If you like dark, pared-down, and unapologetic un-catchy music check out Palo Verde, a two-piece powerhouse of a band. Lauren Ks smashing drums and Terrica Kleinknecht distorted guitar are like a metal show that could fit in your living room. Dont expect some pop song that will be stuck in your head. Their songs grow slowly and organically, turning into a swirling growl of psychedelic guitar and mesmerizing drumming. Streaming their songs online just barely do justice to their sound, and if you get the chance to see them live youll be treated to some of the most intense drumming of your life. (Dont forget to bring your anti-face melting serum).
Very few records have you punching the air on your very first spin but Palo Verdes masterpiece Zero Hour is anything but conventional. Its an extraordinary fusion of Black Sabbath fuzz with the primal math-rock hammering of Don Caballero, though in actuality the Portland, OR duo don’t sound particularly like either band. Palo Verde are occasionally referred to as sludge-rock but it seems like an unfitting description given the pace and vitality of their music, which only occasionally drops to the slow, unrelentingly downbeat tempo which you might associate with the subgenre. Remarkably, the liner notes of Zero Hour refer to the four tracks as spontaneous compositions and indeed, further investigation confirms that the band is essentially an improvised collaboration both live and in the studio. Upon listening to Zero Hour, its hard to believe a band this tight could be anything other than meticulously rehearsed. The musical cohesion displayed from start to finish suggests a partnership which borders on psychic.
Palo Verde is the musical project of drummer Lauren K. Newman and guitarist Terrica Kleinknecht, both accomplished musicians who have played in numerous bands around Portland for many years. Without being dismissive of Kleinknechts considerable abilities as a guitarist, in particular her explorations into abrupt feedback interludes and mastery of low frequency sonic manipulation, the foundation of the band is the truly remarkable drumming of Newman. For all the drum aficionados who quite rightfully cite Zach Hill (Hella) and Damon Che (Don Caballero and Bellini, who once used Newman as a substitute for the mercurial Che) as inspirational percussionists, Newman could be named as a peer of similar capability. Over the four songs which make up Zero Hour, not a single moment is anything other than riveting, thanks in no small part due to the extraordinary connection between two musicians playing at the very edge of their ability. If Sabbath are still looking for a Bill Ward replacement, look no further
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[Zero Hour is] an unbearably raw, amplified beat down powered by corrosive, dying batteries
Local female duo Palo Verde is just making it up as it goes alongliterally. These chicks improvise heavy, psychedelic jams, building a wall of thundering drums and sludgy guitars, only to bring it crashing down in waves of noise and long-suffering cymbals. The bands recorded work has received plenty of praise, but this is the kind of thing you really need to see and experience live. And possibly with some good-quality earplugs.
Time to take a trip to your local DIY store: Palo Verdes [Zero Hour] is simply relentless. Increasing louder and far more intimidating than their debut; this raven-haired Portland duo, arent your average twenty-somethings playing sweet, bubblegum pop. In fact, its far more sinister than that. To accuse Palo Verde of making it up as they go along may sound disrespectful; however, this is exactly what they are doing.
Best described as: improvised, psychedelic-sludgealthough, apocalyptic-metal is probably more appropriateZero Hour bottles the oestrogen-fuelled intensity of their mesmerizing live shows, with deadly consequences; each track exploding with all the delicacy of an atomic bomb. Failure to soundproof may prove fatal.
Sure to be a show highlight are wildly inventive sludge-rockers Palo Verde. Words dont do the band justicetheir fully improvised sets combine the hesher energy of Judas Priest with the drum-centric technical artistry of Mr. Elf. Its primal, cathartic and as blasphemously fun as a Black Mass
Local improv-metal duo Palo Verde exact sludgy guitar riffs and spot-on progressive heaviness with a tight musicality that belies the very nature of improvisation
100 percent rock, 100 percent improv, 100 percent female. Experts in experimental distortion and cohesion, believers in cautionary audience participation and diehard lovers of rock n roll, Palo Verde delivers an unparalleled performance of sweat, grime and explosive energy. When the members of Palo Verde describe themselves as an improv duo, they use the word religiously. All of their live performances and recordings are jams that come to life in that momentwithout any preconceived structure or formatnever to be repeated again. Many musicians have tried, or at least toyed with, the fulfillment of this idea, but none seem to pull it off quite as well as this drum and guitar duo
PORTLAND DAILY VANGUARD
You know youre in for a good show when the drummer blows her nose in her tee shirt and slams a Red Bull before the first song. (Palo Verde) launched into their tunes, each set improvised on the spot. We try to get some nice textures, Newman laughed from underneath her mop of black matted hair. The groups violent, chugging riffs moved from math rock to deep grooves, often alternating into call and response snare hits. Kleinknects guitar work acts as a sonic floor for Newmans out of control, drums-as-lead-instrument attack, beating on her kit with the blunt, bottom end of her drumsticks. The ladies only performed 3 songs, but each one felt like a work out, and the bloody and bruised crowd cheered as they finished, satisfied and maybe even a little relieved
PHOENIX NEW TIMES
Palo Verde is an ADD afflicted stop/start machine featuring a pair of fairer sex maniacs combining unpredictable, psychedelic noise-rock with feral doom, post-ambience, and bull-rushing High on Fire/Black Cobra tactics. Its all instrumental with Lauren K Newman handling drums, and Terrica Kleinknecht making enough noise on her guitar to cover the lack of other stringed instruments and vocals. Im not sure who Id reference as kindred spirits. MAYBE, Beast in the Field meets 5ive, but theres less straightforward doom/drone going on here, and more experimentation and ornery attitude. So, yeah Im not sure if that works. This may very well be in a league of its own.
Zero Hour displays a very heady mix of drone, doom, thrash, and restrained melodic sensibility. It’s rough around the edges (recorded live, I’m pretty sure) and sure to give the neighbors a headache, but there’s also enough structure and musicianship to keep things out of the nap music zone.
Palo Verdes improvised songs (are) chugging, dark, low blasts of Sabbath-esque post-rock delivered in concert with an unflinching intensity.
(Palo Verde) do
improv, proggy, stoner rock. Newmans drumming is front and center, while Kleinknecht locks into her groove with thick riffs, discordant angularity and the seeming ability to read her partners mind when it comes to changes
If you didnt know
(Palo Verde) was an improv duo going into a show, you still
might not know it when you leave. Thats how tight they are
(Palo Verdes) telepathically improvised slabs of sludge-metal riffing are brutal punishment of the very best kind
A lot of people probably dont realize
(Palo Verde) is all improv
Newmans drumming is
perfectly in synch with guitarist Kleinknecht
Newman implements intricate patterns in her lightning-quick, tom-heavy drumming that seem as though they have to have been planned as they intersect with the peaks of Kleinknechts mid-range prog. This duo has all the dynamism of bands that spend months on their songs and spontaneity
(Palo Verdes) Zero Hour, is a lengthy and super-sludgy instrumental LP that propagates a level of amplified muck worthy of The Melvins while also providing meditative slabs of psychedelia. Repetitious and prone to areas of free form musical assault, at times Zero Hour reminds me of the more abrasive aspects of Black Flags The Process Of Weeding Out and combines them with Earths recent Americana-laced desert rock. Theres less jazz to it than there is No Wave, pigfuck or drone metal, but improvisation is at its core.
LETTERS FROM A TAPEHEAD