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.
"Ports of Spain is a small band with a large potential for success."
- Paste Magazine
"Gitelman re-creates parts he played in the studio — sinewy chord progressions, sub-octave bass riffs, surf-rock strumming patterns and arpeggios — without necessarily being constricted by them, and also sings. Carlson croons bright melodies, plays tom-driven beats, bashes cymbals and works a keyboard with one hand. Each man's routine is a tightrope act, synchronized with the other's."
- The Courant
"Ports of Spain goes a sonic step beyond the two-man band paradigm."
- Connecticut Post
"New Haven's Ports of Spain are Worth Seeing Over and Over"
- The New Haven Advocate
Pearl Sugar is the synth-pop project of Hartford, Connecticut musician Chris Bugnacki. Bugnacki has spent the last decade of his life developing his craft and performing with other artists. Since 2016, he has taken a focus on writing, recording and performing as Pearl Sugar.
In his writing, Bugnacki delves deep into childhood memories and dreams to present lyrics that blur the distinction between dreamworld and reality. The stories in these songs are nothing short of cinematic, and the heavy use of synths and drum machines serve as the perfect score for his revelations.
The textures and instrumentation Bugnacki employs will undoubtedly bring 80s dance and house music to mind, as well as the driving, melodic bounce of artist like Porches and Blood Orange — yet these comparisons fail to scratch the surface of his unique arrangements and earnest lyricism.
In the fall of 2017, Pearl Sugar embarked on their first US tour and more recently released two promising singles in support of their forthcoming debut EP Alright, out April 27th.