IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Since making their inaugural Santa Barbara tour stop last November, Milo Greene’s star has been on a major upswing. First coming to us — and sold-out rooms across the nation — as the unheard-of opening act for Nashville duo The Civil Wars, the band has since blossomed into a bona fide headliner. In February, they had Muddy Waters Café filled to the brim with eager listeners, and this Thursday the band returns to town to play the comfortably sized SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, all in support of their soon-to-be-released, self-titled debut album, which is slated to hit shelves via Chop Shop/Atlantic Records on July 17.
Hailing from Los Angeles by way of Orange County, Davis, and L.A. proper, the band is a vibrant mix of four-part harmonies, exuberant lyricism, intricate and quick-paced guitar plucking, and loads of swelling drum work. But their sound is also far greater than the sum of its parts. On stage, Milo Greene’s players — Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Marlana Sheetz, Andrew Heringer, and Curtis Marrero — possess a raw, infectious energy that can enliven a whole room. And musically, their delicate and insistent blend of campfire folk and indie-pop tropes has the ability to lull the senses even as it rallies the crowd.
As for the album, it’s a heady combination of songs from Milo Greene’s now hard-to-find homespun demos and a handful of new tracks, all recorded in a picturesque and secluded Seattle studio space. New songs like “Wooden Antlers” and “Cutty Love” easily fall in step with the reworked older material, and the whole thing only benefits from the crisp tones, clean mixes, and defined instrumentation afforded by a legit mixing board. More importantly, though, the album feels and sounds like a band on the brink of hitting it big. My prediction: Catch them now because, the next time around, the venue’s going to be larger, and it’s going to be packed. Milo Greene plays an all-ages show with openers Papa at SOhO (1221 State St.) on Thursday, May 17, at 9 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets.
WALKABOUT: Also this week, Stockton troubadour Grant-Lee Phillips returns to SOhO for an intimate set of the solo-acoustic variety. Over the course of his career, Phillips has been compared to everyone from Bob Dylan to Neil Young to Ryan Adams, thanks to his malleable voice, intricate acoustic guitar accompaniment, and narrative-style lyrical approach.
Most recently, Phillips completed his 12th effort, a full-length titled Walking in the Green Corn. “It’s intense, personal, and I’ve made it with my own two hands in the quietest hours of the night,” Phillips writes on his website, calling the album “stark” and largely inspired by his Native American heritage out of a desire to understand “where [he] comes from.” As with many honest and homespun creations, Walking in the Green Corn was also recorded without the backing of a label, meaning that Phillips is hunting to find support on his own, even going so far as to launch a Pledge Music account for folks interested in seeing the project released. If you’d like to donate, head on over to pledgemusic.com/projects/grantleephillips. And if you’re interested in getting a taste of the new tunes before (or after) forking over some bucks, you can catch Phillips in the flesh on Saturday, May 19, at 6 p.m. at SOhO. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for info.
ALSO THIS WEEK: Puppeteer-turned-punk-rocker David Liebe Hart makes a stop at the Biko Co-op Garage (6612 Sueno Rd., Isla Vista). Known best for his part-time role on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Hart has most recently taken to the road in support of his new musical effort. According to Hart, a debut album is in the works and will be recorded this summer. Until then, catch him live on Monday, May 21, at 8 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested.