Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Palehound is here! Palehound is here!

"Vandalize my body if it helps you sleep soundly"

I've essentially taken the month off from music in order to indulge in the disgusting habit of pre-Halloween horror movie marathons -- more specifically, my nights have been spent looking at Michael Myers for approximately four hours at a time. But the thing to pull me out of this rut was yesterday's release of Palehound's debut EP on Exploding in Sound. Nineteen-year old Ellen Kempner's final product, after that preview we got of "Pet Carrot," was somewhat surprising; she'd started drawing a number of Liz Phair comparisons, and this is certainly fair, but my first impression of Bent Nail on the whole was a nostalgic reminder of Lifted. Kempner's got too much backbone and quirk to be labeled a folk artist, but much like what Conor Oberst accomplished on "Waste of Paint" eleven years ago, she goes acoustic several times over and comes off as nothing less than raw.

There are unconventional chord choices and rhythms at times, and she possesses a '90s spirit, that "it's all cool" vibe, which is somewhat puzzling given her age. But there's nothing phony about anything here, not a bit. While I'd have found an ideal album to be more like "Drooler" and "Pet Carrot," and perhaps a bit less singer-songwriter, Kempner is the talented performer most college musicians aspire to be. Moreover, now that it's apparent that she's the cooler Taylor Swift, the girl we all want as our BFF, I'm just as excited about her future output as she is about life.

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