READY FOR THE FLOOR: Two years and one label move since breaking onto the scene, Tokyo Police Club are back in action. But even better, the guys have managed to avoid all that “sophomore slump” mumbo jumbo by crafting one of the most effortlessly catchy records of 2010. On Champ, the band’s follow-up to 2008’s hit-making Elephant Shell, the guitars reign—and rightly so. Frontman/bassist Dave Monks and the too perfectly named Josh Hook have a knack for penning driving licks, and here they get put to good use. “Gone” is a groovy, funk-inspired little rocker that twinkles, thanks to keyboardist Graham Wright’s über-New-Wavey synth tricks. “Favourite Food” is a slow-building mix of sweet acoustic melodies, high-speed guitar noodling, and just a pinch of distorted, noisy weirdness. And “Breakneck Speed” is a post-punk love letter, complete with howling synth lines, crashing cymbals, and fuzzy, aggressive guitars. At the center of it all, Monk’s Billy Corgan-meets-John Samson vocal tones, yelps, and intonations remain TPC’s calling card, marking each track with a youthful, pop-centric buoyancy no matter how affected the subject matter.
For TPC fans—and unacquainted rock lovers—be sure to mark your calendars, too, as the boys are hitting Velvet Jones this Friday night in support of Champ. With a knowledge of what these four can do live, and how infectiously energetic they make their stage show, I have no doubt it will be well worth the price of admission.
Club Mercy presents the all-ages show with Tokyo Police Club this Friday, December 10, at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) at 8 p.m. Call 965-8676 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and details.
A FOND FAREWELL: Also this week, the Santa Barbara community says a proper goodbye to Living Room founder Larry Mills, who recently announced his plans to move to Utah. Mills opened the Living Room back in 1993 as a comfortable, all-ages, drug- and alcohol-free venue in the heart of Goleta’s industrial center. In its 10 years, the space hosted an innumerable collection of traveling and area bands (I caught Yellowcard there as a college freshman), not to mention a slew of films, social events, and education outreach programs. With Mills behind it, the space became a shining example of the Santa Barbara music scene—collaborative, creative, and community-driven. And since its closure in 2003 due to redevelopment, Mills has helped champion the cause to reopen the Living Room for future generations of music lovers to enjoy.
This Monday, December 13, Mills’s torch carriers (Allan Viscarra, Rudi Jung, and KCSB’s Ted Coe) team up with Del Pueblo Café (5134 Hollister Ave.) to help raise money for the cause and throw Mills a bon voyage party to remember. From 5-9 p.m., 10 percent of the café’s earnings will be donated to the Living Room’s reopening campaign. In addition, community members are encouraged to come out and celebrate Mills, who has nobly and selflessly served Goleta and Santa Barbara in his many years here and helped teach many a young music fan just how cool S.B. can be. Call 692-8800 for info.
SO LONG, EXTINCTION: In Circle-of-Life-style serendipity, this week also brings with it a long-time-coming reunion of the rock ’n’ roll variety. On Tuesday, S.B. band Stegosaurus play their first show in 13 years at SOhO, inciting what will no doubt be a hard-rocking trip down memory lane. Back in the late ’90s, the band cut a deal with Reprise Records and delivered an impressive mix of folksy country rock and Pearl Jam-style grunge. Today, frontman Jesse Rhodes is still residing in S.B. and continues writing and playing as a solo artist. Still, the chance to catch a piece of locally grown history will surely prove greater than even the sum of its music-making parts.
Stegosaurus play SOhO (1221 State St.) this Tuesday, December 14, at 7 p.m. with Rachel Sage and Sean McCue. For tickets and info, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.