The Exciting Oak Cliff Band’s Third LP Reveals Continued Progression From An Act Renowned For Getting Crowds Dancing And Making Its Fans Feel Seen.
Despite releasing two thriving, glittery bedroom pop albums beforehand, Luna Luna’s just-released third album Flower Moon feels like just the beginning for the charming Oak Cliff band that’s helping create safe spaces for Hispanic communities.
Luna Luna, whose music is inspired by a ’70s disco and funk psychedelic, has quickly risen to prominence as one of the most well-known indie bands in Dallas. Its romantic tunes, slick fashions and colorful music videos have branded them as one of the most crafty acts out in the scene — but those certainly aren’t the only things that make Luna Luna so notable. Its members’ Latinx roots, which stands as a draw all its own for a young area crowd looking to see faces familiar to their own under bright stage lights, means something more than just Latinx representation, but Latinx unity at large.
“We know what it’s like to come from a background of Latino parents, where you can’t really be yourself [and] there are things that you have to hide from them,” says keyboardist and vocalist Danny Bonilla. “[Our shows] are one of those places where you don’t have to be afraid to be you.”
On August 12, one day before the album’s release, Luna Luna hosted a Flower Moon listening party at Deep Ellum Art Co. with DJ sets and performances from their close Dallas-area music scene friends and collaborators Ariel & the Culture, Pretty Boy Aaron and Zayland. Drummer Kaylin Martinez says seeing so many Latinx fans come together for that event felt like a family reunion of sorts.
“It just felt like a really safe and beautiful place full of love,” Martinez says. “It was really cool that we got to play a part in that and bring everyone together — I can feel comfortable and I thought that was important.”
Flower Moon, which follows 2018’s For Lovers Only and 2019’s Carousel, very much represents a band coming to terms with itself. For one thing, the band thought it was about time it made an album with a moon-themed title since their name “luna” translates to “moon” in Spanish. Much like its first two albums, though, Flower Moon mostly represents everything that fans have come to love about Luna Luna — and then some. Its music and aesthetics are both dreamy and glamorous, but Flower Moon has a more enhanced and elevated production with all tracks differing from each other.
The groovy, synth-pop album includes “Golden” featuring Pretty Boy Aaron, “One Thing” featuring The Undercover Dream Lovers and its latest single “Early Morning.” All 10 tracks, which combine to run at just under 26 minutes, stand as a perfect blend of peachy, lovey-dovey R&B-pop and outer space-inspired funky instrumentals with a little bit of a sweet Latin taste on the side.
In other words: It’s music to dance to.
“The album is really about embracing your feelings and being in the moment,” says frontman Kevin “Kavvi” Gonzalez, “and also remembering that they don’t last forever — it’s just a moment in time.”
For an album that was written during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, its theme is certainly a fitting one. Luna Luna had just wrapped up its Carousel tour two weeks into March 2020 before COVID-19 caused a major lockdown that canceled its scheduled SXSW performance for later that month. For Luna Luna’s members, the pandemic offered them a time where they could really sit down with their feelings and figure out ways to stay connected as a band.
“We didn’t have the luxury of just being in the same room together,” Bonilla says. “I remember there were a couple of times where me and Kavvi would have to Facetime like, ‘Alright, mute your mic. I’m gonna play it and I’m going to put you really close to the speaker and you let me know what you think.'”
This year, though, the band won’t have to stick to FaceTime. In fact, Luna Luna is hitting the road with BOYO, Alex Siegel and Estereomance for its Flower Moon tour in November, starting things off in Santa Monica, California, before concluding a month later in its hometown of Dallas.
Despite COVID-19 cases rising, the tour is still scheduled to happen — and at new places the band hasn’t played before.
“I think one of the biggest parts of our band is live performance,” says bassist Ryan Gordon. “I think that’s a really special way to experience us, and I think we’re all looking forward to getting back out there.”