Palm

There’s a certain honor that comes from being a hand-selected show opener – while clearly demonstrating the headliner’s sense of taste, it also should serve to illustrate that the openers are serious business. Enter Palm. Opening for Buke & Gase‘s most recent show at BSP Kingston with Celestial Shore, the foursome were exactly the sort of band you’d expect the genre-dodging innovative duo to champion while still remaining very much a complete and absolute surprise.

Palm, for lack of a more apt description of what they do,  play the sort of mathematical experimental rock that downright enchants. Their live set is the musical equivalent of watching a high wire act; never quite sure what to expect or when/if the foursome’s synchronized complexity will lead them to stagger and fall at any moment. That’s not to say you’re waiting for the quartet to fail – rather watching them weave intricate patterns in real time was downright mesmerizing and yet, the band never quite loses sight that there’s an audience to cater to. “No Tribute” from their three song Into the Bulk EP released late last year is perhaps the best example of what you can/should expect from Palm. There’s an accessibility deeply ingrained in it despite the band’s various spinning plates form of music making. It’s not always at the forefront but it does keep the band’s obvious musicianship from developing into an exclusionary geek out.  Palm might not make music for everyone but at the very least they do provide a necessary window into their complexly layered tumult.

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Landlady

Delivering on their promise of the good music to come, Brooklyn experimental pop quintet Landlady are back with their latest single “The Globe”.  The second single from their upcoming Hometapes debut Upright Behavior, “The Globe” is noticeably much less straightforward than “Above My Ground”. Adam Schatz’s voice is just as soulful as ever but “The Globe” starts off at a brisk sprint, the talents of Schatz and his collaborators fully on display as the track swings between its distinct parts while in no way blunting Schatz’s stellar songwriting. Rather they work in tandem highlighting the lyrics with just the right coloring, whether they be in bright whites or subtler colors. Landlady are in rare form here able to fluctuate between its two main ideas cleanly and effortlessly. While not the ready made anthem of “Above My Ground”, “The Globe” doesn’t suffer from any lack of its soul-stirring fervor.

Landlady’s sophomore effort Upright Behavior is out July 15th on Hometapes.

Dragging an Ox Through Water

I was introduced to Portland experimental crooner Dragging an Ox Through Water through the inclusion of his track “Snowbank Treatment” on a playlist Danish art rock outfit Efterklang made to promote the release of their latest full length Piramida. I was immediately taken by how unlike anything I was possibly expecting it was – the track occupied this strange limbo of stuttering electronic-based pop with a noticeable country swagger.  I was intrigued and instantly wanted more.

One of the exciting things about Dragging an Ox Through Water is how completely unpredictable his releases are. The Tropics of Phenomenon (which features the aforementioned “Snowbank Treatment) is a far more electronic-laden affair than his newest album Panic Sentry. And yet though it’s featuring a much more straight-forward folk presentation, there’s a blurring of genre lines, the subverting of expectation but still the spotlighting of a sincere product that keeps everything fascinating. While Panic Sentry is an album worthy of complete play-throughs “Sparrow Command” stuck out as a shining example of just what made Dragging an Ox Through Water so damn appealing.  The use of electronics is sparse – an effect on the periphery, as Brian Mumform angles his vocals with supple languor. Mumform’s vocals a natural extension of his twangy guitar lines; bent, cooed, and whispered to jostle the lyrics into impressive shapes while electronics hum contentedly from the sidelines to give the whole tale an ethereal pallor.

Dragging an Ox Through Water’s latest full length Panic Sentry is out now. Available on digital/12″ vinyl via Bandcamp.

Three years ago (veritable decade in blog years) we were introduced to Beachtapes’ then-latest signee Triptides, from Bloomington, IN. They’ve been up to way more than we cataloged, including a new upcoming cassette EP, Colors, out soon on Portland’s Jaunt Records. Listen to the newly minted psych-pop track “Throne of Stars” below:

While of the opinion that Katonah NY transplants Yellerkin’s debut EP was a delight, no song quite matched the exuberant thrills of their debut single “Solar Laws”. While “Solar Laws” was a genre evading tour de force, “Vines”, “Tomboy” , and “Leave Me Be” settled more into a laptop pop slumber: mellow calm with a noticeable albeit unexpected electronic slant. Enter “Dixie Rain”, which seems ready to bridge the gap between those remarkably different sounds by virtue of its very existence.

From the primal pulse that catapulted “Solar Laws” into action and seems to be at the core of Yellerkin’s character, “Dixie Rain” is bolstered by instantly memorably melodies as well as its enormously immersive vocal lines. In fact, the tune is carried almost exclusively by its vocal melodies while a synth line functioning virtually as background noise. That and its predominant drumpad beats reveals “Dixie Rain” as an interesting dichotomy of organic versus mechnical; with the synthesized sound beat out by pure emotive power by the grandest of margins but necessary in displaying it in all its grandeur.