A good small show is hard to find, but this week we’ve got three — all wrapped up into one night. On Thursday, January 31, Santa Barbara locs Dante Elephante and The Wools Surf Club team up with Portland’s The Lower 48 at Muddy Waters Café for a bill of up-and-coming indie acts you’re going to want to get acquainted with. On the S.B. front, the newest of the newcomers is The Wools Surf Club, a post-punk-channeling trio that is as obsessed with The Kinks as it is down with the Wu-Tang Clan. Made up of frontman Johnny Troyna, bassist Jason Stoops, and drummer Peter Latta, The Wools churn out a delicately balanced mix of fuzzy guitar noise and warbled-but-catchy lyrics. The band is also easily one of S.B.’s most promising young acts, by which we mean come early and be ready to rock.
Thursday’s out-of-town offering comes to us by way of Portland, Oregon’s The Lower 48, a trio of slickly coifed music makers who flip-flop between bluesy guitar-riffing rock ’n’ roll and harmonic and horn-filled chamber pop. The result is something that sounds a bit like a female-fronted Black Keys, and a lot like the Dirty Projectors minus the puzzling guitar techniques and structural weirdness. But no matter what you’re into, we’re betting Sarah Parson’s sweet and soaring harmonies will have you swooning.
As for the night’s headliners, if you don’t yet know Dante Elephante, you should. The Santa Barbara quartet has that easy, breezy SoCal surf-pop thing down pat, and their live set is one of the most fun-loving affairs currently making the rounds. Frontman Ruben Zarate’s sweetly hiccupped vocals call to mind contemporaries like Avi Buffalo and Real Estate, but Dante’s vibe is undeniably more upbeat — even in ballad mode. And for a band that describes itself as “always mad chill,” well, we’d expect nothing less.
Dante Elephante, The Lower 48, and The Wools Surf Club play Muddy Waters Café (50 E. Haley St.) on Thursday, January 31, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 966-9328 for tickets and info.