Under the covers with Allah-Las
L.A. psych-rock quartet Allah-Las is winding down the last leg of a lengthy tour. It started all the way back before the release of the group’s third full-length album, Calico Review, last September.
The run has taken them across the globe, and most recently, to British Columbia surf mecca Tofino, and last weekend’s Desert Daze Festival in Joshua Tree.
Partially to celebrate an upcoming stretch of well-deserved time off, and partially to make good on something the group has talked about doing for a long time, the quartet is releasing a 4-track EP of covers next month.
Simply titled Covers #1, the band puts its unique mixture of garage, folk, surf, psych, and pop on songs by George Harrison, Television, Kathy Heideman, and Further.
In addition to digital outlets, the EP will be released on Mexican Summer Records as a limited edition 10" vinyl.
PACIFIC recently discussed the new album with bassist Spencer Dunham by phone from his girlfriend’s Los Angeles home.
The new EP is called Covers #1. Have you planned how far out you’re going to take it?
I think when we decided to title it that, it was just so easy and fun, for it to be a one-time thing seemed like a mistake. So we did that intentionally to encourage ourselves to do this again further down the road. And we have done covers in the past. And we have recordings of those things. We just haven’t released them. These are the best covers we have at the moment. It was a fun experiment and we enjoyed it. And I think we’ll at least do a couple more little EPs.
How did the selection process work?
I don’t know how to answer that properly. We all just brainstormed, chose different songs, and then decided who would sing. I chose Fish on the Sand because I’m a big George Harrison fan and a fan of that song. It’s a sleeper on Cloud Nine which had the hit Got My Mind Set On You. It was produced by Jeff Lynne and has this super ‘80s feel to it. So the idea of doing something more 12-string, jangly, and along the lines of older Beatles stuff sounded like a cool experiment to do - rather than have it be the polished, Jeff Lynne, ‘80s thing that’s on the rest of that record.
Allah-Las w/ Entrance and Mapache
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 18
Where: Music Box, 1337 India St., downtown
Cool to be able to introduce people to the originals as well.
That was kind of our intention. None of the songs on the EP are popular or mainstream. They’re all pretty obscure. It was our choice to do it that way, in part, because a lot of the music we like is unknown, but also because it opens people up to looking for new music. If you haven’t heard that George Harrison song, maybe you’ll go look for more George Harrison. Television is more of a popular band, these days, but Kathy Heideman and Further are not well known in mainstream culture. So it was a bit of homage to getting people to look for more music.
Moving forward, will you mine the collection of covers you have, record new ones, or both?
We don’t have any plans to release another covers EP at the moment. But moving forward, it’ll probably be a combination of both songs that we’ve done in the past, as well as songs we really like and haven’t tried to cover.
So the EP is essentially a placeholder until you follow-up Calico?
Kind of, yeah. We had been touring so much that we didn’t have enough time to put out a full record. And we didn’t really want to put out an EP of new material, either. We just wanted to put out something fun that we hadn’t done before. Also, 10" are those records in your collection that don’t fit anywhere. I don’t know if it’ll be in production forever, or it’ll be a one-time thing. But we’ll see.
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