Santa Barbara music

Killer Kaya: “Seasons of Unrest”

When California comes to mind, it’s easy to imagine three hundred and sixty sunny days a year. But between earthquakes, floods, mudslides, wildfires, and other natural disasters (we’ll even throw in this global pandemic for posterity)…it’s not just a coastal breeze over there. Whatever the weather, Cali can always rely on some really cool cross-cultural sounds; think about the psychedelia of Haight-Ashbury, surf rock, ’70s Chicano soul, Latin-introduced tropicalia, or the unique jazz style of West Coast swing.

If you’re looking for a contemporary combination of all those genres that collides like tectonic plates and never phones in a half-baked pastiche, check out Killer Kaya. This Santa Barbara five-piece has already opened for the likes of Shuggie Otis, Cat Power, and even Nuggets legends The Strawberry Alarm Clock. Killer Kaya’s first two albums 29 Lives (2017) and Persimmon Perspective (2018) both leaned on a commanding horn section, but once their 2020 tour got cancelled amidst COVID, the band stripped themselves of brass and broached a fresh approach.

It’s been two years…but Killer Kaya is finally back. Their already-rich psych-rock sound is now complemented by an incorporation of synths as well as the addition of die-hard, adrenaline-drenched drummer Justin Kass. These changes’ll come into play on Killer Kaya’s upcoming LP Tunnel at the End of the Light (out October 7th) as heard on one of Tunnel‘s most exciting singles, “Seasons of Unrest”. Like the effects-heavy, falsetto-fueled wrath of an angry God, “Seasons of Unrest” paints a dramatic picture of existential dread over California climate patterns in an operatic prog-rock original that lands somewhere between Santana, Mars Volta, and The Doors.