Reviews > CDs
moe.: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA LAs
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA Las, states the quirky title of moe.’s tenth studio album. It’s a whimsical question with profound significance for a band that, after two decades, must still regularly figure out how to conjure up fresh sounds. But the fiercely independent jamband has never shied away from difficult challenges, building their impressive 20-year career on an almost entirely D.I.Y. formula.
On their most recent release, however, the Buffalo, N.Y. quintet decided that the best way to reinvent themselves was to borrow from the past. Likewise, for the first time since 1998’s Tin Cans & Car Tires, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA Las finds moe. teaming up with a record label and enlisting the talents of outside producer John Travis (Kid Rock, Social Distortion).
Though many of the songs included on the album have been in the band’s repertoire for years, the effect of different perspectives leaves even road-worn classics sounding new. Relative to its square-jawed, live rendition, the studio version of album opener, “The Bones of Lazarus”—a decade-old fan favorite—comes off clean-cut and well-behaved. The result is a new angle on an old song, positioning listeners toward a clearer view of this jamming troupe’s often overlooked songwriting abilities.
Yet, this album is pure moe. all the way through, with plenty of the ferocious guitar riffs, intricate rhythms and allegorical storytelling that fans have come to expect. The pensive opening lyrics of “Downward Facing Dog” burst into a poetic celebration, which proclaims that life is meant to be lived—a lesson that guitarist/vocalist, Al Schnier, came away with as he penned the song while dealing with his aging father’s poor health.
Jams throughout the release are predictably manicured in length, but they’re not short of energy, reaching fevered pitches on “Haze” and “Rainshine.” The circus tantrum, “Chromatic Nightmare,” and the pop joyride, “One Way Traffic,” both of which add novel dimensions to moe.’s signature rock aesthetic, further energize the album.
Guitarist/vocalist, Chuck Garvey’s “Suck a Lemon”—inspired by fans during a Halloween show—closes the album. In it, the band breaks into a raucous chorus of “la la,” thereby answering the question, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA LAs: Clearly, moe.’s still got them.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
- Relix Live Fridays: Trey Anastasio at The Fox
- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals "The Lion The Beast The Beat" (Official Video)
- The Allman Brothers Band Before Gregg?
- The M & Ms: Medeski, Mali, Mercurio, Moore at (Le) Poisson Rouge (A Gallery)
- Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger "The Pequod"
- Trey Anastasio with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center
- More Visions of the Hangout Music Festival 2013 (A Gallery)
- A Blowout for the So So Glos
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll