Two New Albums Worth Your While: La Luz and Locate S,1

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La LuzFloating FeaturesHardly Art
Locate S,1Healing ContestSybaritic Peer/Nicey Music
Sometimes, the pure, visceral sound of music is so transporting that it’s easy to just switch off the brain and surrender to the mood. Witness, for example, La Luz and Christina Schneider, young veterans who might have plenty to say, but know how to cast a spell, too.
On their third alluring LP, the crafty quartet La Luz revisits the strategy of its previous work to mesmerizing effect. Singer Shana Cleveland strikes an intriguing balance between cool reserve and creeping anxiety and plays spiky, surf-tinged guitar, while Alice Sandahl explores the catalogue of cheesy-hip organ riffs favored by so many sneering garage punks back in the ’60s. In other hands, Floating Features would be a tame nostalgia exercise, but La Luz infuses this vintage style with modern urgency.
Having recorded under a variety of guises (Japeto Solutions, C.E. Schneider Topical, et al.), the inventive Christina Schneider’s latest project is the curiously titled Locate S,1. Produced by Of Montreal leader Kevin Barnes, the terrific Healing Contest offers dreamy pop of the highest order, featuring exotic chord changes, airy synths, twinkling guitars and Schneider’s floating, overdubbed voices. The end result is a lighter-than-air delight that has the effect of a beautiful hallucination, one that could turn into a nightmare in an instant, but never does.