Ladada is a band from Virginia Beach that was originally conceived as a solo project by Josiah Schlater (Mae, We Are Trees, Jake Clemons), but has now expanded to include Bobby Rangel on drums, Robert Smith on bass, and Jonnie Schilling on second guitar. Their music ricochets between punk and shoegaze, and is an energetic expansion of Schlater's well-honed surf-rock sound.
Ladada's self-titled debut EP, released back in 2014 on Gold Robot Records, won praise from Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, and Wondering Sound for its exquisitely composed and undeniably infectious lively and sun-drenched songs, which took cues from early Motown and 60s garage rock; "Songs like these come along every once in a while and cannot be overlooked" (Indie Shuffle). The Hi Five EP was released next, in 2016, and was surprise-injected with the secret sauce from Schlater's punk project BAMM BAMM. Heartbreaking Bravery, among others, praised the new direction, saying, "Song after song, hook after hook, Hi Five sees Ladada proving themselves to be a serious force. As a standalone EP, it's a revitalizing piece of music. As part of the band's discography, it's undoubtedly positioned itself as a calling card for years to come."
On March 22, Ladada will release their long-awaited debut full length album Heaven On The Rocks via Gold Robot Records. The title stems from a misunderstood conversation between a bartender and Schlater, who had asked for "Evan, on the rocks," and from a tubing trip down the James River with a group of friends. While seemingly floating through paradise, rocks would scrape backs at random, and Schlater was struck by the peace and solace that was occasionally interrupted by shouts of pain from across the water.
Post-Trash premiered the title track, calling it "a shimmering kind of retro-fuzz pop that pulls from both '60s soul and garage rock," and Impose Magazine had the video premiere. In the clip, directed by Schlater's brother Felix, the band poses as a gang of ruffians speeding to find help for an injured band-member after an apparent brawl. In a flashback, we're able to see exactly how the fight broke out, but the video ends with a twist. Impose says the video "brings to life that heartland wanderlust vibe, as Ladada unfurls their golden-hued, artfully layered rock."
A sense of child-like wonder and excitement emanates from the heart of every Heaven On The Rocks song. When The Wild Honey Pie premiered "Float Away," for example, they wrote, "It’s obvious that [this song] is tied to a memory or feeling of euphoria." Additionally, there are songs like "Western Wash," in which the band have turned a mundane task (washing the dishes) into a fun, old western-inspired song. Another track, called "Dynamic Dogs," borrows and reshapes the word "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (made famous by Mary Poppins), which means "extraordinarily good, wonderful." Ladada also wrote a song for their beloved tour van Miles, called "My Van," which will be released next week along with an interactive music video.
"Heaven on the Rocks is a state of existence. You're floating through life, going through everyday activities, loving everything and everyone, pushing forward, and then BOOM! A rock hits, car troubles, relationship issues, unprovoked violence, political turmoil," says Schlater. "There are a myriad of short-term remedies for the pain, and I hope this album can be one of them for you.”
For interview requests and other media inquiries, please contact Caitlin Pasko at email@example.com. Heaven On The Rocks is out on March 22 via Gold Robot Records.
"A shimmering kind of retro-fuzz pop that pulls
from both 60's soul and garage roc."
"The '60s crossed with the '90s, delivered with an immediacy that feels like right now."
"It’s obvious that [“Float Away”] is tied to a memory or feeling of euphoria."
- THE WILD HONEY PIE
"A blissful trip down a calm, winding river... Gorgeous, languid..."
- WONDERING SOUND
"Bursting with jangling guitars and a peppy melody, the track's ramshackle charm will have you hooked in no time."
- CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND
This lovely bubblegum pop jam is exquisitely composed, and presents an undeniably infectious tune... Songs like these come along every once in a while and cannot be overlooked."
- INDIE SHUFFLE
"Whether it's the half-paranoid lyrics, the scintillating guitar work, or the rhythm section's tendencies to veer off into near-tribal territor, 'Hi Five' finds myriad ways to stake out its position as a standout release."
- HEARTBREAKING BRAVERY