While the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection recently had the pleasure of having lo-fi indie rock phenom Samia open our instantly-legendary boygenius show, those in Boston and New Haven were treated to an opening set from equally amazing Polyvinyl alternative rocker Palehound, whose recently released fourth LP, Eye On The Bat, had NPR saying, “You can feel Palehound’s songs in your gut,” and whose lead single, “The Clutch,” Guitar World called, “a teeth-baring rocker highlighted by a punchy, super-tight solo from El Kempner that takes the tune to another level.”
“It was awesome! So sick to play with them and get to see them,” says Palehound mainperson El Kempner (who played on PHILTHY phriend Scout Gillett’s 2022 debut full-length, no roof no floor) of the experience of opening up 5,000+-capacity rooms for Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus (who are all friends of Kempner’s). However, during our recent phone chat, they tell me that they don’t really approach these shows any differently from their own headlining gigs at nightclubs and bars: “We give our all at every show… The only thing that changes is the inherent anxiety that comes with playing to that many people [laughs].”
Next Tuesday, October 17th, Palehound kicks off a run of headlining dates with Philly’s own EMPATH, which will have them playing The Foundry on Friday, October 20th. I ask El – who I haven’t seen since they were supporting TORRES at Johnny Brenda’s in 2016, but who have played the 215 a number of times since, including shows with Big Thief and Courtney Barnett – what can be expected of the live show this time around, and they tell me, “It’s pretty raw. I’ve got a four-piece band, and we’re playing songs from each album, but definitely with a focus on Eye On The Bat.”
While Eye On The Bat has received a plethora of praise from major media outlets (New York Times, People Magazine, NYLON, ELLE, Paste, and Rolling Stone also had great things to say.), Kempner tells me that the kind of reactions they most appreciate are the ones regarding their progress as an artist: “As an artist, one of the best things I can hear is that it sounds like I’m growing, because I can’t tell. Am I getting worse? Am I getting better? It’s hard to tell myself…” However, when I ask El how they feel the album compares to previous releases, they tell me there is one notable difference that came when actually making it: “I feel a lot closer with this album than with previous releases, because I was producing it myself… I’m equally proud of the songwriting on each, but for this one I feel really proud of the production.”
*Get your tickets here.