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Jan 13, 2014

Painted Palms



Painted Palms is Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme, cousins from Lafayette, Louisiana. Their debut full length album, Forever, is all around magical. Thank goodness Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes discovered Painted Palms on the internet shortly after they started making music! That discovery lead to the band touring with Of Montreal and being signed to Polyvinyl, the label Of Montreal is on. Totally awesome.

Releasing their first EP, Canopy, in 2011, Painted Palms spent a few years perfecting their first album. Canopy has an electronic chillwave sound, which is quite different from Forever’s more lyrically dense, psychedelic beats. The strongest common factor is catchiness and dreamy vocals. When asked about the poppiness in Forever in an interview, Prudhomme says, “We realized that pop songs are the songs that make us feel the best, are the songs that we remember the best, and are typically the songs that we can use to recall important times in our lives.”

Forever is woven together by catchy melodies, soothing vocals, warm, psychedelic vibes, and clever lyrics. Each song flows beautifully both within itself and as a part of the album. Very impressive, considering Donohue and Prudhomme’s preferred collaborating style; completely over the internet. This began when Donohue moved to San Francisco and Prudhomme was still in Louisiana, and simply became how they do things. In an interview, Donohue tells us the beats were influenced by house and new age music; what he was listening to while creating the album. Something about Forever transports my mind to summer – I’ll definitely be spinning this record nonstop as soon as the snow melts.


“Spinning Signs,” the lead single, has a prominent 60’s sound. The song has a simple beat and melody juxtaposed with powerful lyrics about a struggle with externalizing thoughts and feelings. This is heard in the chorus; “Why can’t any of the words get past my mouth / can’t ever seem to let my mind out...” The title track, “Forever,” is song number four, falling at a perfect time for making sure listeners are hooked. The song will unquestionably have listeners captured from the first note. Emotional lyrics paired with quick beats and smooth backup vocals makes for a very successful song. Song three, “Hypnotic,” is well... actually hypnotic. More upbeat than “Spinning Signs” and “Forever,” this song invited me to dance around, so I obeyed. Filled with plenty of “oohs” and “aahs,” the song is very much about beat, feeling, and movement, and perhaps a little less about the lyrics than some other songs on the record. 

Back in 2011, Painted Palms stopped by the Radio K studio, recorded some songs, and of course, we snapped some gorgeous pictures that you can check out along with the session at the link above! In addition, you can check out a recently-conducted DIY interview conducted out on the West Coast by Radio K's own Candice below! Due to parking issues (typical San Francisco), the interview was recorded in a car, but it turned out pretty great! Painted Palms has proved that they’re here to stay. There may be plenty of chillwave bands out there, but Painted Palms’ unique blend of influences creates a sound worth listening to amidst the myriad choices. 

Karlijn Holzenthal

Interview with Painted Palms -