Youth XL, Stephen Friedland at Best Video Thurs., Sept. 30

Youth XL plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., Sept. 30. The show starts at 5 PM with Stephen Friedland opening.

Youth XL is a charmingly irreverent indie-rock group based out of New Haven, CT. Led by singer-songwriter Alex McGuire, their live shows are a lively mix of catchy originals, curious covers, and a healthy dose of general silliness. With songs about learning Yoga, swiping right on dating apps, and texting your friends, Youth XL strikes a balance between cynical social commentary and a sense of optimism for the future. Their debut EP Text Your Friends (2020) is available on all streaming platforms.

Stephen Friedland — the group Fat Randy’s principal songwriter, vocalist and guitarist — has also been a sound engineer and co-promoter with Tiny Box Booking, Connecticut’s premiere promotions vehicle, for nearly 5 years. During his time cutting teeth in the hottest local DIY venues the Nutmeg State has to offer, he has run sound for hundreds of bands, many of whom play music at the intersection of self-conscious indie rock and insular bedroom pop. In what amounts to some kind of gratuitous exercise in Musical FOMO and a totally epic test of being able to write songs that listeners without neckbeards can enjoy, (Randy) Alex G was born.

The album, recorded and mixed by Zack Abramo (Mesmer [fka Crag Mask], Vundabar) and Friedland, is surprisingly diverse in its scope, despite hewing to a more stringent stylistic theme than recordings past. The garage bombast of “Asymmetrical Bangs, Pt. I” and “Asymmetrical Bangs, Pt. II” pays homage to bands like LVL UP (and Friedland’s very brief tenure at SUNY Purchase College, where so much of this genre of music originated), while “Not Now, I’m on Island Time” fuses Sinatra-esque croons with relaxed Hawaiian slide guitar music. At present, the album is slated for mastering at Dog Year Studio in Ellington, CT by Phil Lord (also of Mesmer), with a formal release date TBA.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Indie rock from Arms Like Roses, Evelyn Gray Thurs., Sept. 2

Arms Like Roses plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., Sept. 2. The show starts at 5:30 PM with a set by Evelyn Gray.

Arms Like Roses is an outfit that sprung up out of Connecticut’s DIY scene taking a true punk approach by self-recording demos, making their own merch by hand, playing any basement or bar they could, and placing a strong emphasis on charity and meaningful activism. With a sound rooted in the late 90s/early 00s second-wave emo scene akin to acts like Rainer Maria, Mineral, and Benton Falls, the band add a unique modern edge and youthful energy to the style that makes them fit right in alongside current punk and alternative rock acts like Mannequin Pussy and Hop Along.

After existing for a couple years (and a pandemic that caused endless delays to their progress), the band’s hard work is finally on display with their debut EP “Get Some Sleep”, and they plan to take things to the next level with a larger-budget LP to be recorded in the summer of 2021.

Evelyn Gray spent 25 years living someone else’s life. Now, she’s making up for lost time.

With an uncanny sense of gratefulness, Evelyn Gray weaves together the emotional history of her first year transitioning. Her debut album, “Let the Flower Grow,” explores vulnerability, visibility, authenticity, and self-acceptance. Her work on the Self through music has dispelled the feeling of being misplaced, of wondering why she was alive and what she was doing here – “here” being not just on this planet, but in this body. Her music provides a calmness and encourages space to be held for those needing to feel seen, heard, and accepted. Speaking on her live sound, the New Haven Independent shares:

“Each song began tenderly, inviting you to come in and be comforted, reassuring you that you were safe and understood, and then allowing you to release whatever ailed you as [she] brought each song to it’s climax, guitar swung back, hands raised with voice and spirit elevated. The crowd was held captive.”

Gray’s visibility work is not just for her sake, but for her community at large (or, as she puts it, “for anyone who has ever been made to feel like there was something wrong with them”). For all those who are still afraid to be themselves, for anyone who feels like they don’t have a voice, for anyone searching for representation, Gray is here to speak up. “Let the Flower Grow” is a message that you are seen, you are valid, and you are enough.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

The Sawtelles return Sat., Aug. 21

The Sawtelles play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Aug. 21. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Husband and wife duo Pete and Julie Riccio are the foundation of the Sawtelles. 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.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Indie rock from Zoo Front Fri., Aug. 13

Zoo Front plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., Aug. 13. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Zoo Front is an eclectic original band based in New Haven, Connecticut. Drawing on a wide variety of influences throughout the history of rock n roll, Zoo Front specializes in upbeat music paired with poignant lyrics.

Zoo Front is: Ed Ekendu, Ju Dee Luna, Nancie Tatsapaugh, and Lisa Tonner.

Having mastered the art of file sharing, Zoo Front spent the first months of 2021 putting the finishing touches on the EP “I Need Time”, released in February. There is more new music in the works, as the band has dubbed this “The Return of the Year of the EP” and plans to release at least 2 more EPs before year’s end. Zoo Front is now booking live appearances as restrictions are lifted across Connecticut.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Vicki F, Things Behind the Sun play Fri., July 9

Vicki F plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Fri., July 9. The show starts with an opening set at 5 PM from the duo Things Behind the Sun.

