Palm Springsteen is an anomaly. In a contemporary music climate defined by firstname-lastname acts that strive to present themselves as paragons of influence, the Los Angeles-based band exudes a hedonistic, devil-may-care energy that is simply magnetic. Need proof? Look no further than the group’s latest release, “Sister Sister.” The infectiously rhythmic track and its accompanying music video perfectly capture the roguish disposition that is Palm Springsteen.
Sonically, “Sister Sister” is archetypal of the band’s signature style, uh, “blow-pop.” Characterized by jagged, driving guitar and a plunky, buoyant bass that would sound at home in a 1980s penny arcade, the track conjures up a retro-but-modern groove that will fill an empty dance floor faster than you can say, “this band is called what?” Topped off by frontman Nick Hinman’s hollering, punk-infused vocal, “Sister Sister” brews up an intriguing sound that hits somewhere between Talking Heads, Prince, and some brand of pop yet to be born.
In tandem with its playful arrangement, the thematic content of “Sister Sister” shows that Palm Springsteen isn’t concerned with taking itself too seriously. The song recounts the story of a road trip that Hinman took to Vancouver when he was 17 years old. “I went to my first club with some friends and ended up dancing with this girl for hours, and then found out at the end of the night it was actually a guy in drag,” says the singer. “She was so rad, we just kept dancing all night. I still miss her.”
In addition to the hooky single, the band released a music video directed by Gilbert Trejo. The “Sister Sister” video is a DayGlo fever dream that depicts Hinman riding around dingy Los Angeles streets in search of a night of debauchery. On the filming of the video, he said,
“Gilbert and I wanted to recreate this scene from Liquid Sky, which is simultaneously about the club scene in New York in the 80’s and about aliens who come down to extract endorphins from people’s orgasms. There’s a scene where Anna Carlisle plays both the male and female leads, and gives a monologue wearing blacklight makeup. We recreated it in our own way, all on 16mm film, and wanted to simulate the rush of going nowhere fast.”
Palm Springsteen’s sound is a wave of nostalgia-tinged attitude that is alchemically crafted to make the listener dance. Your next opportunity to catch them live is June 30 with The Technicolors at The Roxy in Los Angeles – but before you go, take an exclusive first look at “Sister Sister” here: