Just before Santa Barbara's Gardens and Villa took to the stage at Soda Bar last April, excited whispers could be heard throughout the venue.
"I hear these guys are really good."
"I heard they got picked to tour with a big band soon."
"I heard all their songs are about Bob Vila."
OK, that last one didn't happen, but the buzz around the group -- whose name sounds better suited to a program on the Home Network than a rock band -- was palpable. And when Gardens and Villa launched into their high-energy set, they lived up to every bit of it.
The murmurs about a tour with a bigger band proved true as well: the world music-inspired five-piece is currently traipsing across the country with Generationals. Sure, the New Orleans duo isn't exactly the Dave Matthews Band or whatever the kids are listening to nowadays, but what Generationals lack in quantity of fans they make up for in quality of work. Their recent second album, Actor-Caser, continues their winning streak of polished, danceable indie rock with melodies so infectious they make the swine flu look like the regular old flu flu.
Generationals aren't the only ones with a new album under their belts. On July 5, Gardens and Villa will release their full-length debut on Secretly Canadian. If you can't wait until then, you can check out a complete stream of the record here or watch the hilariously odd video for "Black Hills."
You can catch Gardens and Villa -- along with Generationals and San Diego's own Jamuel Saxon -- on July 10 at the Casbah in what promises to be one of the month's best shows. Tickets can be purchased here.