Vicki F is a rock musician and songwriter who was the lead singer and founder of The Dini Band from 2010 to 2016, and was one of the the lead singers and guitar players for the 80s post-punk band, Troupe DiCoupe, that headlined at CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City, other NYC venues and also Ron’s Place, New Haven. She is now performing originals in and around Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Things Behind the Sun is about two old friends reconnecting and discovering the pleasure of making music together again.

Mark Perrelli is a lifelong drummer having appeared with various local bands in Hartford / New Haven area including Editors and Poor Boy among many others. Rob Dauphinais plays bass and guitar and has appeared in several bands over the years including Editors, Exit Terra and Ponybird.

Together for the first time in 30 years this appearance will be grounded in song structures and may be labeled ‘folk punk’, Things Behind the Sun will also be gearing up for some louder experiments later this year including a prospective appearance at the Elm City Noise Festival in October.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

For a full list of upcoming events, click here.

Lys Guillorn Duo with Eric Bloomquist, Karen Ponzio share bill Sat., June 26

Lys Guillorn duo with Eric Bloomquist and special guest, poet Karen Ponzio, play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sat., June 26, at 5:30 PM.

Lys Guillorn is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and discipline-hopping artist from Shelton, Connecticut. A stylistic shape-shifter, Guillorn dips her pointy boots in folk and psych-rock.

In 2018, Guillorn won CT Now’s Best of Hartford Readers Poll for Best Singer-Songwriter. She has two full-length studio records of original material, a collection of covers and compilation tracks, and a couple of EPs and singles on her own label Little Cowgirl Records. Her most recent single is called “Dolores & I,” released on the 2020 compilation Waiting on a Sunrise Vol. 1. Guillorn will be playing electric guitar, and will be joined by Lys Guillorn & Her Band’s bassist, Eric Bloomquist (also of Bronson Rock, Chica Non Grata.)

Karen Ponzio has been involved in the healing arts for over 30 years and in the creation of poetry, prose, and drawings for even longer. She has shared her poems, displayed her artwork, and hosted a variety of live shows throughout the New Haven area.

She also hosts a biweekly show on CygnusRadio.com called The Word According to KP focusing on written and spoken word of all kinds and types as well as lyrically driven music.

Karen is currently an arts journalist for the New Haven Independent and has been published in local magazines such as The Cut-Up and Put Down Your Phone, New Haven. She also teaches journalism in the Creative Writing program at ACES- Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Drifting North, Slyne & The Family Stoned play Fri., June 11

Drifting North and Slyne & The Family Stoned play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Fri., June 11, starting at 5 PM.

Drifting North’s sonic explorations cover a lot of fertile ground — psychedelic folk/pop tunes and garage rockers can morph into motorik train beat jammers that bleed into meditative folk ragas. Paired with impressionist lyrics, the result is a beautiful sonic spread — a fresh take on the kind of cosmic Americana that’s been bubbling up from the the US underground the past few years.

Michael Slyne leads a group of punks and freaks and lovers and misfits and drifters and soul searchers and jazz cats and pseudo pop queens and tone benders black market salesmen. They try and make a glorious racket.

The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

UPDATE—Postponed to Sun., June 6, at 3 PM: Mercy Choir, Kierstin Sieser on the Best Video deck

UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather today, the Mercy Choir/Kierstin Sieser show is being rescheduled to an afternoon show at 3 PM on Sunday, June 6, rather than today, Sat., May 29.

Mercy Choir and Kierstin Sieser play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Saturday, May 29, starting at 5:30 PM.

Paul Belbusti is a musician, writer, visual artist currently based near the New Haven, Connecticut area of the United States of America. His main creative musical project is called Mercy Choir. He’s also one half of the experimental duo Rivener. He is the author of two chapbooks: Imperial Pools (Analog Submission Press) and Lucy (Good Cop/Bad Cop Press).

Kierstin Sieser is the songwriter and lead vocalist for Tiny Ocean. Her new solo ep, Little Shots of Pepper, was released on 3/19/2021.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

Spit-take, Tim Rowe play Thurs., May 27, at 5 PM

Local indie rockers Spit-take play a cassette release show on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., May 27. The show starts at 5 PM with a solo set by Tim Rowe.

Spit-Take—who will play a rare quiet(er) set— are an indie-punk trio comprised of members of the bands Heats of Formation and Secret Parts. Joe Katz (guitar/vocal) Maggie Kinsella-Shaw (bass), and Dan Katz (drums) relocated as a band from Willimantic, CT to the Elm City in 2014. Their energetic, hook-packed songs reveal a strong affinity for early period Replacements and other garage punk power pop greats from well before these band members were born. The band has put out several releases on vinyl LP, cassette, and digitally.

Tim Rowe, who will perform solo, was formerly in the band Worn Leather.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming events.

RESCHEDULED (AGAIN)! The Sawtelles play the Best Video deck Sun., May 23, rather than Apr. 16 due to rain/cold forecast

UPDATE: The Sawtelles will play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck on Sunday, May 23, at 5 PM. This show was rescheduled due to predicted rain and cold for the original date of Friday, Apr. 16, and the rescheduled date of Apr. 25.

The Sawtelles play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Apr. 16, starting at 5 PM.

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 but will play this show as a duo. 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.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events.