MUSICAL RELIEF: Last Friday, the Mad Caddies’ Graham Palmer released his new EP, Relief, under the name Kinothek. Unlike the Mad Caddies — whose raucous fun made Santa Barbara County, and Solvang-Buellton specifically, known worldwide as one of the ska-punk capitals of California —
Palmer’s poppily melodic solo effort is breezy, smooth, and indeed relieving at points, but with licks of alt-rock distortion and edge. For fans of sing-along-worthy radio rock, his new work will appeal. Palmer is a bit of a Renaissance man, in that he’s also the person behind the wine label Sforzando, which specializes in cabernet franc, sauvignon blanc, and grenache. What would a wine-country musician be without a wine label?
OVER AT SOHO: As summer winds down, SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) welcomes back a few local favorites. Starting this Thursday, August 24, and continuing through the weekend, the venerable venue will host several concerts as part of the Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration, a summit of guitarists and luthiers rejoicing in all things strung-and-strummed [see last week’s Independent for more in-depth coverage]. On Sunday, August 27, Venice, the harmonically entwined band from Venice, California, will do an album-release concert for Into the Morning Blue. The new album features numbers such as the wistful, gracefully acoustic “Sunrise (August of ’69).” With tones evocative of that legendary summer, many listeners will be transported to their musical youth. Later in the week, on Wednesday, August 30, the illustrious Glen Phillips plays again in the city he’s happy to call home (and we are all the luckier for it). For those yet to walk down the mournful musical roads of his newest, Swallowed by the New, it is a journey in which you ought to be enveloped. Joining Phillips at SOhO will be New York pianist and singer-songwriter Julian Velard, who allegedly has a cult following in the Netherlands.
MILLIONS AND MILLIONS: S.B. alternative rockers Young Million will rock Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Saturday, August 26, joined by Lompoc’s The Only Ocean and S.B.’s Easy Bear. It’s an important show for The Only Ocean, which releases its new album, Good Morning, in September. Taken together, the three acts show that melody-driven alt-rock is alive and well in the 805, with each band delivering a different take on the well-crafted guitar anthem. Choruses will soar and distortion pedals will kick in at this great night of area-born bands.
ROCKIN' ROB: Hey, kids! Want to learn an instrument? Parents, do you want your child to learn, but are afraid they won’t stick with it? S.B. guitar teacher Rob Moreno has forged a partnership with Instrumental Music (3328 State St.) with a sponsorship deal that gives music students a reason to stick with it: a new Fender Squier guitar. Students are given a new Squier at the start of their lessons, and if they keep up on practicing for nine months and commit financially to that time, the guitar is theirs. “I give you a brand-new instrument — you have to take lessons, and that’s a thing I can’t offer that for free — but if they stick with it for nine months, they earn the instrument, and it’s their guitar now.” The new guitarist “can do whatever they want, sell the instrument, upgrade it to the next level, donate it back into program … It provides an opportunity for somebody who might be a little too young to afford it on their own to earn that instrument through dedication. I want that for as many people as I can,” Moreno said.
A professional musician who plays in tons of area bands, Moreno wants to see the music community he grew up in continue to thrive. His goal is “to get instruments into circulation, to get the music scene to improve … It’s already really good, but it’s not going to last without young people.”
For more information, visit rob-moreno.com.