(Editors Note: When this blog was relaunched in August, I had mentioned that I would be inviting guest writers to appear here and invite more voices than just mine. I present to you now our next guest writer at Sara Dalton who took the brave risk of being my intern this semester. She has been an amazing help to me throughout her internship and has become more widespread and popular than ever, thanks to her help. Here, without further ado is her amazing insight on one of my favorite emerging bands, PALMS.)

“We hit the ground running, and we haven’t looked back since.”

The three of them knew they wanted a female singer, there was no question about that. The inquiry at hand, though, was who? It seems as though the Music Gods had heard their plea, and they answered with a Melody.

Anthony and Melody are the first to arrive at Casey Moore’s on a quiet Thursday night. The air was timid, cool enough for light winter attire. Melody sported a green-knit scarf and a pair of crutches, Anthony a green-striped shirt. The two of them ordered dinner and another round of Redbull vodka and waited for the other two members of PALMS to arrive. Derek showed up with a smile on his face, donning a black short-sleeved shirt with a white graphic print of a drum set, a piece of apparel highly appropriate for the drummer of a band. Spike eventually appeared, his thick-framed black glasses and septum piercing separated him from the crowd that had began to congregate around the outside area of the bar. The four of them sat around the square table, surrounded by packs of cigarettes, drinks, plates of food and their eagerness to tell their story.

“We were at The Rogue Bar,” recalls Anthony, “I think we were watching Dead Wildlife, and Spike said, ‘Dude let’s start a band!’ And I was like, ‘Fuck you man, no, I’ve been asking you for like months at a time and now you want to do it?’ I was being skeptical, I wasn’t being cynical, I was being skeptical.”

With all skepticism aside, Anthony and Spike began to jam together. After a couple of weeks, they reigned in the force that is encompassed in Derek Cooper, and asked him to play drums. The trio still faced one problem, though, and as Oak Creek Music Festival approached, they sunk into a deeper hole. The mini-festival was scheduled to be PALMS’ first show, but they were missing one, immensely crucial thing—a singer.

The only vision the band had for their singer was that they wanted a female, and one woman stuck out in their minds. Spike had seen a band called Vie La ‘Cest and his ears fell in musical love with the lead singer, Melody Michelle’s, voice. Amongst being occupied with Vie La ‘Cest, Melody also owned a modeling company. Her schedule was hectic and her being part of PALMS seemed like a dream that would never be lived out. Spike decided to reach out to the soul singer despite any hesitation, and soon found out that their dream might just become a reality.

“Rumor had it that Melody had quit the whole modeling biz, that her old band had fizzled, and just hours before Spike had even contacted her, she wrote on Facebook, ‘I wish I could be making music again.’ And Spike didn’t know that at all before he messaged her, it was just a byproduct of it all,” reminisces Anthony.

The waitress comes up to the table to check on each person, drinks are half way gone and only crumbs from Melody’s mozzarella sticks and Spike’s hamburger are visible on plates. Each member is contributing to conversation, some even talking over another. Each member of the band supplies their perspective, their words are puzzle pieces coming together into one cohesive story.

Melody agreed to play with the trio, they sent her a few demos so she had an idea of what she would be getting herself into.

“It was funny. I’d been so used to singing southern rock and blues that as soon as I heard their music I was like, no way. There is no way. I could write to this all day long, but I don’t know if my voice could produce a sound that they would want or need in their band,” Melody reveals.

It was June when Melody met the band for the first time. Although she had previously been introduced to Spike, it was only once and for a brief time at one of her performances with Vie La ‘Cest. She arrived at Spike’s house in Tempe, with weariness of what the result of the night would be. Despite any uncertainty, though, she had every intention of making this situation work since she had not heard back from any other musicians. Her itch to perform was increasingly becoming an even bigger irritation that needed to be scratched.

“We were at a place where it was getting scary and we needed somebody and we didn’t want just anyone that would play with us. The first night we played with Melody, she was the only person who actually got on the mic and jammed with us. The second she got on though, we were like oh, OK this is fine. We had a vague idea of what we were looking for in a singer, but Melody was so different from what we expected. As soon as we heard her powerful, deep voice with Anthony’s beach-y guitar tone, it was like fuck, alright, awesome,” Derek recalls.

