DON’T MESS WITH VELTEXAS: A new year almost always brings with it plenty of artists ripe and ready to crawl out of the woodwork and back onto the stage. So far, it seems like 2009 is no different than those years that came before it, with a boatload of old favorites preparing themselves for another round of musical takeover. First up, the lovely boys of the Veltexans (myspace.com/veltexans) are back and ready for action, starting this Thursday, January 29, at Sans Souci (21 S. Chestnut St.) in Ventura, then returning to their old stompin’ grounds on Tuesday, February 3, at the Wildcat Lounge (15 W. Ortega St.). The three-piece, best known for their relentless tour schedules and frequent teaming with S.B.’s Youth and Beauty Brigade (myspace.com/theybb), have big plans for ‘09, including a springtime jaunt to South by Southwest (sxsw.com) in March and a new album, scheduled to debut sometime this year. Considering the bouncy, in-your-face pop rock gems that came off of 2007’s Everything’s the Matter, I can only imagine what these guys have offer this time out. For a sneak peek of new material, check them out at one of three upcoming shows they have scheduled around town between now and next month. Visit veltexans.com for music, show dates, and additional information.
MAKING WAVES: And one cannot mention huge returns in ‘09 without noting the applause-worthy schedule currently being kept by S.B.’s own Coral Sea. Between full band shows (last Thursday’s slot at the Film Fest opening party; Sunday’s set with the Magic Bullets; a show with The New Pornographers’ A.C. Newman at SOhO in February) and frontman Rey Villalobos‘s newfound penchant for solo gigs (last Saturday he opened for Kaki King and he’ll be playing with Angela Correa next month at Muddy Waters), the guys are keeping mighty busy-and not even leaving town to do it. The driving force behind all this hard work: the band’s 2008 self-released full-length, Firelight. A dazzling and delightfully upbeat collection, Firelight finds Villalobos and his cohorts reaching to new and interesting places, both lyrically and in their song arrangements. Look for the album online at coralsea.net, and stay up-to-date on what the fellas are up to by visiting myspace.com/thecoralseamusic.
Last, but most certainly not least, in my list of comebacks to catch this month is the Ventura-based (but Santa Barbara frequenting) Lee Koch. The harmonica-toting powerhouse has just put the finishing touches on his debut LP, which is up for grabs now at a merch table near you.
From the selections I’ve heard, it appears Koch has crafted a dizzying and dance-worthy collection of songs that shift between upbeat pop rock and contemplative acoustic ditties to twangy, bluesy soul without ever skipping a beat. Add to that the fact that the guy can shred it live, and you’ve yourself an act not worth missing. Koch will play Ventura’s rooftop W2O Lounge atop Watermark on Main (598 E. Main St.) this Thursday, January 29, at 8 p.m. Visit myspace.com/lekochmusic.com for details and additional show dates.
HELPING HANDS: Last November, the threat and aftermath of the Tea Fire caused KCSB 91.9 FM to close down shop on its annual fund drive. Since then, the station has been hard at work, both in its programming and its commitment to providing quality and cohesive news and emergency coverage to the tri-counties. This Monday, February 2, KCSB will call “game-on” and resume its 2008 drive, which will now run through Monday, February 9. The station will also be donating 25 percent of the drive’s earnings to Tea Fire survivors Lance and Carla Hoffman. For more information, visit kcsb.org. And to donate, call 893-2424.