Miami band Palomino Blond talk about their debut album, “ontheinside”
It’s not easy being a rock band in Miami.
It’s not Gainesville or Tallahassee, with cheap rents in punk houses and an endless stream of freshmen who just heard Neutral Milk Hotel for the first time. Hell, even Orlando gives its small tour groups the option to drive north, south, east, or west to any of the weird towns dotted across the state.
Miami, however, is a cruel place for DIY. You’d be hard pressed to find a beer for less than six bucks at one of our dive bars, let alone an affordable practice space. South Florida is the bane of many who grew up here, and while plenty of angsty 20-somethings across the country may be singing the same tune, something about Miami just sounds worse.
The members of Palomino Blond, one of this city’s hardest-working bands, are no strangers to the torment Miami unleashes on its creative residents, but that hasn’t stopped them from making noise.
In November 2021, the group released their first album, inside, an impressive collection of tracks with soaring guitar solos, syrupy melodies and hysterical drum tracks. Following this release, the band performed a few local gigs for loyal and newly converted fans. The most recent of these occurred last Saturday night at Gramps, a setting by which the band and their audience seemed to feel equally invigorated.
“According to our friends and management, the show at Gramps was one of our best,” says Palomino Blond singer and guitarist Carli Acosta. “It makes me really happy.”
“Maybe last night went so well because it was our first show since the new album came out. It was like an explosion, like the start of a new era,” adds Kyle Fink, who also plays guitar and sings for the band. “The next morning I was talking to my mom, and I told her I didn’t want to sound like a little bitch, but I felt God in Grandpa last night.”
The Gramps show was meant to be a homecoming for Palomino Blond, who had planned a two-week tour in support of the new record. But the tour did not take place.
“We didn’t feel good, to begin with – you know, with COVID and all. We kept going back and forth about whether to cancel, and we decided to go all the way because none of the sites would cancel.” says Fink. “Then my grandma passed away – like, out of nowhere. The funeral would have been right in the middle of our tour. It was like the fat lady was singing. I didn’t feel right going all the way. shows. Then, coincidentally, I got COVID just before the tour started. We should have given it all up anyway.
Palomino Blond still plans to visit all the places they missed on the canceled tour. In the spring, the group will stop in several cities in Florida for a short series of shows, and the summer will see the quintet play in all the out-of-state locations that they were unable to do this time around. . Touring, of course, is a daunting process for a Miami-based band.
“Logistically, it’s tough being a band in Miami. I mean, it’s literally ten hours just to get out of Florida,” Fink says. “As far as the music industry here, it’s not connected to the national grid of things, so there’s nothing that’s going to get you out of this town other than your own hustle and original thinking. “
“When we played our first tour, our drummer at the time drove 17 hours just to get to one of our shows in Texas,” Acosta adds. “Getting out of this state is hell.”
That’s not to say the Magic City is bad for a new group. After all, if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. Additionally, the city offers those who have cut their teeth here a wide range of artistic influences far beyond the scope of traditional indie rock.
“I think it’s obvious, but Miami isn’t really a rock town,” Acosta says. “We have a cool underground thing, but it’s mostly a Latin and electronic music city, and I love that. It contributes a lot to my musical interests. Like, I barely listen to guitar music. So, when I pick up a guitar, I end up creating something less influenced by what I hear, and more like I’m channeling my own feelings into a song.”
Plus, the strength of the bonds made in Miami’s underground scene rivals that of you and your sobrinos‘. For one thing, Acosta’s cousin Mikey Arevalo plays drums for the band and brings more offbeat energy to the role than Muppet’s Animal. Fink and Acosta met when they were both recruited to play on a local solo project. Then, instead of supporting another songwriter, they started swapping their own musical ideas, hanging out on their college campus daily. Fink was only 16 when he met bassist Peter Allen. He had booked Allen’s former band, local legends Gouge Away, to play a house show in Little Haiti.
The scrapbook, inside, testifies not only to the perseverance of a group to make it work in a difficult city but also to the culture of a new generation of artists who grew up here. When asked what each band member was listening to during the recording process of inside, the answers were divergent. Indie darlings like Boy Harsher and Big Thief were mentioned in the same breath as mainstream pop staples like Robyn and Bleachers.
“It’s funny, I clearly remember hearing all these things during the recording process, but when we were right in the thick of it, I was mostly listening to our songs,” Acosta said. “I was listening to our stuff obsessively, repeating the songs over and over. It made me hate them a bit – like I was eager to get to the next batch. moment, however, I’m very happy with these tracks and glad they exist.”
When you ask the band members what their favorite songs on the record are, “Magnolia” seems to reign supreme, with its floating melody and lyrics that gracefully toe the line between surreal and emotional. A close runner-up would be “Lovely,” who also appears to be a fan favorite, based on the response he garnered on last week’s show. “Phoebe” is pleasantly reminiscent of some of Nirvana’s best tracks, with its frenetic guitar hook and huge chorus. The music video for the song, which premiered today, even looks a bit like the video for “Smells like Teen Spirit,” with hazy Dutch-angled shots of the band strumming and singing through locks of hair.
“‘Lovely’ definitely has my favorite mix on the album, but my favorite to play live would have to be ‘Magnolia’,” Fink says. “I think it’s the most unique on the album. The tracks I do on that song are some of my favorites I’ve ever written. Of course, ‘Phoebe’ is like my baby. I’ve been playing with it since years, so I have a super strong connection to that.”
This new album didn’t happen overnight. It took years to make, and the attention to detail in its mixes and song structures proves it.
“For years it felt like we were running around like chickens with their heads cut off,” Fink says. “We didn’t have a clear idea of what we wanted the album to sound like. When the recording process ended last January, we had a much clearer idea of how to put these sounds together. inside it’s like the sum of years of trying to figure out who we were, and then the moment when we finally did.”