Music: The Sawtelles, Robert Zott enliven Sat., Jan. 25, at 7:30 PM

The Sawtelles will celebrate 20 years together with a return to the Best Video Film and Cultural Center stage on Sat., Jan. 25, at 7:30 PM. The cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Sawtelles were the first act ever to play live music at Best Video back in 2011. For two decades, they have performed at art galleries, museums, performance spaces, festivals, night clubs, farmer’s markets and an even wider variety of diverse venues, as well as on radio and television.

Peter Riccio writes the songs, sings, plays guitar, and records the band. Julie Riccio plays drums, adds vocals, influences song arrangements, and develops artwork for CD releases.

Former BVFCC Executive Director Richard Brown began his association with the duo in 2014. He plays guitar and saxophone.

The trio’s sound is an incorporation of a wide range of musical influences particularly from the rock, jazz, and songwriter traditions. The additional guitar and saxophone expand the two voice, guitar and drum sonic palette, offering a distinct take on the unique song structures. Ballads, love songs, a dirge, a punk rock song, or a jazz or blues influenced piece, all benefit from lush, quirky arrangements with global influence. There is counterpoint, polyphony, and improvisation. This is an original band — with a sense of humor. Be there to be part of a fun night. Get experienced!

Robert Zott opens the show, an amazing songwriter, musician and visual artist. Zott is a Hartford, CT-based singer/songwriter who creates a unique form of conceptual blues. His music incorporates objects such as a nautical speaking tube, a Morse code generator, and a music box made from a black box flight recorder. Each object makes reference to communication at a distance and functions as a metaphor for isolation.

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Music: Indie rock by Pond View, Tate & Silas, Anchor Fri., Jan. 17, at 7 PM

The indie rock bands Pond View, Tate & Silas, and Anchor play Best Video Performance Space Fri., Nov. 17. The show starts at 7 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Pond View is an indie-rock group from Branford, CT that was formed in March 2019. During their high school days, the trio would head to their basement and record songs on their phones. The band has released two EPs. Their debut EP “Basement Dwellers” and their latest project “All but Anything, but Anything is Fine.” With a full length album currently in the works.

Tate & Silas are a two piece band from New Haven, CT. Tate Brooks plays guitar, Silas Lourenco-Lang plays bass and kick drum. Writing songs in a shed and playing rambunctious shows around town, these rockers are more than meets the eye.

Anchor is an Alternative Rock band based out of Branford Connecticut. They write and perform all original songs. The band members include Taite Hodson (Bass & Vocals), Owen Calderwood (Percussion), Mateo Noble (Guitar), Sawyer Bouley (Guitar & Vocals), and Yann Calderwood (Keyboard & Alto Saxophone).

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Music: Indie rock by Glambat, Perennial, Addy Edward Fri., Jan. 10, at 7:30 PM

The indie rock acts Glambat, Perennial, and Addy Edward heat up the winter at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Jan. 10, starting at 7:30 PM. The cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Glambat is a New Haven indie-folk band lead by Emily Alderman (vocals, guitar), creating sultry tunes for your listening pleasure.

Perennial is the new sound of the avant-garde. Hailing from New England, the art punk band’s debut album was entitled “The Symmetry of Autumn Leaves.” Their performances are brief, sharp, and ecstatic. Their influences include The Creation, Otis Redding, and The Raincoats. Their most recent release—a cassette on Redscroll Records—is “Food for Hornets.”

Addy Edward is the musical moniker of Adam Bensen. Addy weaves traditional and electronic sounds into deeply personal songs. His self-recorded album “Picture of Youth,” a compilation of songs written and recorded over the span of 8 years, was released in April, 2018, followed quickly by his “Sedative Gentleman [EP].

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Music: Anna p.s., Meggie Czepiel perform Fri., Dec. 13

Indie folk musician Anna p.s. plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, sharing the bill with local singer-songwriter Meggie Czepiel. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Michigan-based indie folk musician Anna p.s. conveys a sense of weariness throughout her simple yet resonant songs, but it’s a weariness that keeps a blanket of hope tucked up under its chin, even as the rain keeps falling outside the windows. Grace always lurks around the corner on tunes that layer delicate vulnerability over the hearty stock of this songwriters’ spirit. With technical acumen acquired during an early career as an audio engineer, and a humble but confident stage presence groomed as a founding member of indie roots rock band Shiny Shiny Black, Anna stepped out as a solo musician in 2014. She’s been on the road intermittently ever since. Her debut LP Umbrella, released in July 2016, showcases her signature sonic blend of melancholy, hope, and resilience.

In concert, Anna plays acoustic guitar, foot percussion, and—perhaps unexpectedly—the flute. She uses a looper pedal to sample her guitar and loop it back while she plays flute interludes during her songs, bringing a unique element to her concerts.

Meggie Czepiel is an emerging songwriter from the local area. Her songs display well-crafted scenes that capture the magic and emotional themes akin to an intuitive poet growing up and marveling over the oddities of time. She has been writing songs in her head for as long as she can remember and on paper since she was 13. Meggie works with Ponybird and will soon work with other young female songwriters, in the hopes of creating a supportive, inspiring community for girls like her.

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Music: Little Silver and The Split Coils songwriters swap songs Thurs., Dec. 12

The songwriters from Little Silver (Erika Simonian and Steve Curtis) and The Split Coils (Jay Russell and Katelyn Russell) trade off songs at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Dec. 12. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range). (This show was rescheduled from Sept. 5.)

Little Silver released their debut album “Somewhere You Found My Name” July, 2017. Based in Brooklyn, and built around the ethereal vocals of married duo Erika Simonian and Steve Curtis, “Somewhere You Found My Name” is a gorgeous collection of original songs which confront the shifting landscape of gaining and losing loved ones, changes in perspective, and the uncertainty of life itself. Little Silver’s sparse arrangements and beautifully understated vocals bring these everyday truths to life.

Simonian and Curtis co-wrote all of the material on the new album. The experience of being partners in both life and music informs the themes of growth, loss, commitment, and the evolution of relationships that are woven throughout “Somewhere You Found My Name.” The beauty in Little Silver’s music is the way that they collaborate and create as a couple, working through life’s changes and encouraging the listener to process these experiences along with them.

J. Russell and the Split Coils are the current brain child of songwriter/ multi instrumentalist J.Russell (Hot Rod Circuit, Diamond J and the Rough). Joined by his wife Katelyn Russell on percussion and harmony, Joseph Ballaro on Bass guitar and Jon Scerbo on Drums. The songs (it’s all about the songs) are a straight forward mix of Rock and Roll, Soul and Country. Independently recorded and produced at home.

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Music: Jellyshirts jam at Best Video Wed., Oct. 30

Rock trio Jellyshirts return to Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Looking for a frame of reference for Jellyshirts’ music? Try the Velvet Underground and the Byrds. But the band–led by guitarist/vocalist Bret Logan for over 20 years, ably joined by drummer Scott McDonald and bass player Nick Appleby–has a sound determinedly their own.

From the band’s press packet: “Letting the wash of live sound influence each song, without anybody thinking ‘jazz’ or ‘improvisation.’ Never doing covers of our songs. Trying to get you to levitate about one-and-a-half feet off your chair (willingly, of course).”

The short version: They’re loud and they play bars with a mystical need to reach the audience.

From a 2009 Shoreline Times article by late musician and WPLR Local Bands radio show host James Velvet: “The band has been held in awe by its fans over the years for its sometimes soaring, sometimes droning sound, always played with intensity and skill. A good example is the current lead tune on their MySpace page, a recent live recording of a song they first performed 15 years ago, ‘Disinclined.’ Ten minutes of dynamic live jamming. ‘Pick and soar’ is how their longtime champion Gary Vollono of IndepenDisc.com describes the sound. To which I would add, ‘…and feedback sometimes.’”

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Music: Zoo Front, Anne Castellano & The Smoke play Thurs., Oct. 17, at 7:30 PM

Zoo Front.

The indie rock bands Zoo Front and Anne Castellano & The Smoke plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Oct. 17. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The last couple of years have been busy ones for Zoo Front. Their CD Red Stereo Dress marked the beginning of a new era for the band, with Nancie Tief making her singing and songwriting debut. Adding to the fun, they adopted a new working philosophy they call ABM – “ambient background mischief.” The idea is to add a subliminal track to each song that somehow fills out the sound in a way that defies definition. The personnel is Ed Ekendu (Guitar), Nancie Tief (Guitar),  Lisa Tonner (Drums) and Ju Dee Luna (bass).
Anne Castellano and the Smoke was formed in December 2011. The band has released a full-length CD, “Electric”, which came out in 2013, and an EP, “Bridge to Nowhere”, which was released in 2015. The band is currently working as a three-piece, with Anne Castellano on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Vincent Tuckwood on bass and vocals, and Tony Castellano on drums and vocals. They are playing shows and finishing up their second album.

