Premiere: altopalo – “Chagrinning”

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The nearly six minutes that comprise the evanescent new single “Chagrinning,” are manic and attention-demanding. Brooklyn’s four-piece groove rock ensemble altopalo (who perform regularly as the live band for singer-songwriter Kiah Victoria) self-attribute their alluring and idiosyncratic musical predilections as “Difficult Listening,” which is a fairly accurate approximation. The disparate textures and sonic soundscapes explored on “Chagrinning,” waver from hyper-tensive future-soul, to enamored noise rock, to swaggering, soul-sensible funk, and they never settle for long.

altopalo navigate melodies that are vacillated and irresolute on “Chagrinning,” whisked away as quickly as they’re procured. Rahm Silverglade’s poignant lead vocal line offers a smooth counterpoint to all the sonorous energies, especially on lines like “Soft like light all asunder, where the moon wanes” as his salient falsetto lulls out glimmering grace notes. But the most beatific and euphoric moments on this track are instantly met with its boisterous, free-form counterparts: a dexterous eruption of harum-scarum electric guitar work from Mike Haldeman, a propulsive and disorderly drum fill by Dillon Treacy or a slacked and smug sputtering of bass from Jesse Bielenberg. With the concluding lines “gone in/far and out, passed out in the sound/ pop that sugar down, left here on the ground,” the last few bars dissolve, wane and leave you feeling spent and groggy, like a harrowing morning-after revelation. On SoundCloud, “Chagrinning” is tagged with “#dillachangedmyunderwear.” Sounds about right. Listen to the track below, along with their previous release “Picchu Machu.”

Angel E. Fraden

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