Photo Credit: Tonje Thilesen
Palehound’s new album Eye On The Bat, due out July 14 on Polyvinyl Record Co., is a documentation of illusions shattering in the face of profound change. Witnessing the tiny details that build or break a relationship, and the flood that comes after. The new record was announced today alongside an intimate and electrifying new video for lead single “The Clutch”. The blazing new track is charged with a relatable array of the aching care, relief and regret that wash over the cracks and eventual dissolution of a fantasy.
El Kempner (they/them) shares, "The Clutch" is the very first song I wrote for this album, back in 2020 right when lockdown started. I had been on a tour that was sliced in half by the onset of the pandemic and we had to apocalypse road trip back to New York across the country from Oregon, where our next show had been scheduled for. While that was happening, I was also having a triggering romantic experience with somebody I didn't know too well, and by the time I got home my whole body seemed to be spinning in turmoil. Writing and producing this song grounded me and helped me process a new future and self that I hadn't anticipated.”
Video co-director Brittany Reeber shares, “Adam (Kolodny, co-director), El and I wanted to create something that captured the charged, raw drive of the song. Inspired by slick, visceral performance videos of the early 00's, we got ourselves the biggest space we could find and Adam created a visual aesthetic with the circular track, rotating head and alternating key lights that ultimately build (along with the band's electric performance) to an epic and dizzying climax.”
The expansive new collection is a sonic tangle of raw nerves coming undone amongst swelling, propulsive instrumentation. While their sinewy and off-kilter guitar playing remains front and center and their singular poetic voice is very much still present, Kempner no longer buries the hurt in metaphor. “It’s about me, but it’s also about me in relation to others,” they say of the album. “After hiding for so long – staying inside and hiding your life and hiding yourself from the world – I was ready. I think I flipped.”
Eye On The Bat is Kempner’s latest release since Black Friday (2019) and Doomin’ Sun (2021) by Bachelor (a collaborative project with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte). Recorded in brief stints across 2022 at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills, they stepped up to the soundboard for the first time, co-producing the new album alongside Sam Owens (Big Thief, Cass McCombs). Kempner also credits multi-instrumentalist Larz Brogan, who they refer to as “my platonic life partner” and longtime member of Palehound since the Boston DIY days, as a vital part of making the album come together the way it did.
Eye On The Bat is the biggest – and best – Palehound has sounded on record. It is not a hopeful record in content, but it presents listeners with a reminder that – if you made it through that, you’ll handle whatever comes next.