Perhaps one of the most addicting and up-and-coming indie synth-pop bands, Santa Barbara’s own Gardens & Villa will be wrapping up their tour in support of their new album Music for Dogs at The Independent tomorrow night. Formed by five college friends after the collapse of their previous post-punk band back in 2008, Gardens and Villa have gone on to record three full length albums and toured extensively through their career.

In 2011, after demoing and performing on self-financed tours, the five friends released their self-titled debut album under the production tutelage of the very talented Richard Swift (The Shins, The Arcs). Known for its songs, “Orange Blossom”, “Black Hills”, and the ever so catchy, “Space Time”, Gardens & Villa began to generate enough buzz to embark on a rigorous tour throughout 2012 that featured a spot on the Coachella lineup, as well as playing Phono Del Sol here in San Francisco.

Their sophomore effort Dunes, released in 2014, spawned the easily recognizable songs “Domino” and “Bullet Train”. The band expanded more on their use of instruments and synthesizers for this album adding a variety of wood pipes and experimenting with different melodies.

Fast forward to just over a year later, Gardens & Villa put out their third and latest LP Music for Dogs on August 21, 2015. Almost disassociated completely from their previous synth-pop efforts, the band took this opportunity to express a different side. With more smoother sounding tracks and a futuristic sci-fi niche, Gardens & Villa attempts to showcase something a bit less mainstream in the indie world, which can be easily linked to 80’s new wave sound. With less synthesizer and effects and more added pianos, the band truly shows off their skills at song writing and instrument structuring on songs like “Fixations”. Front-man Chris Lynch’s writing has also taken a turn to a more serious, rather than catchy approach. Messages stem from overcoming loneliness on songs like “Everybody” to verses of technological reliance on “General Research”.

I had the opportunity to see Gardens & Villa perform live at the Observatory in Santa Ana back in 2012 and I highly recommend tomorrow night’s show. Bay Area fans rejoice, as we are lucky enough that this So-cal quintet has chosen our city as their final show to wrap up their tour for the year.

Gardens & Villa, De Lux, Hazel English
The Independent
November 20, 2015, 8:30 pm
$16 adv – $18 door