Veterans of the Sydney live music scene, four-piece Palms embody the carefree energy of a bygone pre-lockout era. Al, Tom, Brendan and Dion are bandmates and besties known as much for their well-established sound as they are for their boisterous live shows.
After a chilled out 2017 filled with creative side projects and musical endeavours, they're ready to treat us to some new tunes in 2018. We chatted with lead singer and guitarist Al Griggs about what's on the horizon this year, local bands to watch, and his weekly horror movie watching/schnitzel eating night with friends, "schnit-faced".
So tell us about your gig last Friday at the Botany View Hotel for Southern Comfort's Southern Sounds series. You were playing with a bunch of legends/friends of the band right? That must have been a fun one!
Yeah it was super fun! It was a bit of a crazy night, heaps of pals on and off the stage. So Shag was DJ-ing and Shag and I went to primary school together and lived in a share house together for like 10 years. We’re besties. Then Bloods played too and Sweetie and Shag also did a radio show together on FBi for like 10 years. Then when Shag left FBi I took over from him and me and Sweetie hosted the show for a while. MC from Bloods and I work in the same office. Owen from Straight Arrows filled in for our usual guitarist Dion, who couldn’t make it up from Melbourne, but me and Owen play in Straight Arrows together and also have a movie night where we eat schnitzel and watch horror movies every Sunday night and it’s called Schnit-scared. And finally Owen also produced the first Bloods EP, so yeah lots of inter-connectedness. Lots of good times.
What was the best Palms gig of 2017? (or 2018 if you've had any other good ones in January!)
Ummmm we’ve actually been laying pretty low of late, but Oxford Art Factory’s 10th Birthday was a real sweet time. Heaps of cool bands like Gum and Party Dozen and Green Buzzard on the bill. Plus, I have deep admiration and respect for Mark Gerber the guy who owns OAF, so it was really nice to be able to be there and celebrate an awesome milestone; especially given how hard it is to run a live music venue in Sydney in the current ridiculously oppressive environment.
You've been playing in local bands for a while now, including Red Riders a few years ago and your other current ensemble Straight Arrows (congrats on finishing recording album number three by the way!) so you're pretty well-versed in the industry. Do you have any fresh musical projects/collabs in the works right now?
No fresh collabs happening at the moment. Two bands is definitely enough for me, especially with the new Straight Arrows album about to drop. Although MC from Bloods and I have been talking a lot about doing a cover of the classic Paula Abdul track, ‘Opposites Attract’ where MC will sing Paula’s parts and I’ll be the cartoon cat.
Have you got any plans for writing or releasing new tunes with Palms this year?
Yeah I think we wanna record like a new single, just like an A and B side and press a little 7”. It’s been so long since we’ve put out any new music and we wanna get back out there and have a reason to play some shows. We miss playing live heaps. So yeah, watch this space. New Palms coming in 2018.
In your opinion, which Australian bands should we have our eye on in 2018?
Oh man there’s so many. I host a show on FBi on Friday afternoons so I’m fortunate enough to hear so much good Australian music. New artists I really like are Neighbourhood Void (seriously so underrated), Sunscreen, Gussy, Gauci, Body Type, Boat Show, Brightness, Tesse… My fave contemporary Australian band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are dropping their debut album this year and I’m lucky enough to have early heard it and it’s red hot! So I’m psyched for that.