by Mely Duong
Painted Palms is a cousin duo originating from San Francisco and is signed to Polyvinyl records. It is hard to pinpoint the exact genre they emulate, but the best categorization for them would be indie pop. However, their early sound has an ethereal other worldly vibe to it and that is no surprise as they strive to embody “60 year old radio signals that got lost in space and have warped over time,” according to one half of the duo, Reese Donohue.
That sound that they claim is not quite as representative of their latest music. Their newer sound shifts into indie pop reminiscent of some old school and psychedelic attitudes. The music is a bit eccentric and is perfect for someone who is in a ponderous mood semi optimistic mood as it is neither outright happy but most definitely not depressing. Perhaps you will find hints of influence from some of the bands and artists they favor such as Bjork, the Zombies, and Happy Mondays.
One of the challenges they have faced includes their struggle to communicate an idea with clarity as well as their chaotic lack of organization as neither member assumes any particular role. They have attempted to eliminate these weaknesses and reinforce what they consider strong in their musicality, but it is hard to tell what they consider those to be as their shift in sound is quite drastic: other worldly and space like to old school psychedelic.
Their lyrics, on the other hand, typically address the relationships you have with yourself, which is why their songs tend to stimulate deep thoughts and inner reflection. In fact, the groups name has a unique origin. “William Randolph Hearst lived in a castle by the ocean south of Big Sur and in his twilight years loathed death. When any palm trees on his property died and turned brown he had them painted to look as though they were alive,” explains Donohue. This undercurrent of what is real and what is not can be found in their music and in what their music inspires, reflection.
Interestingly enough, the duo record separately as they feel that they must separately struggle with a thought to complete it before they can effectively communicate it to the other. It would seem that this band is extremely insightful. The group continues to record, but is currently on tour. You can check them out tonight at Boot and Saddle with Saint Pepsi.