Track by Track: Palm Friends – ‘The Delivery’

Posted: by The Editor

At the end of March, Minnesota’s Palm Friends released their second EP The Delivery. The EP was mixed by Slow Pulp’s Harry Stoehr, and that band is a nice touchstone for Palm Friends’ sound – pleasant, dreampop-tinged indie rock that lopes and meanders through sticky hooks and mellow verses. The band was kind enough to break down all six songs on The Delivery for The Alternative; read that below and be sure to listen along while you do.

1. “Hidden Perks “(Shawnna)

“Hidden Perks” was one of the first songs Jesse and I collaborated on. He arranged it while living in New York City, and I added vocals when he brought it to us some time after. I loved trying to match up the dynamics of the lyrical story to the dynamics of the instrumental story Jesse had already crafted. Will added in some great bass riffs and Hilary James of Bathtub Cig joined us in the studio to add some soft rich harmonies to the pre-chorus.
2. “Light Pink” (Shawnna)
Jesse came to me with this chord progression and some drums to go behind it and I just loved it – it was so simple and low and hearty. I added a verse riff and chorus riff (part of which would eventually become our little synth sprinkle) and then I went at the vocals. The song felt like such a low key cruise to me so the vocals fell into that sort of rhythm too, like they just wanted to strut along. The intro section came from a “Light Pink” demo I sent Jesse once that we became fond of. I was experiencing what this song was about in real time, so the section “You bring me out to the park” was the last part added in cause I just had to make sure that aspect of the story was expressed. Without it I was just drawing a picture, but with it I was taking a position. And now it feels essential!
3. “Quarter Century” (Shawnna)
I modified the chords of a demo Jesse sent me and then I just leaned into certain feelings I was having about time and holding on tight to your life. I had a lot to say, it turned out! When we played it all together, Will and Jon really brought the swing and waltziness into the spotlight with the drums and bass. Once they revealed that groove, it was so fantastic to sink into it. Jesse and I circled around the right guitar riff for quite some time, but ultimately what worked out was something pretty simple and not too happy or sad.
4. “Mile End” (Jesse)
Perhaps “Mile End” is an outlier in our overall sound but we had our sights on a song about better times; getting together with friends, going to shows, etc. It was written at the height of COVID in a basement with Trader Joe’s tequila flowing freely and not a lot of outside interactions with people. We recorded the whole EP at the Terrarium in Minneapolis in a 3 day span, so we had to have the songs pretty down. This one I remember we only needed a few takes, and the vocals came pretty quick. It’s perhaps notable that Shawnna and I sing together on the chorus, sort of like the B-52’s.
5. “Devotion” (Jesse)
I liked the idea of swimming as a metaphor for life and relationships and I wanted to convey that in this song. I’m really the opposite of lucrative as far as writing fully finished songs, but this one came together quick. Recording it took forever, probably the one we had the hardest time with. It was mixed by Henry Stoehr, who’s a great mixer and also has a band Slow Pulp, and they added a lot of nice touches to it. This and “Light Pink” were written in between a period of time from when we were initially supposed to go into the studio to record but cancelled because of COVID, and ended up going back months later with those complete.
6. “Domino” (Jesse)
This was one of the first songs that Shawnna brought to the table when the band started out, and one we’ve been playing since our earliest shows. This is definitely in my top PF songs, incredibly fun to play live. As far as the origins, Shawnna had all the guitar parts and vocals done, and mainly had the structure down. I added a few little guitar things, and Jon and Will got a really solid bass and drum combo. The recording was pretty breezy because we had played it so many times already. It’s songs like these that make Palm Friends unique, a sound of our own if you will.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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