Prickly and polyrhythmic, Palm’s “Shadow Expert” bristles and clangs. On the second track off their eponymous EP and upcoming Carpark debut, the Philadelphia-based four piece tumble even deeper into their bizarro corner of mathy art rock. Its ersatz drum patterns and guitar spikes interlocked in an unstable, impossibly complex lattice, the song seems buoyed only by Eve Albert’s airy vocals. It’s sharply effervescent and charmingly evanescent.
Before the band’s June 23 release show with Palberta, Palm shared an expansive playlist with personal commentary for each track. Parse Palm’s vast range of inspiration, from DJ Rashad to Broadcast, below a stream of “Shadow Expert.”
Mica Levi & Oliver Coates – “Barok Main”
I get excited about pretty much everything Mica Levi works on. Her music feels improvisational or experimental but never in a pretentious way—it’s often rooted in a pop or club beat dialect. On this record, the mixture of Levi’s chop and screwage with the soothing ambience of Olivier Coates’ moody cello passages just gets to my gut. Collaboration is cool.
DJ Rashad – “We Run It”
We became obsessed with DJ Rashad and other footwork artists a couple years ago and it’s changed the game for us. When Rashad’s on you just stop what your doing and get fully immersed. There’s something entrancing about the rhythmic work but not in an ambient sense — it’s heavy handed and obtrusive through and through.
Suffer Dragon- “No Suffer No Cry”
Out of Atlanta (now half Philly), Suffer Dragon’s unique minimalist stylings have been super influential to me over the years. Vocals follow guitar follow drums follow pulse. Playful and yearning, how do they do it?
The gift that keeps giving.
Andrea Schiavelli – “Falling off Ship”
This track reminds me of some of the music my parents used to play when i was a kid, like Don Henley or something—but a lot better. Hard to believe this guy is making music that sounds like this today. Seems to me like one would have to tune a lot out to retain this sort of purity of vision. He’s cultivated such an arresting persona. Even when his lyrics seem facetious or absurd, the charisma in his voice makes you believe. Catch his band Eyes of Love. They truly rock.
Heptones – “Party Time”
The sentimentality of this song still blows me away—and i’ve listened to it a lot a lot of times. To me, there’s endless inspiration to be drawn from the relationship between the lyrics and the music. I can’t decide if it’s more an expression of joy or melancholy and therein lies it’s power. It’s a somber but resolute call to enjoy life before it ends. What else is there to say about anything?
Old Table – “Kindergarten”
Hard not to feel like my old table selection isn’t arbitrary cause he has so much good music. But this song I relate to a lot because I hated going to school growing up and it’s so directly about that. Sounds like my internal monologue on the way there. One of those artists that you might not like until you realize that your preconceptions about what music can be are hindering you from appreciating it. And that’s on you buddy. A treasure of the tri-state.
Dick Hyman & Mary Mayo – “Isn’t it Odd”
Really beautiful record. I guess this type of music is called ‘space age pop?’ My grandmother is a singer, and it reminds me of the style of the singing that she was doing at the time—but the arrangements make it very much something else. There are organs and oscillators and other instruments that were novel in the early 60’s. Musicians’ attempts to represent the ‘future’ are interesting to me, especially given that these expressions are always beholden to the technological constraints of the present anyway. But this music is almost like an alternate future; maybe things changed course and music that was ‘visionary’ in this fashion was supplanted by psychedelia, etc., so the world being explored in this record was kinda left behind? Trying to understand why it doesn’t feel dated to me. I dunno—it also just sounds really good.
Musical Youth – “Pass the Dutchie”
I listen to this almost every day because it puts me in good spirits. The song is about sharing, which is something I can really get behind —and the band is named after my favourite Polish Nails album.
Beach Boys – “Walk On By”
I like how Brian Wilson’s voice sounds like a car horn in this song. He has a really pretty voice, but sometimes it sounds like its not coming from a person. This is something I take inspiration from. And the arrangement is so sentimental that it makes you feel—even if you don’t want to. You can’t help it. You put it on and you’re feeling the car horn whether you want to or not.
DJ FIRMEZA – “Alma Do Meu Pai”
My friend Adrien introduced me to Princípe Discos a couple years ago and they’re one of the few labels whose releases I keep up with. Honestly, all their output is so good that it was really difficult to choose one. I really like this DJ Firmeza release because i love how it feels so mechanical but also out of time. Like you’re tumbling forward. And I love the vocals.
The Cradle – “Do You Need Drugs?”
Damn this song is so beautiful. I could talk about it for a long time but you should just listen to it.
Eric Dolphy – “Come Sunday”
This song is both parts joyous and somber—without any compromise. The bass and clarinet build upon each other, exchanging melodic drive and supporting harmonic role. With regards to this, it’s so seamless. When the last phrase comes, I tear up while laughing. To achieve this kind of emotional response is something to be aimed for and super hard. G
Nelson Angelo & Joyce – “Ponte Nova”
There are so many Brazilian tracks I considered including, but when it comes to my own bass playing, I feel an affinity to the playing on this specific track. In general, the approach of bass players on a lot of Brazilian music really speaks to me and is a huge inspiration. A good balance of laying a harmonic basis for songs while also exploring a more leading and adventurous role. G
Brave Radar – “Live Ladies”
Hard to choose one track from this release, but this one has stuck with me the most. It’s a record that is ‘easy listening’ with very concise songs but I consistently find odd harmonic aspects to it that I find intriguing, whether from the vocal melodies or the instruments. Very inspirational to my own songwriting. G
Dionne Warwick – “How Can I Hurt You”
This is some sophisticated pop writing. The feel changes are so crazy to me. Her voice is so soulful and the briefly descending back-up vocals that precede the feel changes are so beautiful and to the point. Then there are the off-kilter backing vocals which provide a nice balance. I don’t know, it’s impactful. G