10 Bands You Need to See at New Noise Festival in Santa Barbara

Though home to some of the most beautiful music venues in the entire world (I’m not biased at all), Santa Barbara isn’t particularly known as a musical powerhouse. Sure there are big acts that roll through the Santa Barbara Bowl, Arlington and Granada, but visitors only come often enough to whet our appetite not satiate it. Bands neglect us, preferring to spend time with larger crowds in the city of Angels down south or the city of Francisco up north. Leaving us with the question…is the drive worth it? It usually is, but no one is happy about it.

The indie scene is growing, but slowly. Speeding up the process, we have incredible movements like New Noise Festival spiriting a cultural awakening in our sleepy beach town. For four days our city is flooded with a problem no one in Santa Barbara quite knows how to deal with…too much good music. We actually have to choose what shows to go to! Blasphemy.

Thanks to the good people of New Noise Music Festival, Santa Barbarians can add another first world problem to their list – an overabundance of musical freedom.

Understanding that the lineup is absolutely amazing for New Noise this year, here is how we will be spending our time. We know there are some conflicts, but these are the 10 acts we are most excited to see in no particular order.

1Mexico City Blondes

If you haven’t heard of Mexico City Blondes, let “Fade” burn their name forever into your memory. These guys are only on the up-and-up. They may be hanging around Santa Barbara for now, but they will fly off to take over the world soon enough.

2Penguin Prison

If I had to go to see one person this weekend, Penguin Prison would be it. Penguin Prison takes a wide gamut of musical influences and slams them together into one pristine synth-pop package.


The members of LAYOVR cut their teeth playing to drooling crowds of UCSB students in Isla Vista. All that goes to say, they know how to put on one of the best live shows around. With a trop rock vibe, a handful of excellent covers and some of the best musicianship you will find today, seeing LAYOVR is a no brainer.

4Rainbow Girls

Local Santa Barbara legends in my book, Rainbow Girls are a folk outfit that understand the communal connection inherent to any musical experience. Plus, you will never see a group of people having more fun on stage. The energy is infectious.

5Tijuana Panthers

Tijuana Panthers have a sound that’s a bit hard to pin down. My best stab is surf rock that is so much more than surf rock. Where they truly shine is the MORE than surf rock part. With supported melodies, thumping bass lines and punkish drums, Tijuana Panthers’ music is a flavor you don’t want to miss out on.

6Ariel Pink

If you haven’t heard of Ariel Pink, you haven’t spent enough time on Pitchfork. Did I just say that? I did. There is a reason Ariel Pink and the supporting band, Haunted Graffiti get so much buzz. They have the indie world by the metaphorical balls and do as they please. When Ariel Pink comes to Santa Barbara…you go.

7Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels are here to supply the friction that Santa Barbara so badly needs. There is no one better suited for the job.

8Erisy Watt

With a voice captures the heart and locks it away for safe keeping, Erisy’s style of music harks back to a simpler time. A time when music didn’t need more bleeps than blips or more electricity than soul. With an early set time at 7:30 on Saturday, this is the steal of the weekend.


Piercing synths and raw lyrics are matched by an all-consuming bass and flutters of kick drum goodness. Prayers is here to party…or riot. Be prepared to get a bit sweaty.

10Beta Play

An indie rock outfit holding all the pieces to a magnificent puzzle. Their sound is crisp and clear, with an emphasis on superb songwriting in the vein of Imagine Dragons. These guys float above the rest.