Palm Haze: Noise Pop Melting Pot
PALM HAZE is, according to their Bandcamp presentation, "a Canadian based band that blends alternative rock, shoegaze and trip-hop influences to create a sound that's both heavy and smooth - think of fuzzed guitars and soothing vocals under a palm tree shadow".
To be honest it is close to the mark. From where I stand, they are a Melting Pot of music, capital M, capital P. There are so many facets to their music, that it is almost uncanny. Some of the following elements may be part of the explanation as to why it is the case:
- Their background. Lucas, Anna and their bandmates are Brazilian and are living now in Vancouver, Canada, itself a mix of English and French Culture and close to the US border.
- Where they live. Vancouver is itself a melting pot of nature: Ocean on one side, forests all around and mountain down the road. Surfing in the summer, Snowboarding in the winter and trecking the rest of the year. That's the life of some friends I know that live there. Being immersed in nature is something they are amazed at after themselves moving from other parts of the world
- The light. Vancouver is known for the beautiful light, a result of the moisture of the ocean and the forests. An extensive cinema industry setup there for this reason only. Maybe one of the reasons why Palm Haze likes to play with light and have pastel artwork, reminiscent of some 80's Miami series.
Follow the guide (and the fan) in their mesmerizing music. And next week you will enjoy a great interview that the band was kind enough to give us.
WHAT is your music about?
"Our music is about what and how we feel. It portraits our mood and our state of mind at the moment we’re creating it. We don’t exactly follow a theme or a concept, although we are very influenced by our daily experiences and things we enjoy.
We just want to keep making music, and hopefully people can somehow relate to our sound in a way that it can also become a part of their journeys."
The comparison game
It is difficult not to compare Palm Haze with Drop Nineteens. The way Anna sings is very similar to the pouty, nonchalant voice of Paula Kelley. In addition, the composing is done with many different recipes, not keeping the usual melodic structure and progressions adopted by so many indie bands.
But musically, there is nothing obvious apart from some hints here and there of other bands, like the Pavement (ie chorus of Beautiful Island), Air in Cloudscraper.
Why we love Palm Haze
- Maturity: The first time I heard one of Palm Haze's song, I could scarcely believe it was their first single. The sound, the arrangements and melody were so well done. Since then, they have not let us down with the quality that stays at a very high level.
- Arrangement work: The last EP released is an "almost unplugged", showing you the (almost) raw material upon which Palm Haze works. The transformation is like seeing a diamond in the rough and then seeing it again being polished, carved to show it in its best aspect.
- Connection: To write this, it took hours of listening to the songs, again and again, to ensure getting a sense of the full musical work. When you never get tired and enjoy the song, again and again, it is a sure sign of a connection to the artists and their music.
Almost unplugged (EP, November 2017)
- 1. Beautiful Island (Almost Unplugged) 03:48
- 2. Tangy Dream (Almost Unplugged) 03:48
- 3. Gravitation (Almost Unplugged) 02:48
These songs are (almost) unplugged version of some of Tangy Dream EP's songs.
They are these diamond in the rough I referred to above, that is then put through the arrangement machine to get the beautiful multifaceted gems of Tangy Dream. We included them along with the EP songs below, making it convenient for you to listen to both versions of the song.
Tangy Dream (EP, September 2017)
- 1. Glint 02:48
- 2. It Follows 05:38
- 3. Gravitation 03:08
- 4. Beautiful Island 04:34
- 5. Higher 04:37
- 6. Cloudscraper 02:54
- 7. Tangy Dream 04:30
"Lucas: Tangy Dream is an album that wasn’t exactly planned or built to have a concept, however it inevitably follows our journey as we say goodbye to our home and move to another country. All songs were written here in Vancouver, except for Beautiful Island, which was partly written in Brazil. I would say that our sound on this album gives mea mixed feeling of excitement and anxiety, as well as a nostalgic vibe (mainly on Beautiful Island).
The name of the album came at the end, when we wrote the last song, Tangy Dream, which helped to define a lot of what the album was really about. We decided to name it after the song since we feel like it refers to dreams that are about to come true, dreams that are tangible and very real, but also about how people tend to feel once those dreams come true - fulfilled for a second but eagering for the next one, like a cycle on repeat. It accidentally worked out in a very interesting way, if you listen to the album on repeat, it starts with rewinding sounds on the beginning and the first lyrics sang are “All we have is a bitter end”."
It is an instrumental piece with an edgy guitar, a squicky horn, an ominous vibrating electro bass. Overall an excellent introduction to the EP, showing the ambivalence you find in this work: melodic and dissonant, clear and ominous, distorted and simple, Electro and Analog.
