Lovely and Amazing

band1yt6.jpgBLESSED UNION: While United by Sound may most easily be classified as electronica, the label does the band a disservice in that it implies something less organic and substantial than what the San Francisco duo offers. Frontwoman Jeni Ivey sings with a snarl that verges into what you might expect from a jazz vocalist or perhaps an American-born Shirley Manson. Ivey’s voice, coupled with a mix of various synthetic accompaniments, makes an electronic-inspired sound that doesn’t overpower the organic elements. While not as eminently danceable as Ladytron, with whom the band is often compared, the effect makes for a more laid-back sound that pulls from various genres to create a more interesting sound. Expect United by Sound to be belting out new material, as their self-titled sophomore release dropped earlier this year. The band plays at Rocks on Friday, October 6.  — Drew Mackie

GYPSY JAM: A quintet of local musicians with a passion for gypsy swing have banded together to give Santa Barbara their take on the obscure genre. Perhaps most familiar to music fans from the work of Django Reinhardt, gypsy swing fuses the sounds of the traditional music of the Roma people with the modern stylings of Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. The result, as played by Les Gendarmes du Swing, is something simultaneously familiar and exotic. Hear it for yourself at Rocks on Thursday, October 5.  — DM

FEMININE FANFARE: SOhO serves up a weekend of tag-team acoustics. First on the list are California soul-rockers the Mother Hips, back on the road after a four-year respite. The spacey quintet will be playing Friday, October 6 and are armed with new material from their sixth full-length album, the first since 2001’s Green Hills of Earth. Formed nearly 15 years ago, the Mother Hips faced a four-year hiatus that came close to an indefinite parting, but according to frontman Tim Bluhm, they missed playing together too much to hang up their instruments. Following the Mother Hips on Sunday, October 8 will be surf-rockers The Beautiful Girls, who have been trekking across the country with new material from their sophomore effort We’re Already Gone. The acoustic Australians have had quite the roster of touring partners in their five excursions across the U.S., but this time around they will be joined by Al Howard and the K-23 Orchestra, as well as Todd Hannigan. The Beautiful Girls’ latest release has stayed true to the raw and eclectic style established by 2003’s Learn Yourself, though a prominently darker sound keeps them fresh. Check ’em out before the Aussies head back home.  — Levi Michaels

LIKE LUNACY? In what will probably be the glitziest masquerade ball ever to waltz through Santa Barbara, the Lunar Masque Ball atop Hotel Andalucía will give locals a chance to dress fancy and wear a freaky mask. Rocks promoter Justin Michael designed the event to benefit Santa Barbara’s Westside Boys & Girls Club. Beyond the fire dancers and various “entertainment surprises” that Michael has promised attendees, local Latin guitarist Andrew Jackson will be on hand with his Duende project, which features flamenco sounds fused with Celtic and Hawaiian influences. The band also includes Brian Jacobs on percussion, Bear Erickson on jazz guitar, and Barbara Coventry on violin. When the masks come off, attendees can attend the Lunar Masque after-party at Indochine. Tickets are available for $40 at Scavenge or through Tickets can also be purchased for $50 on Friday, October 6, the night of the event.  — DM

FAREWELL TO SUMMER: Summer has officially wound down, so Girsh Park’s End of Summer concert series is winding down, too. Grab your blankets, chairs, and picnic dinners and catch the Ulysses S. Jasz Band in the last installment of this year’s series, on Sunday, October 8. The band has been a staple at The James Joyce for years, and has developed quite a reputation for its foot-stomping brand of traditional jazz. The free concert starts at 4 p.m. and is sponsored by the City of Goleta, Andres H. Burnett Foundation, and the Foundation for Girsh Park.  — LM

SWEET SONGBIRD: Striking songstress Quincy Coleman doesn’t make sense. The daughter of actor Dabney Coleman, she has never let her model-pretty looks prevent her from developing some serious musical talent. Beyond that, she’s earned acclaim from such in-the-knows as Dolly Parton and NPR’s Nic Harcourt. Maybe it’s because Coleman’s acoustic sounds draw on more sources than the average girl with a guitar (think slow surf punk with a hint of the exotic). Then again, maybe Coleman is just lucky. You may recognize her single “Afraid” from the 2005 film Crash. Catch her and hear the rest of her repertoire at Rocks on Saturday, October 7.  — DM

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