Beautiful Girls

The Beautiful Girls have become somewhat of a staple within the Santa Barbara music scene. Having made a couple of musical stopovers here previously, the Australian ensemble is headed back to SOhO (1221 State St.) this Friday, April 18. Formed in 2002, The Beautiful Girls’ sound is driven by the rootsy, rhythmic songwriting of Mat McHugh, and in their homeland of Australia, they’re a pretty big deal.

The Girls have been nominated for an ARIA Award (the Australian equivalent of a Grammy), have found themselves honored with multiple Triple J Hottest 100 nods (an annual national summary of the year’s most popular songs), and were part of the Great Divide Tour (a genuine tour de force that also featured seminal Australian acts like The Cat Empire, Powderfinger, and Silverchair).

Prior to forming The Beautiful Girls, McHugh spent a year living in New York City. Inspired by the musical undertakings of Chris Whiteley-who used to perform in Washington Square Park-McHugh played anywhere and everywhere he could. It was an atypical New York experience. But then again, there’s nothing really typical about McHugh; it was his first set of demos that caught the eyes of fans across the Outback. The Beautiful Girls’ rise to fame was indeed a meteoric one, something the ensemble hopes will translate to American audiences as well. And with that in mind, here are five reasons to venture to SOhO and spend an evening in the company of The Beautiful Girls.

{1}Independent Spirits: Despite their Australian success, they remain fiercely independent. Their latest album, Ziggurats, was released here in the States under the Controlled Substance label, while in their native Australia the record was fed to the masses by way of independent distributor MGM.

{2}Pacific Pride: The band emerged from the seaside suburbs of Sydney, whose cultural shtick is not all that different from Southern California’s. So if you notice a sonic similarity to the tunes of Jack Johnson or ALO, attribute it to the Pacific Ocean.

{3}Fellow Travelers: Prior to living in New York, McHugh resided in India. A connection he shares with fellow Australian singer/songwriter -and SOhO regular-Ben Lee.

{4}Tour de Force: Their latest American sojourn finds the Girls playing a whopping 22 dates in the space of one month. It is also the band’s very first U.S. headlining tour.


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