All words: Shona Fenner — All photos: Katherine Gaines
During the Exitmusic show I did something really impressive and figured out that Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church are married. Sure, I could have read a biography before Wednesday night but ring finger context clues are much more Harriet the Spy-esque. Upon this realization, Exitmusic’s music seemed more sincere. It wasn’t difficult to imagine this couple camped out on a couch with guitar, gadgets and bass straight up making music, their eyelids drooping lower as waves of inspiration become waves of melody. Is it odd that this image includes a fair bit of substance abuse? Am I just making this into a screenplay where I think falling into a K-hole with your partner is a romantic activity? Romanticizing music/life/anything is easy to a soundtrack like this. Each song seemed perfectly poised for use as an introductory sequence in a movie that will have nearly zero dialogue. Exitmusic’s sound is primed to absorb you and your imagination.
The night at Red Palace started out with a two piece from Bloomington, Indiana. It never takes long for Hoosiers to identify one another. In fact, it took about three songs for the guys in the band to mention their home state and for multiple ladies in the audience to raise their voices and be united in their Indiana-ness. Their music would be entirely different if these boys had never heard a Joy Division album before. The inspiration is obvious when vocals start up, sounding eerily like a calmer, younger Ian Curtis. The two brothers are still very young–only 21 and 22–and are about to have their first album come out, Temporary Room. You can get a little taste of the music in store on their bandcamp page.
Exitmusic played emotive and beautiful songs from their first full length album, Passage. You might recognize them as openers for a couple bands who have been around DC recently. The band makes a great opener and played a solid show as a headliner. I was surprised to be this into a show experienced in semi-darkness with very little to watch up on stage.
Their name references Radiohead and the likeness goes further than that. These are not songs for happy-go-lucky types who go to shows to dance and drink and be merry. There is a time for this and it is not exactly the Exitmusic show. Palladino’s light voice carries over backing from three boys in a way that takes you aback. Each song builds into itself, folding layers of simple beats over each other to create a dark soundscape/landscape barren but filled with chilling emotion. I’d wager more than a couple of us got goosebumps.
Get on Spotify and check out Exitmusic covering David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” where they have somehow made a catchy downer song into a dreamy tearjerker. Exitmusic’s appeal stems from the combination of Palladino’s alluring vocals with a musical narrative of crescendos that could stand on its own. Making a music video for this band sounds like the easiest job in the world. Create some spellbinding shots, make part of it slow motion, and add the tunes. I’m already dreaming up a video for my favorite song “This Modern Age”. But my daydream-ed video can’t be better than the one for “Passage.”
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