Image: Palm Springs by Jamie Wdziekonski.
Author: Melody Menu
The opening chords to ‘Hollywood Failure’ ring out with all of the poignant charm and fated opportunity of a brand new adventure. Which is fitting, as it’s the first release from Palm Springs’ upcoming debut album Palm Springs & Friends – the solo project of Erica Dunn from MOD CON and Tropical Fuck Storm. Sparse yet lush, the song calls to mind the soulfulness of Karen Dalton and Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen, with minimal accompaniments that emphasise the centrepoints of Erica’s honeyed vocals and meandering guitar.
Erica says of the track: “I guess the song is about rejection and romance. It was a loose recording session and recorded quickly to tape; the aim wasn’t to get perfect takes but just to put down something immediate and not overthought. The lyrics play around with a scenario where rejection and exclusion from big, mainstream structures can create hidden spaces for romance and fun and where failure can mean freedom.”
The bulk of Palm Springs & Friends was written during a busy artist’s residency in upstate New York, and recorded at NY HED Studios, a speciality studio for analogue equipment, which complements the album’s pared-down folk inflections. With seven tracks recorded live to tape in just ten hours, and featuring collaborative flourishes from Paul Pirie and Steph Hughes, Palm Springs & Friends exudes a warm and organic quality, which captures the spontaneity of Erica’s time spent in the studio.
Palm Springs & Friends will be released in November through Melbourne-based queer-feminist label Tender Collection. Pre-order now.
The album will be launched at a ‘Secret Collingwood Location’ on Friday November 30, with support from Death Couch, Egg Nest and Golden Scalpel. Details here.