Please read on, enjoy, and then go to independent.com/bands to hear the songs and vote for your favorites. Happy listening!
Rock and Pop
A fresh new twist on experimental rock and power pop. This innovative trio is the youngest on the block, but don’t let their age fool you. Their established psychedelic-meets-groove rock won’t linger below the radar for long. Visit myspace.com/3matic.
Spiraling pedal work and emotive vocals blend elements of nu rock, ’90s grunge, and Kravitz-inspired guitar solos that seem more fit for arena shows than an open mike night, and with a recently completed demo, this foursome may be well on its way there. Visit anapamusic.com.
The brainchild of Rob Taylor (vocals, guitar), Brad Altavilla (bass), and Chris Agh (drums), this straightforward rock collective is made up of self-described shoe gazers who incorporate classic rock riffs and modern alternative influences. Visit myspace.com/catokmusic.
Despite their in-your-face moniker, leading lady PussyWillow Sparks and her band craft socially conscious songs that are understated, poignant, and melodic; the perfect combination of punk rock attitude and alt-country sentimentality. Visit myspace.com/clitorectomyandthemutilators.
The current lineup of this talented art-rock band includes Rey Villalobos (vocals, guitar), James Garza (guitar), James Van Arsdale (bass, vocals), Austin Beade (percussion), and Eric Ahlgren (keyboards). In 2005, The Coral Sea’s sublime masterpiece, Volcano and Heart, was released on Red Clover Records. Visit thecoralsea.net.
Raw and aggressive garage rock at its finest, this three-piece band will scream its way into your heart with a sound that’s a little bit T.Rex, a little bit Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and a whole lot of dance-worthy sonic wailing. Check out “Revelation Revelation.” Visit myspace.com/cosmicrevelators.
With only a two-song demo to their name, these synth-lovin’ music makers are already making (new) waves in the hipster community. Think Moving Units with less sexual frustration and more emotional baggage. Visit myspace.com/thedancebaby.
Part jazz fusion, part atmospheric rock, and part noisy jam band, this group of Goleta-dwelling cohorts refuses to take itself too seriously. The proof: the oddly explicit “Play ‘Til You’re Gay.” Visit myspace.com/thedickpoythresscoop.
Hard rocking, punk-infused riffs and raucous, in-your-face electric guitar solos cross genres to create a sound that is 100 percent rock ‘n’ roll. Cuts like the lick-heavy “30 Years” are just begging to be moshed to. Visit myspace.com/dyingcrooners.
If the modern-day incarnate of Headbanger’s Ball had a theme song, it might sound something like EverneveR. With one foot planted firmly in the Alice in Chains-era past and another pointed toward the future, the band’s recent release, Rest for the Wicked, is the kind of music that’s made for fist pumping. Visit myspace.com/evernevermusic.
Sounding like a slightly less political Pennywise trying to recover from the worst breakup ever, Floater Six claims it wants to bring the fun back to punk music. Visit myspace.com/floatersix.
This bluesy jam rock outfit is as happy to put its collective spin on a Neil Young staple as it is to fuse its own intricate harmonies with some good, ol’ fashioned, harmonica-tinged tunes. Visit myspace.com/harlequins.
This alterna-rock three-piece group brings to mind Silversun Pickups and something a bit grungier. Their catchy brand of pop rock is captured best on tunes like “The Kicks.” Visit myspace.com/hooverdan.
Currently at work on their debut album, these Santa Barbara youngsters have already been featured on local rock station KJEE, and their sound seems destined for Warped Tour greatness. Visit myspace.com/killuglyradioband.
Corporate Nightmare’s golden child of the Central Coast alt-rock scene sounds like the love child of Ben Folds and Eddie Vedder; piano-driven, guitar-fueled, and lyrically charged. Visit myspace.com/kinothek.
