Katy Goodman, who performs under the moniker La Sera, is a sweet, soft-spoken LA native who juxtaposes her sugary vocals and songwriting with tatted arms, fiery red hair, and reverb-laden instrumentals. She hits falsettos effortlessly and holds them in a composed, slightly trembling manner. Meanwhile, distorted guitar solos and Goodman’s hair-whipping bass playing give her music an edge that contradicts her flowery demeanor.
She’s Tennis meets the Vivian Girls (the band she was formerly the bassist of), and she’s been sorely overlooked over the years. Her self-titled debut LP and the subsequent Sees The Light explored lighter, dreamier break-up anthems and a more alt-country sound, and though listening to them felt like indulging in a light dessert after a heavy meal, it was often difficult to distinguish one track from another.
Still, she had a way with harmonies and honest, effortless lyrics that made her seem like the girl next door politely filling you in on her grievances. And with each new album, she seemed to be hitting her stride more and more.
Goodman enlisted producer Todd Wisenbaker to work on her third album, and the pair became full-time collaborators and were subsequently married. With his influence and the move to the Polyvinyl label, La Sera embraced a more rock ‘n’ roll edge and garnered the attention of Ryan Adams, who produced this year’s Music for Listening To Music To LP. On the album, Goodman takes more risks with her voice and delivers a grittier sound, both vocally and instrumentally.
Her subsequent EP, Queens, which features male-female vocals with her husband, explores faster-paced tracks and more complex production methods while still hinging on La Sera’s angelic vocals as the focal point. It feels like her most accomplished, fully formed project to date, each track maintaining its own lush tonality, resulting in an EP you can sit with for hours on a loop.
La Sera is performing at El Rey Theatre this Wednesday, December 14th, with Rooney and Nick Thune. Purchase tickets in advance or at the door!
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Lead Photo by Julia Brokaw