SPACE OUT: When it rains, it pours, or so the saying goes. And this Friday, there’s a musical storm a-brewin’. Early on in the night, the Santa Barbara Bowl hosts what I’ve long been calling the concert event of the season, featuring Portugal. The Man and indie-rock powerhouse The National. (For more on that, see page here.) But for the ambitious (read: slightly crazy) among us, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Immediately following the Bowl’s 10 p.m. closing time, doors open at Isla Vista Theater for the first installment of Something Else. Part concert series, part audiovisual experience, this newly launched collaboration between Magic Lantern Films and the I.V. quarterly music magazine Speak Volumes is all about the immersive listening experience — something I can wholly get behind. On Friday night, they’ll present Peaking Lights live in concert. There will also be projections. Lots of ’em. And I’m betting they’re going to be gloriously out-there.
For the uninitiated, Peaking Lights is the namesake of hubby and wife Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis, who used to live in San Francisco, then Wisconsin, and are now making music in L.A. alongside and inspired by their two young kiddos. Over the course of their six-plus years as a band, Peaking Lights have released three fantastically psychedelic LPs — 2010’s Space Primitive, 2011’s 936, and 2012’s Lucifer — as well as a handful of EPs, cassettes, and dub-flavored reworkings. In chatting with Coyes last week, there are also apparently new songs headed down the pike. “The next record is nearly done. We’re just mixing it now,” he said, phoning in from a recording studio in Los Angeles. “The show in Isla Vista is our first one with a whole bunch of these new songs,” he laughed, “so we’ll see what happens.”
For the as-yet-untitled album, the pair holed up in their Echo Park home for months, writing and recording in between parenting duties. “Before the kids, we had a lot of time to write music together,” Coyes recalled. “Now it’s like we’re in the same house, but we’re writing our record through the mail.”
While he’s hesitant to compare the new jams to previous Peaking Lights outputs, Coyes insists that it still very much sounds like “them,” but perhaps with a little more sonic polish. And for a band that manages to so seamlessly meld the spaced-out psychedelic realm with heavy-vibed dancefloor grooves, I can only imagine the gussied-up version will pack quite the heady punch.
“We’ve always been into the idea of connecting to something bigger, whether that’s nature or big ethereal concepts,” Coyes said. “I may take months in a room by myself banging on drums, but at the same time I want people to connect with the music we make. It’s an awesome feeling. We make music for ourselves, but we also make music for other people. That’s kind of always been our goal. It’s the ultimate act of giving.”
Peaking Lights play an all-ages show at I.V. Theater (960 Embarcadero del Norte) on Friday, April 25, at 10 p.m. Visit nightout.com/events/somethingelse for tickets and info.