Music Showcase

SXSW Live Shots
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Friends, Wednesday, March 12 The Friends sweatbox was filled to a comfy, steamy density by the time the gals of Palomar took up their guitars, and the music they sprang upon the expectant crowd did nothing to temper the thermostat. Speedy, catchy, superprecise power pop, with about as much charisma as the stage could contain was the order of the hour, and it was delivered with all the enthusiasm the Brooklyn quartet's overwhelming cool would allow. Palomar is three-part female vocal harmonies delivered with the yelling intensity of Mates of State, but easier -- more natural. As if this was how they were born to sing. Divine doo-doots and ooh-waahs punctuated songs that make Imperial Teen sound like they're running in sand, and they galloped through tune after tune with hardly a pause. While the guitars tapped out jarring, off-kilter melodies, the drummer, a lone male hidden behind sweaty heads, held it fast as an anchor, thudding when thudding was called for and skittering across the top of the melody when the voices demanded full attention. But the focus was on the group's enormously cute and smiling faces, and the happy, happy vocal harmonies of the front three. There are lots of bands producing pop of this sort, fast and as sharp as a Singer needle, all to the point of making a joyful noise with no ironic apology necessary. But Palomar has it down. When you hit a groove in any style, it's evident, and that's the case with this band. They've achieved a clarity in their songs that most who try will never achieve. Sure it's spazzy, but it's a hell of a lot of fun.

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