Lionel Williams of Vinyl Williams
Courtesy Photo

MUSIC OF THE SPHERES: Truly, these are the dog days of summer. The ancient Greeks named this sweltering stretch of season for the brightly burning Dog Star, whose easterly luminance in the dawn’s first breaths foretold hotter, more humid times. In contemporary Santa Barbara, the fortnight forthcoming foretells some hot shows played by rising stars not just celestially, but musically, too.

On Saturday, August 11, you could saunter out to the always-cozy Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave., Goleta) to see a performance by Los Angeles acts Vinyl Williams and Winter. Indie rockers Vinyl Williams bill themselves as “celestial pop,” and their music fits nicely within the spell of these astral August weeks. Picture the sound of a dreamy, swoony summer haze and stony reveries, draped in alluring drums and cooling washes of reverbed-out guitar. The band comes offering the treasure-like glimmer of its new album, Opal, all iridescently melodic.

And what better time than summer to hear Winter? The music of one Samira Winter, she spins a prismatically cathartic indie rock sound she deems Ethereality (the title of her album, and her self-descriptor), a beautiful pinwheel of elements nostalgic, melancholic, and ecstatic. It does have the kind of sweetly bittersweet magic you would feel were a surprise snowflake flurry to festoon you on an otherwise sunny beach day or ice-cream outing.

Together with the aforementioned Williams, expect to be max relaxed, as I like to say, and likely inspired, to boot. As this is also a summer of many planetary retrogrades, the mathematicians, astronomers, and astrologers in the audience may be variously delighted to recall the phrase “music of the spheres,” which folks like Pythagoras used to describe the resonant frequencies of our ever-orbiting solar system. Astrophysicists have since confirmed that our sun and stars trillions of miles away give off harmonious hums in the form of vibrations — good ones, I imagine. The show begins at 9 p.m.

HE’S SO LUCKI, HE’S A STAR: Also this Saturday, you could enjoy the mellow moods of Chicago’s Lucki over at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) in an all-ages show. Lucki weaves a rather calming rhythmic blanket of words over his self-described alternative trap, a somber, piano-punctuated soundscape with languid, spaced-out synths. In the murky mystique he shows his vulnerability, words laced with the pains of heartache and addiction, but transmitted through a sort of meditative calm. Since his debut mix tape dropped as a teenager, the now 22-year-old talent has worked with acts like Chance the Rapper and FKA twigs. Here’s hoping he continues to shine for many more years. The show begins at 7 p.m.

GO FOR GHOUL: The next night at Velvet Jones, on Sunday, August 12, the thrash metal band Ghoul will arise from their native Creepsylvania to haunt the halls of Velvet with bands Fireburn, from L.A., and War Bison, from S.F., together for their Weapons of Mosh Destruction 4 Tour. Masked, hooded, and allegedly mutant, the band Ghoul features members known by aliases Cremator, Digestor, Dissector, and Fermentor. They’ll surely shake up some ghoulishly gritty grind music and very well may incite the undead to rise and mosh à la “Thriller.” Metal music rarely gets this fun — how many bands do you know whose origin story includes members being born as larvae from a witch-demon known as the Swamp Hag? Consider bringing garlic out on the town, lest any vampires join, too. The show begins at 7 p.m.

FOLKY THURSDAYS: Folk and/or beer fans, take note: Every Thursday, 8-10 p.m., throughout the month of August, you can raise a glass of craft to the ever-impressive Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara at Telegraph Brewing Co. (418 N. Salsipuedes St.). There’s no folk band in town quite like this Orchestra, which, with 32 very skilled players and counting, packs more musical power per folk than a small village.


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