Band of Skulls play Velvet Jones on Saturday, June 4.

EURO THRASH: No matter how you consume your rock ‘n’ roll, you’ve probably heard Band of Skulls . Perhaps it was via the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack. Or during a late Saturday night Guitar Hero sesh. Or, maybe, by way of your favorite local rock radio outlet. No matter, though, as the band’s ubiquitous debut single, “I Know What I Am,” coyly hides behind any number of the Skulls’ blues rock contemporaries. And I mean that in a good way.

The track’s thumping drum and jangle intro harkens back to early Queens of the Stone Age; the gritty, garage rock guitars to BRMC. And the guy-girl call and response is so reminiscent of the White Stripes, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who knew the difference. In turn, “I Know What I Am” ushered in a wave of uber catchy Skulls singles (“Blood,” “Fires,” the oft-remixed “Death by Diamonds and Pearls”), and helped propel the band’s debut, Baby Darling Dollface Honey, to the top of the alt-rock charts.

Nowadays, the South Hampton trio is hard at work on the follow-up to Baby Darling, and taking a much-needed mid-recording break to try out their new tunes in front of a live audience. The (extremely) short U.S. run finds the Skulls hitting California next week — with a stop at Santa Barbara’s Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Saturday, June 4 — then traveling east to play Bonaroo in Manchester, TN. Expect a hard-rocking smattering of never-before-heard tunes and old favorites. Call 965-8676 or visit for tickets. Santa Barbara’s Say Yes or Else will open the show.

PDX PRIDE: For years now it seems, there’s been a wonderful sister city vibe flowing between S.B. and Portland, OR. And thanks to the strong relationship between P-town’s Tender Loving Empire label and our own Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) — and the myriad of S.B. music makers who have flown north of late — it’s a trend I doubt will die anytime soon.

This week, the Portland-S.B. love fest continues with a night of musical friendships born on the road. On Thursday, June 9, our own Mutineers and The Chris Story XXXperience team up with newfound Portland band buddies Brothers Young and Hurtbird for a show at the Mud. The lineup promises something for everyone: Story brings the garage rock, the Mutes shred Americana, Hurtbird is an eccentric indie hip-hop act, and Brothers Young boast some seriously moody folk rock numbers. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 for info.

BUZZWORTHY: It was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on to Gardens & Villa, and it seems that time is now. In the past few months, the Santa Barbara-based synth lovers have linked up with indie giant Secretly Canadian, jumped on board summer tours with both Foster the People and Generationals, and scored their very own spot atop Pitchfork’s coveted Forkast roster. And thanks to a super high-energy — and flute-filled — live show, I have no doubt these five will be returning home with a sizable collection of new fans.

As for the record, the guys drop their self-titled debut via Secretly Canadian on Tuesday, July 5, and return to S.B. for a proper mid-tour CD release party at SOhO on Wednesday, July 13. Stay tuned.


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