The streets of Isla Vista have a soundtrack of their own, full of live music performed by local bands. As an essential part of I.V. culture, there is truly nothing like the band scene. Here are the Artsweek Editors’ picks for Best Isla Vista Bands of the 2022-23 school year!

Big Hungry

Courtesy of @shotbyseanboy on Instagram

Already in the recording studio their first year playing together, the all-freshman band Big Hungry has made their way to the coveted 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. spot at Isla Vista band parties. 

The band’s formation was put in the works when history and sociology double major Stiles White (lead guitar) and music studies major Nolan Guss (vocals) met on the Isla Vista walking tour — a UCSB orientation staple — this past summer. Within the first week of school (and with a little help from a water polo party) White and Guss met environmental studies major Moe Stoked (rhythm guitar), applied math major Avery Lindsey (bass), and psychology & brain sciences major Curran Hoxie (drums) and Big Hungry was jamming together in Santa Cruz Hall’s theater room. Their I.V. debut, complemented by the rain and loyal fans, was made in December 2022. 

“Nothin’ beats the I.V. music scene” says the band.

The band plays almost everything under the rock umbrella and has started to move toward playing solely originals. However, the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and The Pixies’ “Hey” always work their way into the set. 

Big Hungry seems to have found the perfect way into the band scene, establishing a name for themselves — “Big Hungry” being splattered across Sounds of IV only six months into their college musical career. They’ve also made their way out of the I.V. bubble with a couple downtown Santa Barbara shows in their rear view. 

Be on the lookout for upcoming releases from Big Hungry and follow @bighungryband on Instagram for show announcements and highlights. 

Lot 22

Courtesy of Lot 22

If you’ve walked across campus, chances are you’ve heard the band Lot 22 practicing in UC Santa Barbara’s iconic parking garage. With their Instagram bio reading “The soundtrack of your walk to class,” the band has garnered campus-wide awareness and appreciation since its inception.

The band began when guitarist Luc Pardehpoosh invited a crew of Isla Vista musicians to a jam session.  The final touch was when Ema Nastic heard them playing on top of the parking garage and came up to watch. When Nastic mentioned that she sang, the band invited her to jam with them. Afterwards, she officially joined Lot 22 as lead singer. 

Lot 22 consists of second-year psychology & brain sciences major Nastic (vocals), fourth-year data science major Pardehpoosh (lead guitar), third-year physics major Noah Baum (rhythm guitar), fourth-year geographic information sciences major Alexander Castro (bass), fourth-year communication and percussion performance double major Nina Lim (drums), fourth-year biochemistry major Ben Krohn-Hansen (keyboard), physics major Henry Jurney (trumpet), fourth-year economics major Harrison Arakawa (trombone), second-year computer science major Danny Rose (saxophone) and fourth-year electrical engineering Philippe Rerolle (saxophone). 

Their impact on the I.V. band scene is massive as well. Every Lot 22 show is packed with fans and music lovers who gather to listen to genre-spanning setlists, including rock, pop, and funk covers. 

Despite the group performing their last show in May 2023, Lot 22’s legacy will live on as one of the most universally loved and fun spirited bands in Isla Vista.

“Personally, it’s my last quarter here and whenever I have a show I enjoy every minute of it … It’s been one of my favorite parts of being in college,” Lim reflects.

Follow on Instagram for more band content.

The Framers

Courtesy of Johnathan Demorest

“Your moms favorite indie rock band,” as advertised in their Instagram bio, The Framers have brought indie rock covers and originals to Isla Vista — their newest cover being “Angel” — and have been playing since 2019. 

UCSB film alumni Oliver Chavez (lead guitar), anthropology and technology management alumni Franky Sansone (rhythm guitar), second-year psychology major Allison Corwin (bass), mechanical engineering masters student Jake Morenc (drums) and Marymount Manhattan College music alumni Jesse Prior (lead vocals) met through Reddit and UCSB Free/For Sale, and from there, even with varied musical backgrounds, started the Framers. With the musicians coming in having different levels of experience with their respective instruments, they seem to balance each other out quite nicely. 

