by Tyler Boudreaux
Photography by Colleen Mescole
The ghosts of Alan Vega and Prince wail through the synthesizers on a Palm Springsteen song. The electricity of Mick Jagger shakes in frontman Nick Hinman’s tapered pants. And although you can credit their dynamism to the sounds of Joy Division, Talking Heads, or any other New Wave sweaty dance groove, Palm Springsteen are in the wake of their potential to become modern icons on their own.
Their 2016 single “She’s Got Claws” is a bold introduction into the organized distortion of Palm Springsteen. The layers of dark synths reverberate against a gritty guitar and primitive drum machine. While the deep disco melody curates the tone of the track, the sensual lyrics sink into your skin. “You taste her blood and/ you drown, and you drown,” Hitman croons in a voice as soft as a moan.
It doesn’t hurt that the band is comprised of four California-based dreamboys with a sharp dress code. Palm Springsteen began as Hinman’s—singer, actor, model—solo bedroom project in 2014, and eventually grew into a quartet featuring Hayden Tobin, Kyle Sirell, Luca Buccellati.
Their style is a mashup of beach goth and vintage greaser culture in Southern California, and their attitude subscribes to the protopunk and avant garde fever of the late 70s New York dive bar scene. Hinman’s stage presence is alluring. Their dynamic swagger pulsates through their sweaty and electric live performances.
“Wipeout Beat”, their take on Alan Vega’s track from 1983’s Saturn Strip, is a wonderful expression to their devotion of the new wave style. The energy in this track builds and builds until it’s combusting from the seams and the song wraps. It captures the LA pace of a late night drive on the freeway.
Their latest single, “Sister, Sister” only reveals the upward trajectory in the cultivation of their sound. However far it does lean into the catchy regions of synth pop, the melody steadily maintains a grip on its heavy rock influences.
With Palm Springsteen’s image and sound in near perfect rock stardom condition, one could wonder if they’re trying too hard. Well, maybe. Is it working? Definitely.
For the full story and more content, get your copy of Phosphenes #4 – “Music”