NxNU, WRBB’s annual Spring Concert, is this Friday, April 13th! Take a minute to get introduced to Palm, and we’ll see you at the show.
Palm is Eve Alpert, Kasra Kurt, Gerasimos Livitsanos, and Hugo Stanley. Their music is difficult to categorize, but it sits somewhere between experimental rock, math rock, avant-pop, and art rock. Alpert and Kurt’s guitars along with Livitsanos’ bass and Stanley’s drums come together to form bizarre, jagged melodies that support the two guitarists’ vocals. Fans of bands like Tera Melos will appreciate the controlled chaos. The laidback, deadpan vocals create an interesting juxtaposition with the angular instrumentation that together, defines the band’s head-turning sound.
Alpert and Kurt have been friends since high school and in 2011, they met Livitsanos and Stanley and formed Palm at Bard College in upstate New York. Four years later, they released their first EP, Ostrich Vacation on JMC Aggregate. The label called it a “collage of music and sounds” and they weren’t kidding, as it had more wayward sound experiments than structured songs. Very noisy and lo-fi, it’s a bit of a difficult listen, but it established Palm as a boundary-pushing group. Later that same year, they dropped their first album, Trading Basics, on Inflated Records and Exploding in Sound, which was much more focused than the EP but still pretty abrasive. Nevertheless, Trading Basics has that signature, jagged Palm sound flowing throughout. The band wrote those two first releases while solidifying their musical identity in Hudson, New York, a somewhat remote river town. After their first album, they moved to Philadelphia and signed to established left-field label, Carpark Records, known for releasing music from notable artists like Beach House, Cloud Nothings, Dan Deacon, and Toro y Moi.
In 2017, Palm started off their Carpark output with the EP, Shadow Expert which featured a more inviting sound palette and cleaner production. The instrumentation was as wild as ever, but Aplert and Kurt’s vocals come through crystal clear. Despite its short 17-minute runtime, Shadow Expert demonstrated well what Palm has to offer to rock music fans. On their second full-length album, Rock Island, the band really carves out a space for themselves within the underground rock sphere, switching up the sound of the guitars and throwing in bits of sound effects and other quirks throughout. Released in February, the album easily has the most character of any Palm release thus far. I can only imagine how fun it would be to see this material performed live.
Famed music critic and Internet icon Anthony Fantano said Palm was amazing live when he saw them open for Deerhoof. That’s high praise in my book, and I’m very excited to see the band live myself.