band crush: gardens and villa

sway into summer with these santa barbara boys.

by liza darwin

Picture this: five friends meet in college, squeeze in jam sessions between parties, and finally decide to form a band after one epic hitch-hiking trip along the West Coast. The whole story might be slightly cliche, but these five California friends make it work.

Whether it's their slightly off-kilter sound (wooden flutes, thumping drums, and faraway-sounding synth beats all make appearances in the first single), quivering vocals, or a warmth that alludes to Animal Collective or Craft Spells, Gardens & Villa have a way of roping you in at first listen.

Named after their street in Santa Barbara, this local quintet says their music is inspired by "coco vibes"- in other words, that carefree feeling you get from late dance parties, beach days, and bike trips. We first got hooked on "Black Hills" for its dark haze-pop sound, but now we're currently obsessed with the quirky bombastic tune "Orange Blossom."

With dazed beats, a woozy chorus and, yes, flute interludes, it's immediately intoxicating. You can catch Gardens & Villa on tour this summer with Foster the People and when their full-length album drops in July, but until then, chill out here.