Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes
Big Stir Records is proud to announce the forthcoming release of GOOD KARMA, from LESLIE PEREIRA & THE LAZY HEROES. The second album by the Los Angeles-based quartet is out on CD and digital media on Saturday, October 10 and is up for pre-order at www.bigstirrecords.com/store and elsewhere now. A brash and involving follow-up to the band's 2017 debut FIGHT FOR NOW, the new record features 12 brand new tracks recorded and mixed by KAREN BASSET (of The Pandoras and The Kariannes) at her studio, and bristles with the live energy that's made the band one of the most exciting acts on the LA club scene in recent years.
The sound of the record derives from exactly what fuels it: the sheer joy of performing. It's a mixture of punk rock drive, pure melody, and genuine sweetness that draws on the history of female-centric LA bands like The Pandoras, The Runaways, and the early Go-Go's, sounding at times like Sleater-Kinney tapping into the spirit of Buddy Holly. GOOD KARMA was tracked by the band in a single day prior to the pandemic (with minimal overdubs in the following weeks), and it bears out the band's reputation as an ebullient and thrilling live act – they've wowed audiences at many a Big Stir Live event in Burbank and in clubs across Southern California.
What Basset has captured, with the band tracking together in the studio and at the peak of their considerable power and chemistry, is something we're not hearing enough of in these socially distanced times. But it's all there on the disc. PEREIRA front and center with her swooping, impassioned vocals and angular but melodic guitar, perfectly complemented by vocalist and percussionist (and Leslie's wife) PAULA VENISE, propelled forward by one of LA's very best rhythm sections, JEFF PAGE on the drums and ROB LONTOK on bass. That pair alone is unsurprisingly in demand for sessions and gigs with some of Southern California's top-drawing tribute bands, but THE LAZY HEROES is their passion project, with Page's tenure dating back to his days with Pereira and Venise in IT'S ME MARGARET, the '90's-era forerunner of the current band.
GOOD KARMA rockets out of the gate with the title track – the lead single that's already racked up multiple plays on RODNEY BINGENHEIMER's Sirius XM program. It serves as a perfect statement of intent, a muscular message of empowerment on which a single “Hey!” from Leslie puts the chorus over the edge into the giddy territory the rest of the album will explore. The songs that immediately follow are gleefully wide-eyed slices of joy colored by the innocence early rock and roll filtered through postpunk passion. “If I”, “In My Backyard” and “Hot Tamale” show tinges of rockabilly that suit the heartfelt wonder at their core: the melodies and sweetly nostalgic lyrics are worthy of Buddy Holly or Brian Wilson but adorned with riffs and arrangements far too fresh and punkishly spiky to be labeled “retro”. Deep yearning, childhood friendships, first kisses, and sheer infatuation are framed by soaring vocal lines and instant-singalong choruses, as immediate and inviting as anything you'll hear this year.
You'll get that same charge from tracks like the self-explanatory anthem “Time To Rock” (“because it's fun!” Pereira proclaims, and the proof is in the performance) and the irresistible dual-lead-vocal on the new wave-tinged “So Hard”. “I'm Waiting” takes the yearning to surprising places with its half-time break, allowing to the band to strut their stuff and still bring the tune home in 2 minutes 11 seconds, leaving you wanting more. It's a genuine challenge to listen to these tunes without breaking into a smile.
Even the dark and snarky moments are laced with humor and hope. “Slip”, an urgent portrait of a relationship gone sour, sung from behind the drum kit by Page with Pereira and Venise adding a Greek chorus of spooky harmonies, ends on a note of positive resolve. The withering putdown of “Race Car” is flat-out funny. “Not To Me” rides an instant-classic riff as Leslie hopes for better, for herself and someone she's missing deeply: “Have you every felt alone with me? I just wanted you to love yourself,” she sings, leaving no doubt she means it.
The sound of the record is remarkably present, visceral and consistent, letting the band shine just as they do onstage, and the textures of the tunes and performances speak louder than any production bells and whistles could. The sinuous groove of “Chrome” is instantly engrossing, and the closing “Coraline (Where Are You)” is a marvel of keening vocals, crackerjack playing and yet more of those unmistakable Pereira hooks. Throughout GOOD KARMA, the Lazy Heroes turn on a dime with organic precision – they'll flip from a tightly-wound and intricate minutemen-like verse to a huge Blondie-worthy chorus and back again, with plenty of other twists and turns along the way. For all its immediacy, the record has layers that reward repeated listens mightily.
We can hope GOOD KARMA provides what its title suggests, and Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes are soon back commanding the live stages that are rightfully theirs. But in the meantime, the record is more than just a document of a tight and powerful band at full strength. It's a set of songs that deserve to own the airwaves and the hearts of listeners everywhere, and we at Big Stir Records are thrilled to bring it to you!