The trio had found exactly what they were looking for. They spent the entire rest of the night sharing the words “we” and “shows” in the same sentence. From that point, there was no doubt that Melody was a part of the band.

“After that, we played three shows before Oak Creek Music Festival. We played Open Mic Night at Yucca, Long Wong’s with Ana from Sister Cities, the PALMS Pool Party which was the first time we played an eight-song set…we hit the ground running,” Anthony exclaims.

The family of four was finally complete. And since then, they have not looked back. PALMS quickly became a scene favorite, playing shows with bands that have been around for more than a year.

PALMS is a band with a sound alike not many others, their beach-y background mixed with deep, breathy, diva-esque vocals gives them somewhat of a Beach House vibe. And as a band semi-new to the scene, they seem to be tuned into their intentions of what they want others to take away from hearing them.

“I’ll never forget what Anthony taught me, what helped me get over my stage fright. He told me, ‘You don’t sing for anyone else, you sing for yourself…and if other people like it, that’s just icing on the cake,” remembers Melody. “Even if nobody ever liked my voice, I would still sing. Just as the rest of the band would still be musicians.”

The idea of fans not enjoying the band seemed comical. PALMS quickly became adopted into the supportive family that makes up Arizona’s music scene. The band’s only intentions seemed to be to make sure that their fans continue to enjoy the music, and leave a show feeling some sort of fulfillment.

“It is about making people happy. Think about all the songs you listened to when you were young, what attitude did you have when you listened to them? You’re in a good mood because music makes you happy. It is as simple as that,” chimes Anthony, “When you give the gift of music to somebody, and it just makes them happy…that is a subscription that everyone should have.”

The waitress comes to the table to check on everyone once more. “How is everybody doing,” she asks. Melody orders another sugar-free Redbull vodka, the three boys remain content. In fact–each member seems that way, beyond the desire for another round of drinks, they seem content with the direction their band is heading.

“When we first started playing with each other, I thought Spike and Anthony were looking for more of a Beach House sort of thing, and then Anthony showed me some of their electric stuff and it made me realize what they were looking for. We started to get more of a heavy dance vibe to our music, and then Melody came in and changed the paradox of our sound completely. There is such a contrast between Anthony’s clean guitar sound, mine and Spike’s thriving backbeats, and Melody’s bluesy, soulful melodies,” explains Derek, “We were all really surprised by the way our sound went, and now that we’re all together, writing together, it’s really interesting to see how it goes.”

Contrast is not always beneficial, but in PALMS’ case, it is. They are a band with such an established beach-soul sound, one that incorporates influences from bossanova beats and Major 7 chords. They look to musical groups such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys for writing style inspiration, aspiring to take those styles and add modern synthesizers and keys to the music. As prevalent as those bands are, still to this day, PALMS’ sound is unique.

“I think we all feel really lucky to have a type of sound that we don’t feel like sounds like other people, and we’re all really surprised with what we come up with. It’s nice to have a team that cares about one another so much, that trades off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well,” says Derek.

All together, Anthony, Derek, Melody and Spike seem to all feel really lucky to have found something that “just clicks.” The effort that PALMS puts into what makes them incredible should not go uncredited, but the effortless connection that exists between the group is just as noticeable. They have already recorded two amazing singles with the inimitable Jonathan Russo of Sky Bison (Snake!Snake!Snakes!) and have played Apache Lake Music Festival, feats that take some bands extended periods of time to accomplish. They all tip hats at one another for contributing equal parts to the band—Melody and Anthony for preparation, Derek for ideas, and Spike for connections and strategies.

There is no point to looking back. They are currently recording with Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket Studio and continuing to move forward with passion being their only fuel. They hit the ground running and have no intention of slowing down.

If you want to catch PALMS your in luck as they are in the midst of Tuesday night residency at Long Wong’s throughout all of December! Tonight you can catch a very special show that features four amazing bands with four amazing female singers. Tonight PALMS invites Jesii Dee (formerly of Danger Paul), Avery and The Madera Strand. The show is free and it is absolutely guaranteed to be amazing.

Listen to PALMS amazing debut single “Oasis” b/w “Coyotes” here!