick.
Three out of four Allah Las band members used to work at Amoeba Music, Los Angeles’ vinyl nirvana, skipping their fingers across vinyl for a living and pocketing a worthy personal collection in the process. This enviable profession provided an ideal musical education and the perfect springboard for a band so adept at blending tone and texture in idyllic coalition.
This diverse and expansive musical knowledge has never been more evident than on the LA group’s latest release, a four-track EP of covers featuring George Harrison’s Fish On The Sand, Television’s Hard On Love, Further’s K.O. Eleven and Kathy Heideman’s The Earth Won’t Hold Me. As diverse and eclectic as we’ve come to expect from a band whose weekly playlist website, Reverberation Radio, is always offering up hidden gems, this new EP sees the group pay homage to their influences while giving them a hefty spin.
To mark the release, we asked the band to put together a special HERO playlist, stretching across 60s garage, breezy soul and languid psychadelia. Hit play and take note, these lads know what they’re talking about.
Salty People by Lazy Smoke
“Hailing from Massachusetts, this band was only together two years from ’67’-’69. They released one record, Corridor of Faces, and finding no success, split up. Amazing how common this story is among lost groups from this era.”
Sportsmen by Haruomi Hosono
“Harry Hosono was the grandson of the only Japanese passenger and survivor on the Titanic. His career spans many decades and genres, this one’s from 1982 and sounds like poppy Japanese New Order.”
Now That I know by Ted Lucas
“Lucas was a member of many bands and a session instrumentalist from Detroit who specialised in exotic strings. This album has a melancholic beauty with layered vocals that stick with you.”
So If Someone Sends You Flowers, Babe by The Kynds
“1966 hauntingly reverberated garage track from a NY trio of organ, bass and drums. No guitars.”
Expansions by Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes
“Lonnie is a keys man who played with Miles Davis and Art Blakey, among others. He got real cosmic in the 70s and this lead track from his album of the same name does it best.”
Disco Dancer by Kiki Gyan
“Kiki Gyan was a Ghanian keyboard “prodigy” who found both success and tragic death early in life. He was briefly married to Fela Kuti’s first daughter. Soundway recently released a compilation of his solo disco project 79-82.”
Do I Get So Shy by Shoes
This band was a group of friends who decided that they wanted to make a record without knowing much about playing instruments or writing songs. In a way, that’s the very thing that makes it work. This came out in ’75 and mixes bedroom melancholy with power pop in a chilling way.
The North Wind Blew South by Philamore Lincoln
“The only solo release by Philip Kinorra, who adapted Philamore Lincoln as his stage name. He replaced Keith Moon for one Who show in ’67. This album is from ’70 and it’s a shame it’s his only solo release.”
Shouting In a Bucket Blues by Kevin Ayers
“Hard to choose just one Kevin Ayers song, but maybe this is the one I have listened to the most in recent times. Ayers played with Soft Machine and was going to go back to London and quit the music business after a US tour with Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix gave Kevin a guitar under the condition that he keep writing and recording his own songs, and he did. Always the wordsmith and master of tongue in cheek, Kevin’s body of work is unexpendable.”
Fish on the Sand by Allah-Las
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Allah Las: Covers #1 is out November 3rd. You can pre-order the EP here.