Ninth Square

Summer Comes In February

by Karen Ponzio | Feb 14, 2018 12:32 pm

Karen Ponzio PhotoAbout 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.

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Buttondowns Strike The Right Tone

by Brian Slattery | Feb 6, 2018 7:35 am

Courtesy the ButtondownsThe 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.”

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Shellye Valauskas Experience Hits The Panic Button

by Brian Slattery | Feb 5, 2018 8:05 am

“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.

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Two Broken Strings Don’t Mean A Thing

by Brian Slattery | Jan 30, 2018 7:33 am

Brian Slattery PhotoNew Haven-based trio Lea was churning through one of its songs when singer and guitarist James Fonicello stopped playing. “I broke a string!” he said. He turned to the crowd at Cafe Nine. “When Straight to VHS” — the band that had just finished playing — “broke a string, I said to my drummer, ‘That is going to happen to us.’ And it did!”

Two broken strings from two different bands couldn’t stop the music at the latest installment of Manic Mondays, a weekly series that features three bands doing shorter sets than usual at the Crown Street club on Monday nights and only seems to have grown more popular over time.

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“Resident X” Takes The Art Out Of The Studio

by Brian Slattery | Jan 18, 2018 7:38 am | Comments (1)

Katie JurkiewiczSay you’re in a conference call and you start doodling on the piece of paper in front of you. Say you cover the whole thing with doodles, and start doing that during every conference call.

Or say you’re a commuter at a bus stop and something — a soda can and a plastic bag arranged just so — catches your eye. You take a picture of it with your phone. Say you do this every day. Are you an artist?

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