Roaring into existence in 2001, the band now divides its time between Goleta and L.A. Consisting of James Weir (vocals, guitars), Dan Harshman (drums), David McKay (guitar, synth, vocals), Eugene Row (synth), and Mark Legaspi (bass), the group’s elliptically epicene vocals and synth sounds makes it a sonic second cousin to The Rapture. Check out “I Died in a Mall” and “So Stay in Love.” Visit kissingtigers.com.
This five-piece alt-rock collective mixes haunting lyrics and aggressive instrumentation- la the Smashing Pumpkins or Soundgarden-with delicate piano and gentle vocals that call to mind bands like Keane and Third Eye Blind. Visit myspace.com/magistir.
This is California rock that harkens back to the Eagles and later Beach Boys albums, interspersed with bluesy guitars and jazz piano. Check out original tunes like “Kiss the Sky” for a taste. Visit markrobertsband.com.
This S.B. reggae-rock fusion band’s songs blend positive lyrics with delicious dub overlays and a rock backbeat in a Bob Marley-meets-Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers kind of groove. Earlier this year their eponymous, jammy EP dropped and they’ve since been a regular feature at venues like Sandbar and Whisky Richards. Visit myspace.com/naturalincense.
Meet metal with a sense of humor. Think DragonForce meets In Flames, only with an infusion of goblins, pirates, and trolls. Mythical creatures aside, the band’s practiced vocals, catchy riffs, and brutal sound makes it a sight to see, no joke. Visit myspace.com/nekrogoblikon.
Self-described purveyor of the “bedroom rock” genre, Nice: On Ice (NOI to the plugged-in) prides itself on jangly, melodic pop hooks and wide-eyed, lovelorn lyricism. Visit myspace.com/niceonicemusic.
These modern rockers are armed with a positive message and a penchant for emotive lyricism that calls to mind an orchestrally driven Incubus one minute, and a somber Scott Weiland the next. Visit myspace.com/ona.
This cacophonous melting pot of jazzy guitars, funky bass lines, aggressive violins, and otherworldly electronics combine to create a worldly sound that strays into the realm of experimental rock even while offering up thought-provoking, bluesy lyrics. Visit myspace.com/thebandoso.
Born out of the ever-shifting Isla Vista music scene, these experimental punksters offer up high-energy thrash-rock with a message. If the lads of Tiger Army met the fellas of Rise Against and decided to put on a metal show, this would be it. Visit myspace.com/outofstatepirates.
This melodic and strummy, lo-f i indie outfit crafts songs reminiscent of Nick Drake sans the despair and Neutral Milk Hotel minus the theatrics. Upbeat and simplistic tunes (like the catchy “Quicksand”) make up its self-titled full-length disk. Visit myspace.com/thepompomsmusic.
A reminder of why old-school metal was so darn popular. Retrodemon pulls up the roots of metal, bringing us back to the good old days of early Metallica and Black Sabbath with powerful riffs and clean vocals. Visit myspace.com/retrodemon.
A true byproduct of the Southern California lifestyle, this reggae-meets-surf-rock (with the occasional pinch of punk) outfit creates some serious beach-side party tunes. Visit myspace.com/riverstatic.
A celebration of death metal at its core, this group’s solid drumming and high-energy instrumentals and vocals back up its classic sound. Visit myspace.com/roderickusher.
This alt-rock band delivers an alluring mix of raw sound, sophisticated instrumentation, and silky harmonies reminiscent of Pearl Jam, Incubus, and the Foo Fighters. Jon Styles’s mesmerizing and powerful vocals pull you into their lyrically heady songs. Visit myspace.com/jonstylesmusic.
“Eighteen years, six countries, 1,019 club dates, 537 backyard parties, five CDs, one gigantic car crash :” There’s perhaps no band more Santa Barbaran than Spencer the Gardener, whose brand of “California sun-kissed, Latin-tinged, genre-bending, big-band surf mariachi indie pop” is distinctively quirky and sonically unrivaled. They play SOhO on October 6. Visit spencerthegardener.com.
