SHUT UP AND PLAY: While Isla Vista’s BIKO house has long been home to some of the area’s more avant-garde musical performances, this Saturday’s show promises to bring bands the likes of which we rarely see in these parts. Three bands, no words, and full sets of epic, atmospheric, experimental rock along the lines of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Explosions in the Sky. But the fact that these kids aren’t opening their mouths doesn’t mean they’re not worth listening to. Hailing from Massachusetts, Sparrows Swarm and Sing is a five-man band that pairs the standard drum and guitar with a cello, xylophone, glockenspiel, and pianorgan in their dreamy, quasi-melodic compositions. The band is currently touring the nation in promotion of its sophomore release, O’Shenandoah, Mighty Death Will Find Me, which features four sprawling movements instead of the typical set of a dozen or so poppy tracks.
Also in the lineup is This Will Destroy You, a Texas band that peppers its instrumental tracks with the occasional sample. The quartet has drawn comparisons with Mogwai, though their newest album, Young Mountain, uses a sharp-edged thrash to express all the emotion most bands do with their voices. The result is moving and sometimes harrowing — somewhat like the soundtrack to a dark, unknown art film. Goleta’s own Hang Tough Rootbeard Collective rounds out the mix. Indeed, the July 29 gig will be atypical but nonetheless exciting for BIKO regulars and downright exceptional for Santa Barbara in general. — Drew Mackie
LIFE AND LEGENDS: San Francisco singer and musician Hyim — whose name means “life” in Hebrew — creates a mellow, funky sound reflecting the various beats found around the world. Juxtaposing suave reggae and Latin rhythms with upbeat hip-hop, Hyim produces natural vibes rooted in his globetrotting, hippie background. Classically trained on the piano and guitar, Hyim has circled the globe, picking up musical influences from such cultures as New Zealand, Cuba, Persia, India, and Turkey. He sounds a bit like Jamiroquai, Wyclef Jean, and Paul Simon fused into an urban world beat. Returning to Santa Barbara, Hyim will perform solo at Legends Bar and Lounge on Friday. You’ll be grooving, but you’ll be in awe too, because when not playing with the Fat Foakland Orchestra, Hyim loops the percussion, vocals, keyboard, and guitar to play all the instruments himself. — Stephanie Cain
SUMMERTIME BLUES: The red hot of the summer heat may be the most appropriate color for Santa Barbara’s current climate, but that doesn’t mean the city shouldn’t spend at least one night with the blues. The L.A. Juke Joint Blues Fest ’06 brings together some of Southern California’s most talented practitioners of the genre at Earl Warren Showgrounds this Saturday. Featuring the Reverend Sonny Green, who’s most famous for the perfectly titled hit “Don’t Write a Check With Your Mouth (That Your Body Can’t Cash)”; South Central’s Joyce Lawton, a sparkling sapphire among female blues singers; Ray Brooks, a blues underground phenom; and the up-and-coming South Side Slim, who owes as much to traditional blues artists as groovier ones. Backing up each will be renowned “gutbucket blues” guitarist Joe Kincaid and his band, The Soul Brothers. The show, sponsored by the Santa Barbara Blues Society, takes place on Saturday, July, 29 at 8:30 p.m. — DM
FIESTA FIRSTS: Don’t miss the kickoff party for the Old Spanish Days Fiesta on Wednesday, August 2, when Spencer the Gardener unleashes a Spanish-tongued fury in the beer gardens at Casa de la Guerra. It’ll be a CD release party for the band’s Fiesta album, a collection that they’ve honed in more than a decade of playing for Fiesta crowds in De la Guerra Plaza. They also play the DLG stage on Saturday, August 5, and then at Reds on Sunday, August 6, for an afternoon barbecue. See more in the paper next week on that album. And speaking of Fiesta, SOhO’s hosting a series to coincide with the town’s biggest party, and it starts August 2 with the Robben Ford Band, who’ll drop some rockin’ blues starting at 8 p.m. — Matt Kettmann
Y MAS: On Friday, July 28, the Creekside plays host to the Have Nots and the Snobs, whose guitarist Chris explained, “If Joey Ramone and Igor Stravinsky squared off against Hank Williams and Mike Watt in a barroom brawl, we’d be the band on stage.” ’Nuff said. … Steve Reynolds, Gus Black, and AM hit up the Rocks scene this evening, Thursday, July 27. … The Wildcat’s DJ series continues tonight with 611 Records’ Nigel Richards and Chicago’s houseman Gene Farris, before a Sunday night party for Christopher Dixon’s after-wedding party, deejayed by none other than Baltimore’s Charles Feelgood. — MK