Ports of Spain
From the back of the bar, Ports of Spain instantly scan as a full band, so it’s a shock to discover their mathy shoegaze-pop is constructed by just two musicians. Ilya Gitelman uses octave pedals and loops to play lead, bass and rhythm guitar simultaneously, while Sam Carlson contributes vocals, keyboards, and drums. Don’t be fooled — Ports of Spain are not another band that trades directionless loopy jazz odysseys for pure songcraft. Their equipment never gets in the way of their complex melodies. They write actual songs, consistently avoiding complication for the sake of complication. They juggle tons of ideas in every song, creating a noise that’s consistently about to fall apart. That it doesn’t is incredible by itself. Their brilliant songs may seem like a bonus under these circumstances, but don’t underrate Ports of Spain. Even as these two guys spew chaos into crowded clubs, their songwriting is always there to remind you why a grounding in planned songcraft keeps so many of the best bands tethered to excellence. Ports of Spain belong in their company. Ports of Spain have played with bands like Tera Melos, Hospitality, Beach Fossils, Fang Island, Pissed Jeans, Pile, ONWE, Speedy Ortiz, Morning Teleportation, Kal Marks, The Paper Kites, and Solids.
Sad Turtle is an instrumental quartet from Burlington, Vermont. Their compositions juxtapose the raw power of rock instrumentation with rich ethereal textures more often associated with ambient or cinematic music. Acclaimed as “instrumental rock music for people who don’t like instrumental rock music,” Sad Turtle has worked diligently to refine diverse musical influences into a concise musical statement that is equal parts serious and silly. Their debut album “Ruthless and Toothless” showcases their accessible approach to experimental music while their live shows have drawn comparisons to Battles, Tortoise, and Alarmist.