A playful, pop version of punk with a cat-like snarl and a bit of a bite. With vocals similar to The Donnas, Silent Meow makes up for its semi-absurd lyrics with a healthy dose of attitude and spunk. Visit myspace.com/silentmeow.
A delightfully schizophrenic mixture of Pink Floyd-style breakdowns, mesmerizing vocals, and the funky, upbeat melodies of Weezer. Bring the family; these up-and-coming indie rockers offer something for everyone. Visit myspace.com/silkhedge.
A refreshingly energetic cocktail of punk stylings mixed with funky breakdowns that deliver an altogether crunchy yet catchy sound. Think Cursive’s instrumentals, James Brown’s rhythms, fused with a DIY punk attitude. Visit myspace.com/springtimeiswartime.
Hard rock with a splash of metal and a pinch of harmony, StompRocket’s music roars like a wildfire of sound-swift and hypnotic with flickers of beauty. Check out their song “Bulletproof” for a proper introduction. Visit myspace.com/stomprocket.
Hauntingly attractive melodic rock with a hint of psychedelia. Lead singer Violet of the Pacific’s beautifully classic voice leaves behind the essence of hard alcohol and empty barstools. Visit myspace.com/strangebirdrocks.
Polished, punk-tinged pop rock that feels like the Von Bondies meets We Are Scientists, and looks like Danny Zuko if he were plucked straight out of auto shop and shoved into a Silver Lake dive bar. Visit myspace.com/themterribles.
Well on their way to dominating the modern rock airwaves, these former staples of the I.V. house party scene craft catchy hooks reminiscent of their contemporaries (Incubus, TV on the Radio) and old-school sentiments that hearken back to rock outfits of yore (STP, Metallica). Visit tripdavon.com.
If the Walkmen went off the garage rock deep end, the result would sound something like the Veltexans’ recently released Everything’s the Matter. Taking cues from British invasion purveyors and modern-day indie darlings, their brand of rock is about as infectious as it gets. Visit myspace.com/veltexans.
Nigerian-born John Ajao blends Afro-rhythms, sultry, positive lyricism, reggae-infused melodies, and hip-hop beats to create a sound that simultaneously emulates the brothers Marley, Common, and Beck circa “Tropicalia.” Visit myspace.com/johnajao.
The Isla Vista-dwellers of Boombox Orchestra have gathered a funkadelic following that’s nearly as outrageous as their raucous brass section. Their brand of jazzy, Mickey Avalon-esque party beats are embodied on tracks like “Lust Undertow” and “Uberfaded.” Visit myspace.com/boomboxorchestra.
The husband-and-wife hip-hop duo of Brent Brehony and Crista Carroll has mastered the art of call and response. Carroll’s angelic voice brings a feminine lightness, while Brehony’s gruff rhymes drive home Circle 13’s socio-political messages. Visit myspace.com/circle13music.
The offspring of numerous veteran S.B. reggae acts, Cornerstone embodies the concept of roots music. Fusing sounds of dancehall, dub, and ska, the group succeeds in bringing the sound of Jamaica to the West Coast with any of their numerous local performances. Visit myspace.com/cornerstoneroots.
The mysterious side project of Coyotes and Bourbon mastermind Mike McHugh, this faceless music maker has managed to blend reggae roots, techno funk, hip-hop beats, and a variety of guest vocalists together for the enjoyable, disjointed Coyotes and Bourbon II: The Rise of DJ?. Visit buzzardgodpublishing.com/buzzpages/djquestionmark.html.
A Santa Barbara nightlife staple, Matty Matt Moore is notorious for getting a party started. But there’s more to deejaying than good taste. Matt’s hip-hop mash-ups, dance mixes, and turntable skills are arguably unrivaled and loud proof that spinning is an art form all its own. Visit myspace.com/mattymatt.
A reggae talent that’s been making waves inside and outside of Santa Barbara for more than 10 years, Dylan Judah has collaborated with roots music heavyweights like Elephant Man and recorded solo and collaborative projects. Most recently, Judah has teamed up with Sugar Black to form Black Judah, a groove-worthy duo that combines reggae, dub, and dancehall beats with some seriously heartfelt lyrics. Visit myspace.com/dylanjudah.
