CHILLWAVE RIDERS: So you wanna see some live music? Well, it’s your lucky week. Sure, this Thursday marks the much-anticipated start of the 2012 Santa Barbara Bowl season, not to mention the very — very, very — sold-out return of Radiohead, but as they say, that’s only the beginning. The weekend presses on with two more at-capacity dates: Florence and the Machine at the S.B. Bowl and M. Ward at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, both on Saturday, April 14. For those less likely to plan ahead, though, the highlights just keep on coming. Case in point: this Sunday’s can’t-be-missed tUnE-yArDs show at SOhO or Neon Indian’s return to the 805, taking place on Wednesday, April 18, at SOhO.
Those who caught Phoenix’s stint at the S.B. Bowl in 2010 might remember Neon Indian, who delivered a solid, if painfully under-attended, opening set prior to the French electro masters’ headlining gig. For the unacquainted, though, the story is one worth telling. The project of Denton, Texas, twenty-something Alan Palomo, Neon Indian burst onto the national music scene back in 2009 with Psychic Chasms, Palomo’s slinky and electronically blissed-out debut album. Self-composed and self-recorded, Chasms fit perfectly alongside fellow chillwave outfits like Washed Out and Toro y Moi, and it was filled to the brim with the kind of funky, bleep-and-bloop–happy sonic experiments that can transition from afternoon BBQ to late-night dance party with ease. For the follow-up, last year’s Era Extraña, Palomo dished up another 12 tracks of synth-heavy, static-filled, spacey electro rock. This time around, though, Neon Indian’s oeuvre got a nice little polishing, thanks to some mixing from Dave Fridmann (MGMT, OK Go, The Flaming Lips) and an arsenal of quality recording gear.
Fancy A-list producers or no, though, Neon Indian’s best moments happen onstage — no small feat for a band coming out of the so-called “laptop movement.” Your best bet for this week? Take a little time out of your busy schedule, and check it out for yourself. I guarantee a dance party of epic proportions. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com.
REACHING OUT: Closer to home, this weekend also brings with it the CD-release party for S.B. singer-songwriter Jaan Landheer’s solo debut, Tristero. Based largely on his job as a street outreach worker, Tristero is brimming with life-affirming messages and poignant storytelling that’s inspired by the homeless teens and adults whom Landheer encounters daily. But rather than wear some sociopolitical message on his sleeve, Landheer uses his day job as a jumping-off point for some seriously soulful music making. Sonically, Tristero plays out like an atmospheric folk-rock collection with a slight hip-hop leaning, calling to mind the ballads of Damien Rice, Dispatch, and at times, even a young Chris Martin. Head over to Red’s (211 Helena Ave.) on Saturday, April 14, at 8 p.m. to catch Landheer live and pick up a copy of Tristero. Call (805) 966-5906 for info.
MORE SHOWS: On Wednesday, April 18, beloved S.B. jazz luminary — and seasonal Jazz at the Lobero fixture — Charles Lloyd returns to the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.) with his New Quartet and Greek vocalist Maria Farantouri. The collective will deliver all-new arrangements that work to sonically fuse ancient Grecian music with Lloyd’s modern compositions and style. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call (805) 963-0761 or visit loberotheatre.com.
Also this week, UCSB’s Arts & Lectures plays host to Ohio-born folk rockers The David Mayfield Parade, who will plug in for a free show at UCSB’s Hub on Friday, April 13, at 3 p.m. The band is currently touring in support of their self-titled debut release, an upbeat and energetic mix of country-tinged road tunes and lovelorn folk ballads. (Think the Avett Brothers, but light on the harmonies.) For more info, visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
And on Thursday, April 12, drown your Radiohead woes at The Brewhouse (229 W. Montecito St.), where Alec Gross, Will Knox, and Jake Hill will dish up a rollicking night of country, folk, and Americana. The party starts at 8:30 p.m. Call (805) 884-4664 for details — and don’t forget your cowboy boots.