WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: Whether named for the 2,000-year-old Lakota legend or the 1977 movie with Charles Bronson, songwriter Jake Smith has long been traversing the nation as The White Buffalo. And there’s plenty of underground buzz about Smith to warrant the mythical name. He appears to travel in true troubadour fashion: one man with a couple of guitars, drinking hard and singing harder.
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SCISSORS BEAT ROCK: When a band leaves the Central Coast for the greener pastures of city livin’, it’s always nice to be front-and-center for their triumphant return. Such is true for San Luis Obispo natives Scissors for Lefty, who make their long-awaited return from San Francisco this weekend. And like their clever moniker, Lefty’s campy writing is a perfect complement to their unique mixture of electro-punk and Brit-pop.
THE COMEBACK KIDS: After a two-year hiatus, multi-talented singer-songwriter Sean McCue returned to the music scene with the 2005 release of his debut solo effort, Apart. The Santa Barbara native stopped recording after his stint in the alt-rock band Summercamp, which experienced moderate mainstream success on Madonna’s Maverick record label during the late ’90s. With Summercamp now defunct, McCue-a guitarist, pianist, and vocalist of impressive range-has crafted his own broad, guitar-based alternative record, brimming with lyrics that are melancholy without being whiny.
BLUE’S CLUES: Bessie Smith will surely be looking down from her place in music legend heaven on Thursday, September 20, but this time she won’t be singing the “St. Louis Blues.” Instead, she will witness the evolution of the style of music she made so popular back in the 1920s. Otis Taylor brings his “trance blues” to the Midland School Amphitheatre in Los Olivos, making the transition from summer to autumn a little more soulful.
THE BRAVE LITTLE ROCKERS: Hailing from the synth rock capital of the world, New York neo-New Wavers The Bravery are poised to pack the house for their Wednesday, September 19 stop at SOhO (1221 State St.). Since bursting onto the music scene in 2005, the boys have been touring heavily and feuding publicly with fellow synth darlings The Killers.
IMMACULATE INCEPTION: An ensemble of all things indie, Immaculate Machine has had quite a peculiar cast since its 2003 inception: Owen Pallett of Arcade Fire, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, Mike Olsen of the Hidden Cameras, and-at the center of it all-Kathryn Calder of the New Pornographers. But the fame of its constituents is only one reason to sneak a peek at this Victoria, B.C. quartet. Their third full-length record, Fables, was released in May to rampant critical acclaim.
SHADOWBOXER: Latin jazz star Luis Mu±oz brings his culturally inspired Costa Rican grooves to SOhO (1221 State Street, Suite 205) in honor of the release of his latest full-length, Of Soul and Shadow. The follow up to 2006’s critically lauded and publicly praised Vida (the album won Mu±oz an ACAM award for Jazz Composer/Producer of the Year), Of Soul and Shadow mixes classical compositions, contemporary jazz, and Costa Rican folklore to create a sound unlike any other.
PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC: In the male-dominated world of dance deejays, Colette stands among the small complement of women to have donned the headphones. Deejays of the feminine sort were once unfortunate novelty acts, but Colette has no shortage of credence to her name, including the chart-topping dominance of her most recent release, Hypnotized.
CROONING KRALL: With her striking good looks, distinctive husky voice, and more-than-proficient piano skills, it’s no surprise that Diana Krall is a modern-day jazz legend. What is a surprise, however, is the way she manages to keep making music that is simultaneously comfortable and cutting-edge-no small feat for an artist whose career is mostly built on covering well-known American standards.
EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN VELTEXAS: Look no further than SOhO on Thursday, August 9, when Isla Vista’s Veltexans will take no prisoners with new material from their debut album, Everything’s the Matter, released on August 7. Hailing originally from the action-packed lands of Idaho, the trio only recently made the move to Santa Barbara, leaving behind their residency at one of the biggest clubs in the state.