Currently holed up in the recording studio and hard at work on a new demo, the Kings of Spain have changed their name to LOOMIS and are rumored to be revamping their sound. But if you’re a fan of funk-infused R&B set against some serious axe grinding, we recommend staying tuned. Visit myspace.com/thekingsofspain.
Perhaps best known for his role in Santa Barbara’s premiere progressive hip-hop outfit, The Limbz, Lyricist Ize is truly a jack of all trades: part hype man, part deejay, and part prophetic lyricist. Visit myspace.com/isaacbarba.
A Bronx-born, bicoastal-raised rapper, Playbac has put his childhood experiences to good use, blending East and West Coast hip-hop styles to create a vibe that’s part A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Dilated Peoples. Visit myspace.com/playback.
An amalgamation of blues, country, and rockabilly, Big Jugs serves up quirky tunes that are sure to get you slappin’ your knee with the first twang of the jaw harp. With songs like “Pro in Prostitute,” Big Jugs’ music is not for the prim and proper, but what’s more fun than listening to dirty lyrics accompanied by a banjo, a saw, and a washboard? Visit myspace.com/bigjugsmusic.
Traditional Irish tunes with a modern twist. The band shines on instrumental numbers “Paddy on the Turnpike” and “Waterloo Piper” in which acoustic guitar, flute, and lively fiddle blend to evoke the charm of the Emerald Isle. Influences include Solas and Altan. Visit myspace.com/dannsair.
Bodhr¡n, tin whistle, banjo, and mandolin are just a few of the instruments the members of Foggy Dew use to create their unique blend of folk, Celtic, and Americana music. Their old-timey version of the Irish folk song “I’ll Tell Me Ma” would fit well on the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, while the haunting “Butterfly” recalls the sounds of ancient Ireland. Visit myspace.com/myfoggydew.
Playing classic rock ‘n’ roll that’s chock full of political commentary and intermixed with a fair share of blues and folk, this band hopes that through its music “progressive-minded people will feel less alone in their convictions and know there is strength in numbers for the good causes.” Visit foundingmothers.net.
With influences as diverse as Bob Dylan, Radiohead, and the Beatles, The Hoagland Conspiracy employs harmonica, guitars, and steady drumming to create infectious music that compels you to sway back and forth, eyes closed, with a smile on your face. With a hint of a southern drawl, the lead singer’s pleasing, relaxed vocals make for easy-listening tunes along the lines of Phish. Visit myspace.com/thehoaglandconspiracy.
Hailed as “wine country’s tastiest jazz band for the last 10 years,” these boys deliver standards on their new demo, A Night at Steve’s, and are available to funk or blues it up at any celebration. Visit lighthousejazzquartet.com.
Since the summer of ’99, these boys have been balancing a mix of rock and jazzy blues covers they feel people can relate to with creative, energetic original songs that ignore musical genres. They’ve also just released their own self-titled debut. Visit geocities.com/mustangsband.
The lovechild of Brian Batchley and David Reo, The Preachers offer up old-school blues jams with a contemporary edge. Batchley’s harmonica skills combined with Reo’s twangy, rockabilly tinged guitar chops make them an act to watch. Visit thepreachersbluesband.com.
Bringing the feel-good tunes of Dixieland to The James Joyce every Saturday night since 1998, the group’s fans range from college kids to yuppies to retirees, all of whom are attracted to the band’s talented improvisation and the joy with which they bang that banjo. Visit sevensouth.com/recordshop/Ulysses/bio.php.
Mike McHugh’s ever-changing solo project straddles the line between acoustic-fueled Jack Johnson surf rock and funky, hip-hop la Beck. Whatever category you care to shove him into, McHugh has a personality and a sound that can never truly be defined. Visit myspace.com/coyotesandbourbon.
