Orlando, Florida, punk band Flashlights illuminates Beauty Bar at 10 p.m. September 19. Big, fat vocal melodies and unorthodox, often-shimmering guitar chords put these guys a cut above your average Ramones-genuflecting rock act. This summer, Flashlights dropped a full-length called Bummer Summer. It’s a bittersweet collection of adolescent longing and existential despair, but it’s all put to the catchiest (yet still quite aggressive) music. Also on the bill: Paws and Total Slacker.
I’d heard plenty of synth-rock before landing on Gardens & Villa’s Bandcamp page. But there’s something about this Santa Barbara-based ensemble that speaks to my guilty-pleasure side—you know, that secret longing to indulge in a marathon of John Hughes films from the ’80s. The band released its second album, Dunes, earlier this year, and it’s full of hypnotic moments, like the keyboard-glitched, falsetto-crooned “Bullet Train” and the spectral journey of “Domino.” Garden & Villas will blossom in Bunkhouse Saloon at 10 p.m. September 20.
Scottish female-fronted electronica trio Chvrches will make you a devotee at Brooklyn Bowl at 9 p.m. September 21. The band’s debut last year, The Bones of What You Believe, is among 2013’s best discs. Take “The Mother We Share,” which straddles that delicious line between Reagan-era pop-schlock a la Thompson Twins and current epic-synth groups a la M83. Indeed, Chvrches is both pop-oriented and artful, and I’m just tickled Miami Vice-pink to see this red-hot act.
If that’s too much candy-coated keyboard-humping, let me suggest a CD-release event for Smoke in Mirrors, the new disc by UNLV Jazz Ensemble I (led by Dave Loeb and Nathan Tanouye) and UNLV Latin Jazz Ensemble (led by Uli Geissendoerfer). The two groups strut their stuff at 2 p.m. September 21 in Artemus Ham Concert Hall. The concert also stars multi-woodwind musician Bob Sheppard.
Your band releasing new music? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.