The Stars Are Aligned

STELLaR’s STELLAR: Imagine, if you will, a
British alternative rock band from the early ’90s. Now add layers
of delay and reverb to the vocals, effectively smearing
neutra-sweet lyrics into a gooey sonic concoction. Feature a bouncy
bass line weaving in and out of lush guitars. While you’re at it,
forget the band was from England, because they’re from Chicago, and
stop thinking of Feeder or
Supergrass, because this is HELLEN
STELLaR
. HELLEN STELLaR, currently unsigned and based in
L.A., plays the type of alternative rock that one might listen to
while getting washed out to sea. The group plays SOhO, Thursday,
May 4, in yet another indie rock show for the venue. (Earlier in
the month, most of you missed excellent sets from The
Shys
and The Colour. And in a couple
weeks, prepare for Nine Black Alps, fresh from
Coachella.) Opening will be OneRepublic and
Franklin for Short.  — Rebecca Riley

NO COKE SNIFFING: Reggae superstar Pato
Banton
finds his way to Reggae Tuesdays at Cooney’s this
coming May 2, and his no-coke-sniffing, only-sinsemilla-smoking
style will be backed by none other than Half Pint
from Bad Brains and the Long Beach Dub
All-Stars
, better known as
what-happened-to-Sublime-after-Brad
Nowell-overdosed. It’s sure to be the best Reggae Tuesday since
KJEE’s The Cool Ruler moved his weekly operation
to Anacapa Street.  — Matt Kettmann

RUN TO THE HARD TO FIND: Two new-to-the-scene
bands will be playing this May 3 at the Hard to Find Showplace in
Goleta. Run Run Run, whose debut album is set to
release next month, kicks the night off with its distinctive
psychedelic style, usually enhanced with trippy lighting. Then
comes Le Meu Le Purr, who claim to be for the
music listener whose hopes and dreams have been squandered by the
soulless years of the ’90s. Show starts at 8 p.m.  — Hudson
Hornick

EARL WARREN DILATION: As consistent as
Dilated Peoples has been with each of their four
albums, no one has quite awarded them the commercial success they
might’ve hoped. Their newest opus, 20/20, like the previous three,
has some missteps but even more superb executions, adding to their
lengthy list of classic hip-hop cuts. But it’s Dilated’s live
performances where the group truly shines. Whether it’s DJ
Babu
’s turntable wizardry or Rakaa and
Evidence’s crowd-rocking party raps (delivered so
you can understand what they’re saying), this L.A. trio knows how
to entertain. If you’re lucky, you might catch some (real)
freestyles from a couple of hip-hop’s better emcees who never
skipped the fundamentals. It’s hard to imagine that anyone will
walk away disappointed from their show at Earl Warren Showgrounds
this weekend, on Saturday, April 29.  — Svante Nilson

BLUES TRAVELLER: Talk to any emerging blues
exponent about influence and names like Eric
Clapton
and Muddy Waters are bound to
arise. When Tommy Castro picked up the guitar,
those were the names that helped pave his musical path. But by
bringing his own musical virtuosity to the masses, the Californian
native has countless admirers of his own: Carlos
Santana
invited him onstage and proclaimed, “the blues is
in good hands;” John Lee Hooker can be heard on
his recordings; and B.B. King insisted Castro open
for him on national tours. Not only is his latest riveting
recording Soul Shaker a good indication of what some of music’s
greats have seen in Tommy Castro, but his appearance at SOhO on
April 27 gives us the chance to see him live.  — Brett Leigh
Dicks

NOT-CAREFUL ZONE: One of the surprise delights
of this year’s musical landscape came last month, with the
appearance of Very Be Careful at UCSB’s
MultiCultural Center. Infectious energy was delivered, piping hot
and unadulterated, via a livewire accordionist, three
percussionists, and a bassist. Chalk another one up for the raw,
spirit-raising power of indigenous, unplugged traditional music,
this from Colombia. The young Los Angeles-based band is a dedicated
purveyor of the rustic Vallenato style, a fascinating mix of
European, African, and Colombian influences. Check ’em out at SOhO
on May 3.  — Josef Woodard

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