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 Alex Griffin

Palberta Are Champs

Palberta Are Champs
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My friend Cayla bought the first Palberta tape at a show, and they all came individually packaged; hers was in wrapped in the kind of bag that you usually get onions packaged in, skins included. Hearing that, I thought to myself, ‘now that’s something’. That tape — My Pal Berta — is something you could wrap in used condoms and you’d still have to pry it from my bare, dead hands.

Alls that I know about them are that they’re Ani, Nina and Lily from upstate NY, and while the fact this tape comes from the eternally mindthumping OSR Tapes is a recommendation in itself, this could come wrapped in a dozen used condoms and I’d still want to never put it down.

Agitated all-woman punk deconstructions trapped in a washing machine rolling down a flight of stairs. The vocal interplay is like having Gina and Ana from the Raincoats in one ear and a wet finger in the other, one voice pulling off beamlike swirls while someone else runs themselves through a shredder. Facebook genre description: ‘A fuck or an apple pie?’ Exactly.

In “Foot Tapping” they cut to the chase and talk over each other. This is music at protest with itself, totally at war, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” turned into a barfight  large and foaming (chorus to “Pop Song”: “WHY YOU GOTTA DO THAT?/ 🙁 i don’t know why 🙁 “). When “Anyway” builds to a ramheaded jostle from a and then shakes itself off, it’s like they’re dismissing the idea of playing in the first place. “Ode to Gabe” sounds like it’s laughing at “Hollaback Girl”. I don’t know. I have no idea, and if the caustic taughtening of “Smile Song” is anything to go by, it’s little smiling hooks they have in mind. Tonally, it’s plain ruuuude — not as in like, there’s an etiquette to be obeyed or anything, but rough, jostling. If you wanted someone to grab you and throttle you properly, etc. Even the phaser that crops up (now that’s punk, man) is like a belt to the tailbone. There are grooves malodorous enough here that James Chance would get a coke wriggle going if he heard them four blocks over. Palberta, on the other hand, don’t seem to be drawn to anything without qualification, and that’s exactly what makes them fascinating. “When I come/I can’t be late/when I go/I can’t relate.”

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