HOME TO US: Po’ Girl‘s unique sound is born from the band’s massive onstage orchestration. The instrumental lineup includes drums, upright and electric bass, acoustic and electric guitar, keyboard, violin, clarinet, piano, accordion, banjo, and yes, even whistling. And when all four members (Allison Russell, Trish Klein, Awna Teixeira, and Diona Davies) spread the vocalizing around, one can count on a Po’ Girl show to be anything but staid. From soulful a cappella to a rambunctious blend of country/folk, an evening spent with the Canadian quartet is one of celebration.
Much has happened in the Po’ Girl world since the group last paid Santa Barbara a visit as part of the Sings Like Hell series. In February, they released a brand new album titled Home To You. And while the record is driven by a longing for home while on the road, the ladies packed up their instruments for another tour shortly after completing the disc. On their most recent tour, they’ve met audiences in Australia, North America, the U.K., and Africa, though such a schedule is nothing new. Having toured with the likes of David Byrne, Richie Havens, Ani DiFranco, and Michael Franti throughout the years, it’s no surprise the Po’ Girl folks are a bit road worn. Luckily for us, the band will be on tour just a little while longer. On Thursday, May 24, they grace SOhO with their presence. Don’t miss it. -Brett Leigh Dicks
HIP-HOP’S SICKETH SENSE: While we’ve got plenty of rocking in Santa Barbara, we’re still a bit lacking on hip-hop. Luckily, Intuition-who came from North Pole, Alaska, before settling here-is on the scene to help raise our collective rap consciousness. His debut album, Stories About Nothing, which is already garnering good reviews from across the country, shows his distinctly uninhibited lyrical flow lays down nicely with the hand-crafted beats of Equalibrum and the turntable styles of murjONE. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of a hip-hop crowd in S.B., so Intuition has to head north and south to play live shows. The next one is on Thursday, May 24, when he heads to San Luis Obispo’s Downtown Brewing Company for a show with the supa-hot Brother Ali, who’s being supported by Psalm One and the Boom Bap Project. See myspace.com/intuition. -Matt Kettmann
SOUTH BY SANTA BARBARA: The multitalented Harry Connick Jr. makes an appearance at the Arlington this Sunday evening, May 20. Connick is currently touring in support of Oh, My NOLA, a tribute record to his hometown of New Orleans. The album includes original songs inspired by the city, as well as older songs that reflect his memories of growing up in New Orleans. All in all, the record is as earnest and heartfelt expression as you’re likely to hear these days, and with his Big Band in tow, this performance should be one of the highlights of the season’s pop music lineup. -Max Burke
THREE FOR ONE: Santa Barbara-based Corporate Nightmare Records and Ventura-based Beehouse Records team up to present indie rockers Zach Madden, The Spires, and Kinothek for an enjoyable, if slightly whiny, evening of fresh talent on Wednesday, May 23, at SOhO. Madden, who’s been compared to Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie, has a new album he’ll be pulling from, and based on past work, it should be exciting. Can’t say I’ve heard Kinothek’s stuff, but the press on SOhO’s Web site puts the band in league with The Killers and The Cure. That’s quite a claim, but if it’s true, that makes them alright by me. The Spires are a Ventura-based band whose music has that beautiful gloom we all secretly love when no one’s watching. It’s a great mix and at 5 bucks, it’s definitely worth the effort. The show starts at 8 p.m. -Greg Nichols