David Courtenay has been spending the last few years spreading his vintage-rock inspired groove tunes on the S.B. and L.A. circuits. His new album, Eloquent Cool, has attracted flattering attention and earned Courtenay comparisons to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Visit myspace.com/musicdavid.
Classically trained in opera and art since the age of nine, Delaney Gibson boldly breaks the tired trend of untalented, young female artists playing generic (read: annoying) pop songs, and brings her own genre to the table, with catchy, kick-ass lyrics, and a style she’s labeled “AlternatiVixen.” Visit myspace.com/delaneygibson.
Blending hip-hop, reggae, and folk rock with a soulful guitar flair, Lackner takes a refreshingly organic approach to his art by writing, producing, and recording all his own music. Visit myspace.com/gabelacknermusic.
A powerful voice that brings an edge to her equally powerful lyrics about politics, women’s issues, love, existence, sex, and spirituality; think Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple’s dreadlocked love child. Visit myspace.com/jamiegreen.
Ocean-inspired songs and jazz standards on Songs in the Key of Sea highlight Kimberly Ford’s beautiful voice and the marine and environmental issues about which she cares. A regular gig at Stella Mare’s (where she’ll perform on October 10) has made her a Santa Barbara favorite. Visit sevensouth.com/recordshop/FordKimb/bio.php.
A singer/songwriter with a psychedelic and sometimes atmospheric edge to his music, Sean McCue manages to balance catchy and accessible with the fresh and daring. Visit seanmccue.com.
American roots and guitar-heavy rock combine with gritty vocals on songs like “Hell of a Woman,” “Devil’s Toenail,” and “Dead Before Midnight” that recall barroom brawls and broken hearts. Visit wilridge.com.
This singer/songwriter/producer/guitarist/drummer/record label co-owner fused all his talents to create a lyric-driven medley of feel-good tunes on his album Don’t Come Back Too Small. Visit myspace.com/zachmadden.
Electronica, Ambient, and Cover Bands
Former Santa Barbara resident Ryan Avery (aka Chance’s End) puts his violin lessons to work on his recently released album, The Outsider. The funky, ambient breakbeat provides the perfect backdrop for his classically trained solos. Visit chancesend.com.
DJ Magneto calls Santa Barbara home, but the swath of land privy to his electronica eclectica goes as far as Portland to the north and Mexico City to the south. In seeming homage to his super villain namesake, this deejay compresses poppy and urban sounds into a danceable new creation. Visit myspace.com/djmagneto.
The resume of DJ Gavin Roy reads like a what’s what of Santa Barbara dance venues, including Q’s, the Wildcat, Velvet Jones, Indochine, and even former hotspots Hades and Fathom. It’s no wonder that this founder of the Santa Barbara DJ Academy knows how to make a floor move. He wins over the masses by avoiding the overplayed music that “those other deejays” wouldn’t dare leave out and sneaking in some high-quality sonic candy. Visit djgavin.com.
If band popularity was decided by cuteness, husband-and-wife electronica duo The Volt Per Octaves would be crushing the competition. Their Air-like, Moog-heavy music sounds like a dream and has made them a favorite of Santa Barbara’s more laidback venues like Elsie’s. They’re the perfect soundtrack for a relaxed, late-night drink. Visit myspace.com/thevoltperoctaves.
Combining trip-hop beats, jazzy instrumentation, and some mean keyboard-driven breakdowns, Levi Michaels-a one-man music maker, recent high school graduate, and Independent contributor, is undoubtedly ahead of his time. Visit myspace.com/levimichaels.
Known just as well for their eclectic influences as for their raucous take on some favorite rock classics (ZZ Top, Billy Idol, and the Eagles, to name a few), this cover band is the quintessential addition to any good night of downtown revelry. Visit myspace.com/tequilamockingbirdrock.
Did We Miss You?
The bands included in this issue submitted the required materials by the deadline. If you didn’t hear about the contest, but still want to be listed online at independent.com/bands, send a bio, song, and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.