ACL artist preview: Gardens & Villa shows us that if it ain't broke...
The city of Santa Barbara itself can seem too perfect, thus, a bit predictable. Attempting not to fall into that prototypical-pretty trap, the good looking boys of Gardens & Villa hailing from the Californian coastal town add a nice veil of intrigue to their personal brand of chillwave.
Reads one SXSW 2012 performance review: “If the late Jim Henson and George Lucas remade the 1986 fantasy Labyrinth, Gardens & Villa would be tapped to create the soundtrack.”
We can be clear that there's nothing super-revolutionary going on in indie-rock at the moment, but that doesn't mean Gardens & Villa is without its merits or points of uniqueness simply because the band falls within the genre.
For all the acts who rely so heavily on pre-recorded tracks, Gardens & Villa has publicly vowed to always play all parts of their music live; frontman Chris Lynch catches the crowd off guard as he pulls out wooden flutes from a case slung around his back and plays with great artistry; and — awww — the band’s name hails from their former shared apartment at which they tended to a garden.
Each of these factoids add to the slight eccentricity of Gardens & Villa, making them, as a commodity, all the more likable. After all, being voted a hot indie band amongst the writers of the blogosphere is as much about creating an identifiable, collective persona as it is about delivering solid tracks.
Perhaps the band is wise to stick to slightly nuanced, funky chillwave (best demonstrated by "Orange Blossom”) rather than forcing uber-abstract tracks simply to buck the trend.
Live show reviews come in consistently positive and music writers are expecting to see even more growth and solidarity at Gardens & Villa's ACL performance since the band's youthful debut just one year ago.
Check them out on the BMI stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday.