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 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; 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).

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Music: Indie rock from A Pallet for the Shoal, The Grand Par Friday, June 28

A Pallet for the Shoal and The Grand Par play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 28. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

A Pallet for the Shoal is a music project based in Connecticut ranging in genre from ambient and experimental to lyrical with leanings toward folk-rock. The group features Clayton Eles (guitar, vocals), Lucas Hibbard (bass), and Pat Quinn (drums).

The Grand Par is a 3-piece original rock band from New Haven, CT formed in February 2017. Scott Daly (vocals, guitar) from the successful international solo project of Arms and Legs, was looking to start a band after living and touring in China and performing session work in LA and NYC. Scott settled in CT to be closer to family and that’s where he met up with local CT drummer Wes Cross, original and former drummer of Hot Rod Circuit. To complete the lineup is Chris Cook on bass and vocals ex Thee Hyrdrogen Terrors formerly of Providence, RI. The Grand Par’s music can be best described as big driving rock songs with catchy hooks and melodies drawing influences ranging from The Beatles, Cheap Trick, and The Replacements. Recording will soon begin in Summer of 2019.

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Music: Burning Sensations heat up Best Video Fri., June 21, at 8 PM

Burning Sensations play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 21. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

What would The Doors sound like if they met Weird Al in a brothel that they can’t afford? The Burning Sensations have cultivated their collective whimsy to beg the question. Scott Meikle sings in an uncanny sense of vaudeville pastiche beside Ronnie Demaio who delivers his own brand of enigmatic snarl on guitar. Joe Scialla anchors the quartet behind the drum kit while Will Iannuzzi simultaneously holds down the low end and endows his melodic wizardry on keys. The band relentlessly proves themselves live with their genre-bending compositions such as “Wanting More”, “Murky Waters”, and “Do Me” and on their upcoming debut album set for release in late summer 2019.

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Music: Indie rock group Wally plays Thurs., June 20

Wally plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, June 20, starting at 8 PM. The cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Wally began in Hamden, CT in the Winter of 2014, as the first step into collaborative pop music by a few high school friends studying music together. Initially under the name Nothing Special, these friends played a variety of covers, slowly building a repertoire of original material.

The band has since gone onto release their EP, “Fred’s Got Slacks,” on iTunes and Spotify. Since the release of this EP the band has progressed immensely musically delving into softer Rock and Roll with traces of The Beach Boys, The Beatles and more modern bands such as Wilco and Radiohead. Following the departure of lead guitarist Rody Conway the band has shifted more from blues driven sound to a more high-reverb tone combined with layered harmonies.

Lead Singer Alex Blair, and Guitarist and Singer Teo Hernandez have had a long history of writing and and performing together. They were veterans of the aforementioned Nothing Special, having performed at Toad’s Place New Haven, The Festival of Arts and Ideas, The North Branford POCO Festival, among many other venues and events.

Wally for this show will feature Blair (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Teo Hernandez (lead guitar, vocals), Lucas Hernandez (synth, vocals), Jackson Roman (drums), Miles Keingstein (trumpet), Declan Sheehy-Moss (tenor sax, electric sax), and Matt Aranow (bass).

Samples of Wally’s music can be found on their website Wally.Band, on Spotify or iTunes still under Nothing Special or on Soundcloud and Facebook @Wallyusa and on Instagram @thoseguyswhoplaymusic.

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Music: Indie rock and pop punk from When In Doubt (NJ), Kim Normal, The Magnetic Sat., May 18, at 7:30 PM

A triple bill of indie rock/punk bands—When In Doubt (from New Jersey), Kim Normal, The Magnetic—play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, May 18. 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 pop punk/alternative rock band When in Doubt was formed in 2016 by the two brothers Mike & Pete Benigno and Richie Mandanici. When In Doubt released a song and music video for “Left Your Mark,” reaching just shy of 1.7k views on YouTube, which then followed the 2018 release of a new EP again with Rob Chiarappa named “History.” This release focused a lot on what the bandmates as good friends have gone through and incorporated more of a raw sound. With this new music they now feel completely connected with nothing holding them back. They have also played local shows with bigger bands like Belmont, 7 Minutes in Heaven, The Stolen, VISTA, Boys of Fall, and In Her Own Words.

Kim Normal—formerly called No Idea—was formed in late 2016 in Central CT. The band built a fan base by performing at local farmer’s markets and private parties along with filming covers of full Nirvana and other albums for YouTube. After having success with the covers, the band began writing original material. Their first recording was a cover of “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles. Two EPs, entitled “Your Peril” and “Fungus” followed in late 2017. With the addition of bassist Conor McCarthy, the band is actively playing shows and is currently working on recording their debut LP.

The Magnetic is based out of Danbury CT, indie rock/pop with melodic guitars, anthemic builds & beautifully relatable themes. Their debut EP ‘Quarter Life’ (recorded in 2016/17 at Mother Brother studios) tracks angst through grunge tinged pop songs. These are songs about the things that break us down & then the things that build us back up again. The Magnetic is Courtney LePere on vocals and bass, Kevin McLain on lead/rhythm guitar, and Joe Pacelli on guitar.

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Music: The Sawtelles return to Best Video Fri., May 3

The Sawtelles—including Best Video Film & Cultural Center Executive Director Richard Brown on sax and guitar—play Best Video Performance Space Friday, May 3. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Husband and wife duo Pete and Julie Riccio are the foundation of the Sawtelles. They have added a new texture to their palette in recent years with the addition of guitarist and saxophonist Richard Brown. Their music is a balance of four elements: alternate-tuned guitar, stand-up drum kit (ala Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker) and two voices. Peter plays guitar and Julie plays drums; they both sing. Their sparse but intricately arranged pop is as lush as it is captivatingly unique; what is played as important as what isn’t.

Their self-produced DYI philosophy aligns them more with the hand painted Sun Ra LP’s of 1950’s and 60’s then it does with those striving for mainstream commercial success.

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