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ALL NIGHT LONG: With the advent of home-recording technology came the dawn of the home studio, and an affordable way to make professional music without the help of a professional. Nowadays, though, it’s all about the bedroom project—those sleepy, homemade musical outings that reject the studio altogether in exchange for something that feels and sounds decidedly unprofessional.

This is where Houses comes in. Created and executed by Chicago-based boyfriend/girlfriend Dexter Tortoriello and Megan Messina, the project is as much about handcrafted tones and vocals as it is computer-born beats and atmospherics, an aesthetic which falls directly in line with the pair’s backstory. Laid off from his job and “in need of a change,” Tortoriello packed up and moved out to a small, amenity-free cabin in Papaikou, Hawai’i, with Messina in tow. There, the duo gardened, worked odd jobs, and sought a life of sustainability, focusing on their individual passions—hers visual art, his sonic—in their downtime.

As all good stories go, the two’s creative endeavors eventually crossed paths, with Messina laying down vocal tracks for what would eventually become Houses’ debut LP, All Night. Since their magical time in Hawai‘i, the pair have moved back to Chi Town, put the finishing touches on All Night, signed with Lefse, and (not surprisingly) joined the ranks of fellow down-tempo, electro-tinged buzz bands like Braids, Baths, and now Youth Lagoon.

On Thursday, May 19, Houses will bring their ethereal slow jams to Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) with openers One AM Radio. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 or visit for tickets and info.

WELCOME BACK: In the world of locally grown music, this week is an especially important one. On Thursday, May 12, S.B. rocker outfit Comfort Machine returns to the fold following a stint of recording time. The trio will play SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) at 10 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit for info. Come Monday, May 16, onetime State Street staples The Martyrs reconvene to play Muddy Waters Café. Led by frontman and current solo crooner Kyle Nicolaides, the band is sure to jam-pack the night with garage-rockin’ goodness. For info, call 966-9328 or visit Also making waves in the close-to-home music scene of late are Venturans Tall Tales and the Silver Lining, who released their latest EP, Nice to Meet You Again, on Bandcamp earlier this week. Word on the street is that the band will be releasing vinyl come June, but until then, you can stream the album in all its lush, folk-rock form at

JE T’AIME: Also hitting the circuit this week isArizona-based minimalist group French Quarter, which plays the Biko Co-Op Garage (6612 Sueno Rd.) on Sunday, May 15. Led by soft-spoken songsmith Stephen Steinbrink, the band draws immediate comparison to early Death Cab for Cutie. The lyrics are lovelorn and sing-songy, the tones are twinkling and twee-pop-tinged, and the deliveries are heartbreaking in their uncertainty. Steinbrink and the French Quarter will be joined onstage by The Teets, Bleeding Blood, and Remambran. The show starts at 7 p.m. and donations are encouraged at the door. Visit for info.

AND THERE’S MORE: Other shows on our radar this week include Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, who make their Santa Barbara debut this Sunday, May 15, at the Center of the Heart (487 N. Turnpike Rd.) at 7 p.m. Don’t let their tribal handle fool you, though; Stow’s shtick is far from drum-circle fare. Expect searing guitars and big, Linda Perry-esque vocal leaps. For info, call 964-4861 or visit On Thursday, May 19, New Noise and Numbskull bring AWOLNATION to Velvet Jones (423 State St.). The solo project of Aaron Bruno (Hometown Hero, Under the Influence of Giants) is part electro-punk, part orchestral soul, and definitely worth a live glimpse. Visit for tickets.


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