It Follows 05:38
A rare song where Lucas sings with Anna. The mix of both voices is a great texture to the song. A boy and a girl talking about becoming of age and leaving their tender youth behind repeating "Why do I even think about it". After the energy of youth and the golden age, pictured by peachy guitars, the song stops, slightly dissonant, like the end of an era.
Only to start again and grow in power: growing up is not an end, only an evolution. Like Palm Haze's music changing type, texture, direction for every song.
This is the song that I discovered Palm Haze with. Bernard Lenoir (the French Equivalent of the late John Peel) would have said it is a perfect tatapoum song, (ie 2 hit of the Snare, one of the Kick, and repeat).
The distorted edgy chords, the big sound of the band and Anna's pouting voice give to the piece an almost teenage feeling, full of anger and nonchalance, looking for something. The bridge is a twee almost latino guitar part, an electron flying alone in the gravitational field.
Very convincing first song of the band; convincing enough that we contacted them shortly after hearing this single.
Beautiful Island 04:34
This song begins with a few simple notes, bringing you slowly into the song. Slightly discordant, they keep your attention on edge, ready for the discovery of the Beautiful Island. Mixed with the beautiful voice of Anna, it is quite an introduction. The "Almost Unplugged" strips it even further, to the bare minimum.
That's when the chorus strikes. It reminds me of Pavement's "Summer Babe", be it the guitar sound, the chord progression and the rhythm. Needless to say that Anna's voice is nicer than Stephen Malkmus which enhances the song.
This Island is more the one seen in Lost than a tropical paradise, with things to be wary of, and some to be amazed by.
Every time I hear this song, the intro has the perfume of familiarity, as if I have heard the same thing many times in other bands, without putting my finger on what song, what band.
This is a dreamy song, flying above the pink clouds of the cover. Close your eyes and you will feel yourself drifting along with the high winds. The guitars that come and go, always distorted ensure the movement within the song. It is not a resting drift as you are at the mercy of the elements.
The end of the song is a descent of chords, which is a great bridge to the next song. After driting high above the sky, you begin to go down and down to reach the clouds ... as a cloudscraper.
This song is like a small interlude in Electronica, almost like a pause in the EP. Reminiscent of Air for its lightness, this small journey in the clouds (the pink ones from the EP cover?) is a little breather.
Tangy Dream 04:30
This song is well into the Shoegaze side of Palm Haze, and so much Drop Nineteens in the spirit ... Oh, one thing I forgot to mention before, Palm Haze do not know Drop Nineteens (I asked).
The voice duo of Lucas and Anna goes really well with the song, with a distinctive male part saying "you are so sweet" to the girl. It is not without reminding of Sonic Youth's My Friend Goo.
A perfect conclusion to this first full EP, full of novelty and a reminder of their elders' music. I can not wait for their next work.
Violet (EP, August 2017)
"Lucas: Anna wrote both songs on this EP, she may have better answers. Violet was for a friend we love and used to go by this name. It’s not exactly about her but it has some inspiration I guess. L
Anna: For me, Violet talks about the end of a relationship, not necessarily a romantic one. It can be about the death of a pet, an absent parent, a friendship that’s over. We’ve all been there, and this is part of the grief. When I’m writing lyrics I never think about their meaning. The connection between the words and what they actually mean is very abstract, and I guess everyone can look at it and interpret them their own way, which for me is the point of the whole thing.
Lucas: I saw the lyrics as voices that you hear either in your head or in moments of your life, that was kind of what I thought when I produced and named it. I didn’t think that much about the name, but the chorus where she sings “Slow Down” was on my mind, and also the lonely feeling of the song.
Anna: Lownly came as a bit of a struggle to find the right balance between the lyrics and the sound. I didn’t wanted for it to be perceived as a depressive song. Instead, I wanted it to become a song that strips the anxiety of those moments when we do feel sad and alone. It’s about slowing down the rhythm of thoughts, and not letting ourselves to become overwhelmed by feelings and emotions. It’s also about accepting that life is not always happy. We feel sad and we feel lonely, but we should cope with that and move on to the next chapter. It’s part of the beauty of being human and alive - sometimes we just need to chill. "
Gravitation 03:08 June 2017
Higher (Trip-Hop Mix) 04:37 April 2017
Artists they have worked with
Lucas: I’ve recorded guitars for 2 tracks from Funny Death’s upcoming album Half-Present and I’m helping our band members Caio and Mary with production on their side project.
Anna: Palm Haze is my first project.
Some good videos to watch
You will find more videos, live, teasers and other on their YouTube channel