LOCAL UNDERGROUND: Santa Barbara-based trio Hoover Dan is about as under the radar as it gets these days. Unsigned and without an album to its name, the band’s primary source of publicity is its no-frills MySpace page showcasing four catchy and melodic pop-rock tracks that fit snugly into the indie niche that has made groups like the Shins semi-household names. Formed in 2005, the laid-back band describes its recording process as “full of martinis, beer, and sessions of Frisbee” and vows to release its debut album-as well as sparkly leotards bearing the band’s insignia-within the next few months. In the meantime, Hoover Dan is playing alongside The Boticellis, a great up-and-coming San Francisco outfit that expertly combines sweeping arrangements and narrative lyricism. Grab a cup o’ joe and catch both of these promising young bands at Muddy Waters Cafe, 508 E. Haley St., on Wednesday, October 3 at 8 p.m. For more info call 966-9328. -Joel Aurora
- When: Sunday, September 30, 2007, 7 p.m.
- Where: SOhO, 1221 State St., Santa Barbara, CA
- Cost: $8
- Age limit: Not available
THE COMEBACK KIDS: After a two-year hiatus, multi-talented singer-songwriter Sean McCue returned to the music scene with the 2005 release of his debut solo effort, Apart. The Santa Barbara native stopped recording after his stint in the alt-rock band Summercamp, which experienced moderate mainstream success on Madonna’s Maverick record label during the late ‘90s. With Summercamp now defunct, McCue-a guitarist, pianist, and vocalist of impressive range-has crafted his own broad, guitar-based alternative record, brimming with lyrics that are melancholy without being whiny. The artist will co-headline a show alongside another band returning from a hiatus (albeit a much longer one): the eclectic and iconic ‘80s band 17 Pygmies. It all goes down at SOhO (1221 State St.) on Sunday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. Visit sohosb.com or call 962-7776 for more info. Â--JA
JAZZERCISE: The three tracks available on local experimental jazz musician Colter Frazier‘s web page bear delightfully ambiguous titles like “Banana Sandwich,” “Ballad,” and “Vignette 2.” Much like Frazier’s career, these songs are both deliberate and diverse, with a healthy dose of playfulness and plenty of mystery. A local saxophonist and all-around jazz aficionado, Frazier recently returned from recording Bakash-an album of experimental, bass-heavy music in Cairo, Egypt, for the Lebanese record label Incognito. He is also locally renowned for his role as a creator and curator of the bimonthly Experimental Music Night at the Biko House in Isla Vista, where he has become known for his collaborative performances with local jazz greats, including Rob Wallace, Hal Onserud, Miles Jay, Max Katz, and Jim Connolly. Frazier’s personal style is classic, contemporary, and creative, as he fuses traditional jazz fundamentals with elements of everything from electronic to indie rock to Middle Eastern music. There is a palpably frenetic energy in everything he does, whether it is live or recorded, and his strength clearly lies in his ability to create music that is wholly experimental without being off-putting. His music may be innovative, but his execution is classical, and that makes for a sonic experience that is both creative and comfortable. Check out Colter Frazier’s Jazz Standards Trio at Bricks Cafe (509 State St.) on Wednesday, October 3. Call 899-8855. -Mollie Vandor
HOMEGROWN ROOTS: Head on down to Velvet Jones (523 State St.) on Thursday, September 27 for a sampling of everyone’s roots music makers. Santa Barbara’s own Iration will be hitting the stage to help celebrate the last weekend of freedom for all those students returning to UCSB for fall. Proud keepers of the classic reggae and rock sound, this seven-man, drum- and bass-driven ensemble has made a name for itself as the area’s truest reggae band. And with its recently released album, No Time for Rest, already making waves in the community, there is little doubt that these young musicians will not fail to bring the beats. The show starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $10. Call 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com for details. -Aly Comingore