Occasionally, the universe takes a break from chaos and delivers symmetry like this: On Wednesday, June 13, Las Rosas the band will play Los Rosas the venue. What does it all mean, you ask? Perhaps it's a coincidence, or maybe it's an event with cosmic implications. Or it's simply a garage-rock band from Brooklyn pushing its sophomore LP, Shadow by Your Side.
In any case, the album explores decidedly earthly subject matter. Singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Jose Boyer describes it as a breakup record of sorts. "I wrote most of this album within a year of breaking up with an ex-girlfriend," he says. "We were going to be married and stuff, so there's a lot of that in there. I never thought I'd write a breakup album."
Boyer previously found success as the bassist of Harlem, a garage-rock group that went on indefinite hiatus in 2012. After the breakup, he formed Las Rosas with drummer Christopher Lauderdale and bassist Jose Aybar (that's right — the band's lineup includes Jose A. and Jose B.). The three spent several years finding their sound as performers, and last year they laid down a debut album, Everyone Gets Exactly What They Want.
As a songwriter, Boyer says he's not inspired by anything specific. The subjects of his lyrics tend to emerge of their own volition while he's working on a guitar or piano part.
"It starts out pretty abstract, but it's funny," he says. "If you're thinking about coming up with a new tune, you think, What is the singing going to sound like? I always start mumbling just to figure out what melody is going over this musical part, and I tend to wind up mumbling unconsciously about certain things. I'll take a step back and say, Oh, wow. That was on my mind, huh? I had no idea until I let myself ramble."
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Las Rosas the band embraces the experimental spirit of psychedelia and spices up the music with a south-of-the-border flavor. They've also absorbed some of the Strokes' sound, perhaps as an unavoidable side effect of being a garage-rock band in New York. Boyer's drawling vocal style is in the same ballpark as that of Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, and Las Rosas' active, interweaving guitars and bass lines bear some resemblance to the legendary garage-rock revivalists as well.
But it's not a conscious effort to sound like the Strokes or anyone else. Hardly anything about Las Rosas is the result of deliberate action — not even the way the members write songs together.
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"More and more now, I come up with a full song and bring it to the guys in the band," Boyer says. "It's purely organic, how they can take it and make it a cool song. It's not meticulous. Jose [Aybar] is this bass genius. He knows where to leave space and where to take up space, and from what I can tell, it's something that comes super-naturally to him. He doesn't have to sit down and write anything."
He tells a similar story about Lauderdale, the band's drummer, who reliably plays something cool on the first try. Each player's casual musical fluency comes through in Las Rosas' onstage demeanor and the songs on Shadow by Your Side, such as singles "Christa" and "Tax Man."
"We play together well," Boyer says. "Individually, we're good musicians, but there's something particular about what we do together. So, yeah, in the studio I like to record live, all together. I always want that live dynamic."
Las Rosas. With Grey & Orange and Jaialai. 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, at Las Rosas, 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-780-2700; lasrosasbar.com. Admission is free.