Carpark Records Racecar USB + American Giant Sweet 16 Sweatpants
Jan 1st, 1970
Jan 1st, 1970
Palm plays rock music backwards. Their songs bear a certain methodology, though there is a tendency towards impulse which seems almost violently opposed to it. The band deals willfully in contradictions like this. The elements of any given song fit together like slightly melted puzzle pieces, serving up rigidity and looseness in equal measure. Palm songs imply architecture, but their compositional structures are somehow bound by different rules of physics than the ones we know. Lattices of guitar language (provided by Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt) intersect the rhythmic organism characterized by the twitchy throb of Gerasimos Livitsanos’ bass and the careless tumble of Hugo Stanley’s drums, with a layer of disembodied vocals draped atop the whole thing. Emotional yet clinical, wild yet contained, the sounds they offer are equally bizarre as they are pleasantly pretty.
Palm formed around 2011, shortly after its members met in college in Upstate New York. The years they spent writing and playing when not in school culminated into the release of Trading Basics in 2015, around which time they relocated to Philadelphia. Since then they’ve been playing shows throughout the country while they continue to hammer out their sound to be as refined as it is outlandish. More to come.
It’s very strange (“Or not strange at all! Hi!” says feminism) that most of the music we funnel into little girls’ ears—even music written by former little girls—is about how women are petty, pretty garbage whose only valuable function is to hold perfectly still in men’s boudoirs and wait for intercourse. “I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,’” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?
After being born, which she totally nailed, Sadie grew up in New York City, toured internationally with a professional children’s choir, then bounced around Massachusetts before eventually landing in Philadelphia “like every other feminist punk.” She has an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst, likes comics WITH AN ALL-CAPS PASSION, has written for Nylon and Spin, and is mega-beloved for her rock band Speedy Ortiz. Most recently, finding herself disillusioned with a lifetime of misogynist radio pop and yearning for the megalomaniacal autonomy of a solo project, Sadie/Sad13 churned out Slugger in a two-week fury.
Slugger is a pure solo effort. Sadie didn’t just write and sing and play guitar, she recorded and produced the record herself in a subletted bedroom in Fishtown—a not insignificant act of feminist defiance. Despite millennia of evidence to the contrary, women in music are still relentlessly pigeonholed as, essentially, decorative. Sure, you can be a girl singer, or a girl tambourine player, or, once in a while (the height of novelty!), a girl drummer, but a girl producer? A girl engineer? Cool X-File, Mulder! Sadie steers Slugger with a serene sure-footedness, vaporizing that old lie better than any howling polemic ever could. The best revenge is to do your work.
Slugger’s musical touchstones are vast and varied: contemporary pop à la Charli XCX, Santigold, Kelela, Grimes; folk songwriters Karen Dalton and Connie Converse; ‘90s trip-hop; riot grrrl (duh); plus Sad13’s feminist indie and punk contemporaries like Tacocat, Waxahatchee, Mitski, and Bully. Slugger shouldn’t feel like a revolution, but it does—in both content and execution. This is fun music about real shit.
Dent May – self-described hotel bar lounge singer and aspiring daytime TV talk show host – has been charming his way into the hearts of music fans since the release of his debut album The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label in 2009. The Mississippi-born, Los Angeles-based songwriter, performer, and Dolly Parton enthusiast has since released two more acclaimed records, Do Things (2012) and Warm Blanket (2013), dropped the holiday smash “I’ll Be Stoned For Christmas”, and played hundreds of shows from Shanghai to Chicago. His latest album, Across the Multiverse, is an interstellar voyage of mythic proportions.
Prince Rama’s Xtreme Now is the inaugural entry into what they have coined as the “Extreme Sports Genre.” Inspired to musically match the metaphysical intensity of extreme sports’ death-defying feats, Prince Rama looked to their own personal flirtations with death and time-dilation. In a womb shaped by countless hours of obsessively watching extreme sports videos and consuming dangerous quantities of Monster Energy drinks, Xtreme Now was violently born.
Not much can faze the Larson sisters – Taraka and Nimai grew up in ashrams; lived on black metal communes; worked for utopian architects; written manifestos; delivered lectures from pools of fake blood; conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts; and are now tackling the world of extreme sports in a surreal, psychedelic, and nihilistic fashion.
The band’s often unpredictable live shows have been described by fans as “hypnotic and mesmerizing– the feeling of a stadium concert on acid,” incorporating elements of performance art, dance-club initiation rite, and vintage VH-1 hair-metal-bravado. Since signing to Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, Prince Rama has continually delivered powerful, raw performances of dark pop, as well as coining and embodying the utopian spirit of “The Now Age Movement,” a cult of post-Internet transcendentalism. After being discovered in a Texas dive bar by Avey Tare in 2010, Animal Collective helped them record and release Shadow Temple and Trust Now shortly thereafter, which peaked at #3 and #6 on the Billboard New Age Charts, respectively. To commemorate the Mayan apocalypse, they released Top Ten Hits of the End of the World in 2012, a pseudo-compilation album comprised of ten singles “channeled” from fictional deceased pop bands and partially recorded with members of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.
After touring behind Top Ten Hits, the Larson sisters took time off from music to develop their visual art practice, exhibiting internationally at the Whitney Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and the MoMA PS 1 VW Dome, to name a few. Taraka has also published several manifestos on the “NOW AGE” that puts forth Prince Rama’s aesthetic and metaphysical philosophies, earning both hatred and praise from art and music worlds alike. The sisters’ seemingly effortless way of weaving conceptual art practice with music is inspired by an ancestral legacy of New York renaissance visionaries such as Kim Gordon, Laurie Anderson, and Patti Smith – but with more glitter and hairspray. Prince Rama’s new album reflects a mature, complex, multi-layered approach to culture-making. Xtreme Now exists not only as an adventurous record of dance party hits, but the concept will take on various incarnations including a visual art exhibition, a new manifesto, an energy drink, and a couture fashion line of active-wear inspired by extreme sports and the Byzantine age. According to lead singer Taraka, “We not only want to write new songs, we want to create a new emotional language.”