JOATA is the moniker of Puerto Rican indie pop musician, Jose Oyola. Based in Los Angeles, Oyola blends hip hop and indie rock with Caribbean rhythms and writes anthemic bilingual songs about love, outer space and the homesickness of being part of the Puerto Rican diaspora.
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.
"Elison Jackson is a band from Philadelphia, PA. Though the band has had a rotating membership since its 2010 start, the core of the group is singer-songwriter Sam Perduta. They've released several albums and singles over their 10-year existence.
Their latest release, "Good Deeds", was recorded over several months in 2019 in North Philadelphia at Uniform Recording, and was engineered, produced, and mixed by Jeff Zeigler (War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, Laraaji, Mary Lattimore, Gargia Peoples), with Perduta and Perault playing almost all of the instruments (except drums, which was played by Chad Brown of West Philly Orchestra, and singing saw and clarinet by Jordan Burgis). Pieced together over several sessions, the album is the heaviest and rawest Elison Jackson release yet, while still maintaining the masterful lyrics and evocative atmosphere of previous Elison Jackson material.
The Professors of Sweet, Sweet Music (POSSM) are very handsome. They are also winners of the Best of Hartford Readers Poll three years in a row and are co-creators of the Hartbeat Music Festival. According to the Hartford Courant, they “have been turning the Hartford music scene on its ear for the last couple years. Few bands have exploded onto the Hartford music scene the way the POSSM has. The band’s brand of pop-infused rock can be downright infectious at times”.