Burning Palms quartet debuts Feb. 20

By ARLO COSTALES

Burning Palms uses instruments ranging from dulcimer to vintage guitars to produce a melodically unique sound that avoids sounding too kitschy.

The foursome consists of Simone Stepmotherford (guitar/vocals), Chelsey (dulcimer/guitar/vocals), Sissy J. Fox (bass) and Mandy Millions (drums).

The band members sound comfortably in sync, despite only playing together since December. Just one member, Chelsey, has more than six months playing experience.

“The rest of us are just making it up,” said Stepmotherford, the band’s lead singer and songwriter.

Like all bands still in adolescence, Burning Palms is working out kinks and making adjustments.

During rehearsals, Stepmotherford instructed her bandmates to “do less” or “just sing anything.”

It seemed chaotic, but the musicians put the feedback into execution during following takes.

Asked to categorize their music, band members suggested a “lo-fi garage” label.

The term seems fitting but modest. Their talent is apparent, with each tune achieving a piercingly distinctive sound.

Most impressive is the integration of instruments played.

Ever see a violin bow used to play a guitar? That’s just one example of the innovation Burning Palms uses to create something out of the ordinary.

Their overall musical vibe is an eerie in-your-face melodramatic fusion with bursts of blended rock ‘n’ roll.

The evocative wails and distorted riffs promote an urge to thrash with the beat, which should make for a memorable live experience.

Burning Palms will play their debut show Feb. 20 at La Cocina Restaurant, Cantina and Coffee Bar, 201 N. Court Ave. They’ll appear on a 10 p.m-1:30 a.m. program with La Cerca and Jessa Cordova.

Burning Palms bandmates, from left, Chelsey, Sissy J. Fox, Mandy Millions and Simone Stemotherford rehearse. (Aztec Press photo by Arlo Costales)

Burning Palms bandmates, from left, Chelsey, Sissy J. Fox, Mandy Millions and Simone Stemotherford rehearse. (Aztec Press photo by Arlo Costales)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Aztec Press sat briefly with Stepmotherford for a question-and-answer session:

Q: Why did you start the band and what do you want to get out of it?

A: Boys, booze, money and political power.

Q: What are your songs typically about?

A: The guy who doesn’t matter because he is dead, peyote trips in the desert, haunting … the usual murder ballad themes.

Q: What musical influences does the band have?

A: The sound twigs and fallen leaves make when you step on them, irregular heartbeats and bedroom music.

Q: Was the all-girl aspect on purpose?

A: No, it just sort of happened that way on accident.

Q: How ready are you for the show?

A: Not ready at all … I’m freaking out.

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