Archive for the ‘Palm’ Category


SOUNDTRACK: PALM-Ostrich Vacation (2015).

Palm has recently reissued this record on cassette.  I don’t like cassettes, so I won’t be getting this.   But it is available streaming so you can check out this early, peculiar release from this peculiar band.

Palm is an unusual band and these four talented musicians (Eve Alpert (gtr/vox), Gerasimos Livitsanos (bass), Kasra Kurt (gtr/vox) and Hugo Stanley (drums)) have found their ideal bandmates because they play off of each others ideas perfectly.

The digital release is treated like a cassette, with two tracks and multiple parts.

Side A is Dime / Drift / Communication / Trust / Small Mouth (11:54).

There’s 30 seconds of a funky bass (that seems like it’s not them) before “Dime” starts.  It’s a slow almost shoegazey song with all kinds of angular chords thrown on top.  And then after a minute and fifteen they do what they do best–dissonant notes played often enough that they become melodic together.

There’s a few seconds of a grooving song on a tape that gets sped up before “Drift” opens with a series of unexpected notes and complex drum pattern–in other words, typical Palm.  Their exploration of atypical melody is really fantastic.

“Communication” opens with the two guitars playing different dissonant sounds–weird angular chords against a three note melody that seems … wrong, like screaming solo notes.  The impressive things are the way the drums and bass ground this exercise in experimentation and that it turns surprisingly danceable by the middle.

“Trust” starts out with some slow chords and echoing voices–it’s all vaguely out of tune sounding and then “Small Mouth” jumps in with a lurching melody and some percussive drumming (nice wood block).  The vocals are soft and shoegazey despite the overall noisiness of the song.  It’s certainly the prettiest track here.  The track ends with 30 seconds of sped up version of a live album.  I suppose it could be determined who the band is if one were so inclined.

Side two is longer with fewer songs: Ostrich Vacation / Is Everything Okay / Tomorrow the World (14:29).

“Ostrich Vacation” opens with a fast single chords that sounds like “Helter Skelter” but it lasts for some 45 seconds before the drums kick in and the song shifts into a different beast.  This song feels fairly conventional despite the odd chords.  Until it gets Palmed at 1:34 when things slow down and the two guitars start throwing around unconventional guitar melodies and noisy chords.  It starts jumping back and forth between these three parts until around 3 minutes when it turns into a total guitar freak out with both guitars making wild noise for twenty seconds until the drums kick in and the song lurches into a new melody.  This new melody is mostly conventional (sounding a bit like some early SST bands).  Then at around 6 minutes it changes again, this time a fast full on melody that lasts all of 30 seconds before the song ends

“Is Everything OK” starts with some jagged chords that ring out while an interesting and unusual bassline runs underneath. The chord stays the same while the bass explores different melodies.  Then the drums kick in with some jazzy almost improvised-sounding beats.  The second guitar stats throwing in weird shapes and feedback, while quiet vocals whisper around the edges and a clarinet (!) squawking around.  After some jamming the song comes to a crashing end with some echoing and looped drum riots.

“Tomorrow the World” is literally two guitars tuning and detuning for five minutes.  It really stretches the boundaries of what a song is–and what someone might want to listen to.

Their later albums are more complicated and supremely cool.

[READ: May 11, 2021] “Something Like Happy”

I rather enjoyed this simple story.

The narrator is a bank teller–it’s her first job and she’s pleased to have it.

Arthur McKechnie came in to deposit a bunch of checks.  He seemed like a nice guy, but he seemed to be living mostly in his own head.  It wasn’t until he signed over the checks that she saw his name McKechnie, and knew who he was.

The McKechnies were bad news, but then narrator knew of them because her sister Marie was dating the worst of them–Stan McKechnie.  Of course the more people told Marie that Stan was no good, the tighter she clung to him.

he always returns to her when he deposits his checks and he seems to be flirting with her–in odd ways.  She didn’t know what to say though and the transactions ended. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: CANCELLED: April 22, 2020] Real Estate / Palm

indexI saw Real Estate open for Belle and Sebastian five years ago.  I enjoyed their mellow set and found them very pleasant.

Seeing as how they are from Ridgewood, NJ (about five minutes from where I grew up), I feel like I should like them so much more.

Mostly I like their sound in small doses–it’s a little too mellow for me.  But i do enjoy them.

Mostly, though, I was going to go to this show for openers Palm.  I have seen Palm twice, both times in small venues.  I would have liked to see them on a larger stage (although I can’t imagine a less comparable band for them to play with than Real Estate.

Whereas Real Estate plays pretty songs, Palm plays chaotic, untethered, truly original songs.  They are magnificent and I love watching them play their bizarre songs.

There aren’t too many bands where I’ve thought “I need to see them a lot more,” but Palm is one of those bands.

This show was postponed, although I am really not sure if Palm will be with then when it gets rescheduled.  We’ll see.

UPDATE: On May 19 the band formally cancelled the show/tour

With all of the uncertainty about when we’ll be able to play live shows again, we have no choice but to formally cancel all of our announced headline shows including the previously postponed dates.

Please know that this is devastating for us on every level, but we have no doubt that it is the right decision to make.

Stay strong everyone, we will be back!

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[ATTENDED: September 29, 2019] Philly Music Fest

For those counting, this makes four concerts in four nights, which is frankly insane (and thanks to my poor wife who tolerates such excesses).

But the whole reason I wanted to go this evening was to see Man Man (more in their own post).

But, in fact, the entire Philly Music Fest was pretty fantastic.  I would have certainly gone to three of the four nights if I could have.  This little festival is a testament to the amazing music that Philadelphia is producing, and they didn’t even include two of my favorite Philly bands, Mannequin Pussy and Control Top.

The first night I actually didn’t know any of the bands.

  • Wednesday 9/25 at Milkboy (a venue I haven’t been to yet)
  • Secret American
  • Sixteen Jackies
  • Ceramic Animal

The second night was an amazing line up! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 24, 2017] Palm

I saw Palm open for Dilly Dally last year and I enjoyed their set a lot.  I instantly found their bandcamp site and downloaded Trading Basics (Ostrich Vacation is a bit more out there).  This show at PhilaMOCA was ostensibly an album release party for their new EP, Shadow Expert.  But when I asked the bassist if that meant the were going to throw confetti he just laughed.  Later Eve Alpert said she was really blown away that so many people came (it was sold out).  So it was cool to be at that show.

I was really excited to see them in such a small place and I planted myself right up front to watch what they were doing (those chords!).  After about four songs someone came thundering in from who knows where and started slam dancing (she was the only one), and I wound up pretty far back after that, which sucked.  It was also really really stupid hot in there, but Palm transcended the scene and played an awesome set.

They played most (but I don’t think all) of the new EP.  It even sounded like they may have thrown in some brand new songs too, but I’m not sure.  They started with “Walkie Talkie” and the opening strange chords and notes of the EP–it’s so interesting to watch them play this stuff.  And the fact that they are perfectly in sync and never miss a beat is just outstanding. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 24, 2017] Palberta

For Palberta, I came down from the balcony because the room had cleared out some–it was really hot so people headed outside for a mew minutes.  I grabbed a spot pretty close and then just before the band went on a tall fellow with artificial flowers (that seemed like he was going to give to the band but never did) stood on front of me.

I’d only heard of Palberta after seeing that they were going to open for Palm.  They have gotten some write ups in some pretty major publications (in Feb they were mention in Rolling Stone as 1 of 10 new bands to get to know).  In that article, Rolling Stone says

sing disjointed playground punk that embraces both dissonance and innocence, trading instruments as quickly as they change ideas: A good 80 percent of the songs poke and scurry off before two minutes are up. “At this point writing short songs feels more intuitive for us than intentional – it’s the natural way,” says Nina Ryser. “It kind of reflects the song writing process itself: frenzied, fast, kind of jumbled.”

And that’s a pretty apt description of the band (I’m fairly surprised that they were mentioned there at all).

And the band says: (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 24, 2017] Suffer Dragon

Two trips to PhilaMOCA in three days.  This time to see a local band that I really like, Palm.

I arrived in the middle of Suffer Dragon set and immediately went upstairs where no one was (it as incredibly hot once again).  I enjoyed that angle quite a bit.  It was very close to the stage and you could really see what both guys were doing.

For Suffer Dragon is a duo–guitar (Adam Babar) and one drum (Daniel Betts).  I didn’t know any of their songs until I looked them up online–there was basically one live video that I watched.  I gather they might be pretty locally famous.  Indeed, back in May, Palm opened for Suffer Dragon.

What made this duo different from many other duos is that Betts also played keyboards (drumstick in right hand, left on the keys) and the Babar’s guitar was hooked up to some crazy effects pedals that made many things he played sound very un-guitar-like.  He was the singer as well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 7, 2016] Palm

2016-11-07-21-08-37 The second opening act was a band called Palm.  My story about Palm I that given the set up of Boot & Saddle (it’s a small club with no backstage), I was (inadvertently) standing near the band’s gear when their set was done.  Their guitarist Eve walked literally next to me with her guitar on.  So I told her how much I liked the show.  She was super friendly and chatty and then another woman walked up to us.  She turned out to be Liz from Dilly Dally.  Liz told Eve that their set was great and that she had wanted to catch them at SXSW but couldn’t.  Eve was flattered and thanked Liz so much for letting them open, to which Liz smiled and waved her off.  Liz then said she was drinking an American Mule [vodka, and ginger ale and a lime] and said it was great offered Eve a sip.  Then she headed up stage.  I realize that neither of these bands are exactly stars, but that’s not happening at MSG, that’s for sure!

So Palm was fantastic.  An amazing band to see live (especially from so close).  The band plays noisy, complex music that has parts math-rock and parts shoegaze.  They remind me of Battles, but only in part.  The two guitarists Kasra Kurt and Eve Alpert are constantly playing different (and highly unlikely) chords or notes.  Meanwhile the bassist (Gerasimos Livitsanos) is typically playing his own patterns that somehow meld with the two and keep everything grounded.  And the drummer (Hugo Stanley) is doing complex things of his own.  It’s so hard to tell who you want to watch. (more…)

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