“Lantern Hill” begins with the drone of a guitar, a cello shaking out an eerie melody in its upper register. It’s somehow tense and peaceful at the same time. It then settles into a swinging melody that still doesn’t quite lose the paradox from the song’s opening minute. It feels old as the hills, but still unsettled. It’s there in a well-chosen note, an atmospheric sound hovering in the background. It’s there in the instruments themselves, the guitar and cello in the same range, weaving in and out of each other, making a big sound. And it’s the opening number from Pyrrhotite, the latest release from New Haven’s own Swamp Yankee.
Exotic masks and costumes seemed in short supply under the shimmering streamers of the annual New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) Mardi Gras fundraiser celebration this year — but not the celebratory fervor that kicked into high gear at the celebration’s temporary new location in Westville.
About halfway through Earthkry’s set, vocalist and guitarist Aldayne Haughton posed a question to the audience at Cafe Nine: “Do you want us to stop or keep playing?” The thunderous confirmation he received nearly shook the walls of the intimate room on this Fat Tuesday — a night typically known for outlandish behavior, but here, in this bar, simply for celebrating music and life.
“It’s uncertain what the name of this series is going to be,” joked Conor Perreault as he discussed taking over the second Saturday of the month time slot at Never Ending Books that used to belong to the Uncertainty Music Series — which had come to the end of its run this past August. The Uncertainty Music Series had been devoted to experimental music.
So, it seems, will Perreault’s series. It doesn’t have a name. But it does have a mission.
Yale Opera is putting on a production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Shubert Theater from Feb. 16 to 18. The music will be unchanged. It will be sung in the original German. It’s just that almost everyone in the cast will be robots.
Before the final two songs of his set with Anonymous Inc. on Tuesday night, Ceschi Ramos jokingly expressed his gratitude to the audience. “Thank you for coming early for this measly opening act,” he said. But there was nothing measly about this three-act bill of artists that gave the newly reopened Space Ballroom its first weekday show, filling the renovated room with a constant vibe of love, light, and sound.
The strut that starts “Strong Man,” the opening single from the New Haven-based Buttondowns’ new album Volume and Tone, is straight-up rock ‘n’ roll, of the kind you don’t hear much anymore but never really got tired of in the first place. It’s the kind that makes you feel good.
“I work 20-hour days, I never get a break / the taxman takes, everything I make / I’m working so hard for so darn long / don’t even know it when the weekend comes along,” Robert Obie sings. The music puts the lie to those hard-up lyrics. It sounds like the weekend’s already here.
“I’m a strong man,” Obie says. He repeats it again. “I’m a strong man / But you make me weak.”
“Gravity,” off History of Panic — the new album from the New Haven-based Shellye Valauskas Experience — starts with a warm bass, a chiming guitar. “It feels a little like loss / and a lot like gravity,” Valauskas sings, her voice clear and confident, though the meaning in the lyrics conveys something more ambiguous. “Weighs you down, pulls you under / and it makes it hard to see / where you are.” Within a few bars, the music joins her, the tonal center shifting, then shifting again. It still has all the accessibility of a good pop song. But it speaks of years of musical experience.