On Spotify, the band describes themselves as “… an alternative rock indie group based in Santa Barbara! A bunch of musicians who met in the Isla Vista music scene while we attended UCSB and we provide emotional nostalgic tunes to our listeners around the world! We hope to see you at a show very soon!”

The group’s favorite I.V. bands include Closeout, Careless Cub and Tastegood, and through this mutual appreciation they found themselves playing covers by bands like The Strokes, Beach Bunny and Kate Nash. 

Now with eight releases of their own, The Framers perfectly mix cover songs that everyone can sing along to with their own funky indie rock originals.

“We’ve all taught each other so much and built up so much chemistry that we will keep going for as long as we can” says The Framers. 

Follow @theframers on Instagram for more information. 

Dead Set

Courtesy of Kaelen McCracken

A veteran band in the Daily Nexus’ “Best Of” edition, Dead Set brings the uniquely Americana sound of the Grateful Dead to backyards across Isla Vista and Santa Barbara. Since their debut show in 2021, the band has lost and gained members. The Spring Quarter 2023 musicians include third-year applied math major Cassidy Fragakis (vocals, guitar), fourth-year environmental studies major Justin Memenas (vocals, guitar), third-year statistics and data science major Jordan Russo (vocals, guitar, keyboard), second-year film major Albert Dicesare (vocals, keyboard, harmonica), fourth-year mechanical engineering major Aidan Kockler (bass), religious studies major Nico Johnson (drums) and geography major alumni Gavin Mentz (drums) .

Being one of the only UCSB tribute bands, Dead Set, founded by Memenas, has deadheads and ‘70s music fans flocking to their shows, speckling Del Playa Drive with tie-dyed tees and long, colorful skirts. The crowd is there for the music (especially the long jams characteristic of the Grateful Dead) and always fills small, fenced yards, sometimes spilling out into the street. 

Despite being a cover band of the Grateful Dead and spanning across so many different genres of music, Dead Set is able to put their own musical styles into each song, reflecting who they are as musicians, making the shows so special. Every song and show is different. 

Dead Set is also the only band in I.V. to use two drummers, paying homage to the Grateful Dead’s two drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. 

“Double drum jams feed the soul,” Johnson said.

Follow @deadset on Instagram for band highlights. 

Nos Algos

Courtesy of Lizzy Ahn

“There’s nothing like a concert full of people, ears full of music and a belly full of Taco Bell,” Nos Algos guitarist and third-year mechanical engineering major Jake Hahn described his time performing with the band.

That statement perfectly captures the eccentric vibe of Nos Algos. Nos Algos consists of fourth-year political science major and religious studies minor Ayden Danovaro (vocals), third-year mechanical engineering major Hahn (guitar, vocals), third-year psychology & brain sciences major Nico Corrales (guitar), third-year biopsychology major Jared Wychoff (bass, vocals), and third-year political science major Ben Fogel (drums). Third-year biopsychology major Sofia Borelli occasionally fills in for Danovaro for lead vocals. The band would like to thank her for her help.

The name “Nos Algos” is derived from the latin roots of ‘nostalgia,’ with Nostos meaning ‘return home’ and algos meaning ‘pain.’ 

“I think it has a double meaning because we tend to play older songs. There is a hint of nostalgia in what we play, but we also play because it is an artistic extension of our inner feelings.” Hahn said.

The band started out in August 2022, practicing in garages and parking lots and mixing their diverse influences to create a signature sound. Their rise to popularity is astounding. Characterized by their high energy performances and chaotic online presence, Nos Algos already has a dedicated fan base and has become an Isla Vista staple. 

Their favorite songs to perform are “Seeds” by Sublime, “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie, “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit and any original riffs the band comes up with.

Nos Algos has begun branching out to different live settings and will be writing and recording original music soon. 

Follow @nosalgos on Instagram to keep up with the Algos.

This appeared in the June 1st Daily Nexus printed edition.