Palette Town, a quartet of Miami natives in their early 20s, say their band name is a reference to the original Pokémon video game, which featured a town named after a wooden board used for mixing colors: a palette. The obscure allusion actually suggests a lot about the band, including the Asian heritage of two of its members (Sylvano Umbac and Fredrik Baliwis, both the children of Filipinos) and their abiding affinity for Japanese anime and Japanese bands such as The Pillows. But above all it hints at their colorful music, which they describe as Arcade Rock, Garage Pop, Indie Shred, and Post-Pop.
Genres aside, Palette Town’s music is refreshingly vivid, high-energy compositions fueled by Umbac’s relentless and melodious high-register guitar riffs, Baliwis’s bouncy bass lines, Daniella Chamorro’s metered frenzy on drums, and Chamorro and Chris DeSalle’s emotionally invested vocals. Together these qualities make Palette Town’s debut record, a self-titled EP released in late 2011, and its new EP, Life, Love, & Laser Guns, immediately enjoyable, the kind of music you’d happily play on a windows-down beachside drive even though air drumming while driving can get you killed.
As such, Life, Love, & Laser Guns, recorded at audio engineer Lon Beshiri’s home studio, Casa Bazooka, comprises a quasi-contradiction: music affirmative in its energy and anxious in its outlook. The cover of the EP, Baliwis explains, shows “a nameless girl who is about to enter a new city, and with a worried expression on her face she looks off into the cityscape. Her uneasiness stems from the apprehension of an uncertain future. Everyone has insecurities about what lies ahead, but nothing can be gained unless we are willing to move forward. That’s how we feel as musicians, and it is what we wanted to express in this new EP.”
Moving forward, in fact, is one good way to describe the momentum of Palette Town’s music. You can hear it for yourself by streaming both of their EPs below and by seeing them perform live at The Stage on Saturday, Oct. 6 for the Beached Birthday Bash with Krisp headlining and DJ Lolo behind the decks (see event page for full details). Until then, here’s Life, Love, & Laser Guns.
Here’s Palette Town’s self-titled EP.
To learn more about Palette Town, visit the band’s Facebook page.