Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Art-pop singer Charlie Hilton has been relaying a quote in interviews from Hermann Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf — “Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form…he is much more an experiment and a transition” — to how she wants us to regard her transitional solo debut album. She’s also the lead singer of Portland dream-pop outfit Blouse, but on Palana (a nod to Hilton’s given Sanskrit name) her ideas both acknowledge and push beyond what undergrads would glean from Intro to Indie Rock 101 and College Radio CD shelves. Produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait, Palana is not entirely dissimilar to Hilton’s Blouse work — her wispy vocals still make her sound chronically lost in thought.
Charlie Hilton cites Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf as a particular inspiration for her solo debut, Palana, but it’s Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund that it really reminds me of. Narcissus and Goldmund is a portrait of a young, romantic sculptor (Goldmund) in the middle ages, in fierce pursuit of his craft, continually sidetracked by love and sex. It’s about him trying to locate that all so frustrating balance between love, contemplation and ambition.
Best known for fronting Portland trio Blouse, Charlie Hilton sets out on her own with Palana, her first solo offering to be released via Captured Tracks. Listening to Palana feels like waking up, only to find yourself stoned in a field during the summer of love, which by all accounts is a pretty enjoyable place to be. The record takes its title from the Sankrit name given to Charlie by her hippy parents, meaning ‘protection’, and according to Hilton, it also reflects the free spirited nature of Hilton’s personal mantra, 'Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form...
On her two albums with Portland dream-pop trio Blouse, Charlie Hilton sings spectral, spindly songs that bear a mortal burden. On "They Always Fly Away," from their 2011 debut, she stares gravely at a symbolic blackbird that returns over and over to the same telephone wire, and each time laments its next departure. "1000 Years," from its follow-up, is a dream of eternal life disguised as a pledge of undying love.
In spite of the usual lull of a new year, this January, in particular, was jam-packed with loads of exciting releases that cover a whole gamut of styles and attitudes. Sometimes we just don't have the time and resources to cover them all, but that doesn't mean we're always listening. Below are some ….