Palms — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Mon, 15 Jun 2015 17:04:54
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
12. Palms – Palms
Palms united Deftones frontman Chino Moreno with Aaron Harris [drums], Bryant Clifford Meyer [guitars, keyboards], and Jeff Caxide [bass] of seminal heavy soundscape masters Isis. The result is a six-track musical movement in the form of their self-titled album [Ipecac Records] that glides between some of either artist's heaviest moments and most lush and entrancing output. Palms exists in the space between guttural, grinding guitars and aurally engaging melodies. These two halves grind up against each other like musical tectonic plates, instigating a sonic earthquake at nearly each turn and moment.
"Future Warrior" feels like some kind of gorgeous Terminator seeking and destroying prey across a windswept futuristic metropolis with these musicians giving the backing track. "Mission Sunset" surpasses the nine-minute mark with a sprawling and sputtering energy that can't be matched, while "Shortwave Radio" boasts one of Moreno's most chilling lyrics ever, "Ascending into heaven, while staring into hell. You're staring into heaven, descending into hell."
It's a ponderous, poignant, and passionate piece of work that stands alone. It also take alternative music into new territory progressing the genre in the process. Palms will take root in your mind, and that's quite a wonderful thing.
Listen to "Future Warrior"
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!
See our Column on Team Sleep!
Palms 'self-titled' album is available on Ipecac Records.