Gardens & Villa

Gardens & Villa

Gardens & Villa is the project of five college friends from Santa Barbara, formed following the collapse of a noisier post-punk band and a hitch-hiking journey up the west coast. Members Chris Lynch, Adam Rasmussen, Levi Hayden, Shane McKillop began playing in earnest as Gardens & Villa in 2008. The name is pulled from the location of their house on Villa Street, and the property’s lovely garden to which they tend. The music they make is very much connected to coastal city they call home — the stoney bike rides, dance parties, a scene free of judgment. The band refers to this Santa Barbara feeling as “coco vibes.” For two weeks in the summer of 2010, the band camped behind visionary and now-labelmate Richard Swift’s Oregon studio. No shower, no kitchen, but all the magic you could ask for. After taking a band oath to always play all parts live — a la Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense — the band added member Dusty Ineman to supremely execute the live incarnation of the band.

Waterstrider

Waterstrider formed in the Berkeley co-ops in 2009. After several incarnations the band has refined itself into a 4 piece: Scott Brown, Walker Johnson, Brijean Murphy, and Nate Salman. They are hard at work on their first full length album. Ranging from melancholic and dreamy to foot-stomping revelry, the band fills their songs with sincerity, sadness, and joy. This is music you hear while stumbling out of a tangled forest into a fire dance of magical creatures. Waterstrider is percussion-infused rock played with soul.

It wasn't a spiritual journey as many musicians claim bring their songs to life, but for SHMNS - pronounced Sha-Mans - it all fell into place as if destiny were packing a suitcase for a trip not quite yet planned; casually and with equal parts fate and faith.

Philadelphia's electro/indie-pop SHMNS intend to make a bold statement with their debut EP, Somewhere Between Here and There (released May 14). "Here and there is where we are and where we essentially want to be, musically and conceptually," reflects guitarist Isaac Louis. "It has become our mantra," adds vocalist and conceptualist Justin P. Romanos.

Comprised of four music industry students (vocalist Justin P. Romanos, guitarist Issac Louis, bassist Mike Morrongiello, and drummer Richie Straub) who have experienced the ins and outs of the DIY Philadelphia music culture since 2010, SHMNS aims to add a sense of polished validity to the scene while still remaining true to their roots. Influenced by such artists as Local Natives, Tama Pala, and Minus the Bear, the quartet have created a unique sound that is rooted in the various members' frustration with the electronic scene as well as their ambition to create fresh mix of live instruments with electronic elements.

Everything that vocalist and founder Justin P. Romanos has done musically has lead to this album. "Going into a studio and working with a producer has shown me how different it really is than doing it all yourself," notes Romanos. Initially writing all the songs that comprise Somewhere Between Here and There with a combination of core guitar tracks and midi instruments, Romanos' main focus was how to translate these compositions to a full band once it came time to record.

Working with Philadelphia based producer/engineer Brandon Bost, SHMNS were able to develop a unique mix of the electronic elements that dominated their youth with a fresh combination of live musical arrangements. "Recording Somewhere Between Here and There, was an interesting process in regards to figuring out how far I could push the band as musicians and getting to know them as people," reflects Bost. "It was pretty obvious that even though they have a sort of hi-fi electronic exterior, SHMNS is very much so a band looking for vintage tones—cohesively melding their electronic influence with their vintage sound."

There is an unregistered hominess in SHMNS's debut EP that is softened by wistful hypnotics, gradient slopes that marry harmony and lyrics, and an abundance of beauty and balance in Romanos' voice as he lingers sentiments on the tip of his tongue. Like a summer night so crisp, warm, and humbling, SHMNS cannot effectively run from the mysticism that has been, in ways, naturally selected for their songs; both bold, innovative, yet with a warm touch like that of long drive home with no cars blocking your way.

$10.00 - $12.00

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The Boot & Saddle

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Gardens & Villa with Waterstrider, SHMNS

Friday, February 21 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM at The Boot & Saddle