It is a comfort to know that I can always rely on my friends Jamie Strong and Nate Nelson, founders of LA’s buzzing new label Innovative Leisure, to champion great music.

These are the same folks who shone the light on some of my favorite finds of 2011 — Hanni El Khatib and Nick Waterhouse — and continuing in the tradition of the ‘new oldies’ creative direction, the label has scored, yet again, with their latest signing Allah-Las.

I saw the LA-based band perform at the youngest addition to Venice live music venues, The Del Monte Speakeasy, almost a year ago, and was blown away.

My go-to phrase when referring to a great music experience is to say “they rocked it” but one does not simply say that the Allah-lahs are a rock band. They certainly “rock out” in a more expansive understanding of the word, however, theirs is a much more subtle form of “rock-out” sensation.

Try to conjure up the most quintessential LA sound, with a hint of surf, 60s Sunset Strip, downtown city grime, and a trace of Americana desert folk, all mashed together with a healthy dose of wha wha, fuzz, and reverb. And then add the pivotal tambourine…and  voila!  You’re hopping from Venice to Laurel Canyon and then over to downtown LA in a matter of subtle guitar riffs. By the end of the show, you are drinking murky liquid from Joshua Tree cacti, wondering, “how the hell did I get here?”

Allah-Las – Catamaran by Nick Waterhouse

The foursome have recently released a much coveted 7” debut 45 single “Catamaran” b/w “Long Journey” produced by Nick Waterhouse. It is so coveted, in fact, that the first pressing is already sold out. The second pressing is available for order via Innovative Leisure  and a limited number is also on-hand at shows – which there will be plenty in the weeks and months to come.

A comprehensive list of their upcoming North American dates is available on their Tumblr, including four confirmed SXSW performances.

In the meantime, I leave you with this beautifully shot B&W video for Long Journey.

– DJ Valida

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