Green Palm Radiation- Green Palm Radiation

Green Palm Radiation- Green Palm Radiation

Green Palm Radiation- Green Palm Radiation

If you want something done right, you do it yourself. 

Jay Newberry takes that old saying, and he absolutely runs with it. On the self-titled debut, Newberry is responsible for every instrument, with the exception of the drums on one track. I guess it’s hard to find indie rockers wandering around in Guelph, Ontario. And at the time of the press release (maybe a few months?), Green Palm Radiation was actively looking for label representation. Come on, labels, throw this guy a bone! Indie rock is all about the underdog, but my god, Jay Newberry is the underdog of underdogs. I’m going on record as saying that I’m rooting for him. 

Green Palm Radiation is like $5 budget lo-fi. It sounds like he put in a blank cassette in the player and hit record, but fortunately, it plays to his advantage. The hiss of the recording sets the environment for the haziness that Newberry wants to create. Amid the buzz, the guitars, keyboard, percussion, and vocals rattle with charm, and while the instrument sharpness is dulled by the sound quality, it actually makes them sound more distinct, more Newberry-ish. The ultimate result is music that calls back to early 90’s Guided By Voices, with its gauzy guitar pop. The guitars resonate with vibrant strumming, while the keyboards lay on the psyche-pop noise with all sorts of different effects. The hooks are solid, but the real winner on the album is the quirky interaction between the guitars and the keyboards. It makes the instrumentation a unique and singular experience, and with all these noise-pop bands on the scene today, that’s saying something; there’s as much or more character in the music with GPR as there is with No Age, Wavves, Times New Viking, you name it.

The album is at it’s best, though, when the melodies can match the quirkiness or haziness of their musical counterparts. The closer “Rachel Brook” is the only song where Newberry sings in long, thick lines, while the music follows suit and makes for a sweet, dreamy listen. “Son of Volare” uses a great off-color melody among watery instrumentation, to make a really tremendous song that transcends its own simplicity. Following that gem, “Shudder” hits greatness as well. The song ditches the traditional pop melody for a deadpanned, melancholy one that works to a much greater advantage. The music is routine in execution, but wonderful in outcome, with a lazy groove formed from stuttering percussion and thick acoustic chords.

Jay Newberry has a good album here, no doubt about it. With the help of a label, Newberry might be able to focus in on his strengths, which could deliver a frighteningly great record. Newberry knows, with the lo-fi noise, guitars, and keyboards, how to create off-kilter, lush sounding songs. But whenever he opts for equally off-kilter melodies, rather than traditional pop ones, the results go from good to stunning. I’m rooting for Jay Newberry and Green Palm Radiation, but when he decides to fully embrace his unorthodox side, i.e. “Son of Volare,” “Shudder”, he might not be an underdog anymore.