Music: Mercy Choir CD release show for new “Upturned in Everest” Sat., Sept. 14, with accompaniment by Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps

Paul Belbusti of Mercy Choir (along with some special guests) will perform his new album “Upturned In Everest” with New Haven shapeshifters Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps at Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Sept. 14. This is the only scheduled performance, so mark your calendars. The show starts at 8 PM. Advance tickets are $8 (plus service charge) at BrownPaperTickets.com; tickets at the door are $12.

Pre-order the album at Mercy Choir’s Bandcamp page.

Weeks before his 40th birthday, Belbusti will release his most fully realized and strongest album yet, Upturned in Everest (out August 16, Dead Language Records). The first single is the hand-clapping, existential rave-up “Do You Know What I Mean?” and features contributions from Erik Elligers (Goodnight Blue Moon), Lys Guillorn (Lys Guillorn & Her Band), and Kierstin Sieser (Tiny Ocean).

Other highlights include the dark and humorous walk on the wild side, “A Weight Has Been Lifted,” the perfect pop nugget “Needles and Vinegar,” the electro–acoustic epic “The Muted,” and the hypnotic closer “My Own Sort of Bargain.”

Aside from contributions from those mentioned above, the 12 track album was written, performed, recorded, and mixed by Belbusti. It was mastered by Todd Tobias (Guided By Voices, Circus Devils). For the twelve track collection, Belbusti reflects on aging, loss, love, and navigating the 21st Century as an artist who began his work in the 20th.

Belbusti frantically worked on the album for about a year in his new home studio, which is a shed/art studio in his back yard in Guilford, CT. In between recording, he watched baseball, painted approximately 100 paintings, and ruminated on the deaths of several of his songwriting peers. Explains Belbusti, “I feel thankful to be here making the work I want to make. A long time ago, I made my own sort of bargain with something, somewhere. I promised to behave and to be kind as long as I would always be able to write songs until my days were done. Something like that. So far, so good.”

New Haven’s Mercy Choir is the musical outlet of singer-songwriter, poet, and painter Paul Belbusti. Since the inception of his project in the mid-2000s, Belbusti has been exceptionally prolific with his main act (never mind his work as one-half of the experimental group Rivener), releasing of albums and EPs that dabble in various genres like Americana, baroque pop, and lo-fi experimentation.

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Music: Semaphora, Them Airs play Thursday, Aug. 15, at 7:30 PM

Semaphora and Them Airs play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Aug. 15. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Semaphora is the musical project of composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Lydia Arachne, whose songs draw inspiration from the peculiar lyrical insights of Kate Bush and the harmonic textures of Steely Dan. At its foundation, Semaphora is rock music, but with patches of jazz, reggae, and folk sewn in, all guided forward by dense, poetic lyrics about unconventional subjects.

Arachne (drums) will be joined for this show by Gina Rizzo (vocals), Jess Plude (keyboard), Ace Carlson (guitar), Kelly L’Heureux (bass), and making her debut as a part of the Semaphora family, Sarah Golley, whom the Connecticut scene will recognize from Tyrone Shoelaces, as well as her own incredible keyboard-and-voice solo performances.

Them Airs—formerly known as Mirror Waves—are an amorphous squadron of musical hotboys that include a wayward levee wash boy, a hypocritical graphic designer and a modernist architecture curator. Using a variety of pre-millennium gear, they make a big filthy mess influenced equally by the Canadian post-punk underground and childhood fever dreams.

What is it? Noise rock, post-punk, janglegaze, hip earth, antifa, you name it. Band members are Cade Williams, Evan Nork, Adam Cohen, and Nate Johnston.

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Music: Tate & Silas, Anchor play indie rock Thurs., Aug. 8

The duo of Tate & Silas and the indie rock band Anchor play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Aug. 8. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Tate & Silas are a two piece band from New Haven, CT. Tate Brooks plays guitar, Silas Lourenco-Lang plays bass and kick drum. Writing songs in a shed and playing rambunctious shows around town, these rockers are more than meets the eye.

Anchor is an Alternative Rock band based out of Branford Connecticut. They write and perform all original songs. The band members include Taite Hodson (Bass & Vocals), Owen Calderwood (Percussion), Mateo Noble (Guitar), Sawyer Bouley (Guitar & Vocals), and Yann Calderwood (Keyboard & Alto Saxophone).

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.