Tucson's Burning Palms Bring a Taste of Egyptian Lo-Fi

Categories: Interview

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Johnny M. Garcia
Tucson-based Burning Palms is scheduled to perform Sunday, May 11, at Crescent Ballroom.
Just 15 months after their debut show, Lolipop Records recording artists Burning Palms will be headlining a free show Sunday, May 11, at Crescent Ballroom. The Tucson-based quintet will be supported by some of the Valley's best underground rock acts, Man Hands, Numb Bats, and The Rebel Set.

That they're headlining shouldn't be a surprise to fans of the group's self-described "Egyptian lo-fi" style, which incorporates the tribal, droning sensibilities of various religious music designed to provoke an ecstatic state -- imagine The Velvet Underground & Nico with an additional Nico singing and you'll get the idea. After all, this is a band that gained tremendous momentum after its third show and signed with Burger Records' sister imprint, Lolipop, less than four months after its debut performance.

Church of RA, Burning Palms' first release, received glowing reviews from the Tucson Weekly and Phoenix-based music blog YabYum, among other outlets.

But Burning Palms are no strangers to Phoenix.

"We've played many shows in Phoenix over the last year: several times at the Lost Leaf -- a place we adore -- and quite a few house parties," lead vocalist/guitarist Simone Stopford says. "We try to play Phoenix at least once a month. But we're very excited to play the Crescent, with bands we've played with before. They're all fantastic bands and we're excited to share a bill with them."

The band, whose lineup includes co-lead vocalist/percussionist Julia DeConcini, drummer Eliot Silva, bassist Nate Gutierrez, and Thomas Sloane, have just wrapped up recording sessions for their self-titled second album, recorded in a week at Tucson's esteemed Midtown Island Studio (a hotspot for many Burger and Lolipop acts) by Matt Rendon of The Resonars, who also record for Burger. The nine-song album, to be issued June 1, features five new songs that showcase Burning Palms' artistic progression, along with four re-recorded tracks that originally appeared on Church of RA. Several split seven-inch records with various Phoenix and Tucson bands are in the works as well.

Following the release of Burning Palms (free downloads will be passed out at their Crescent Ballroom show), the band will embark on a West Coast tour with acclaimed Los Angeles psychedelic rock band Mystic Braves.

"Mystic Braves is a favorite of ours, and we're honored to be touring with them," Stopford says.

The tour begins June 18 in Vancouver and wraps up in Los Angeles on the 28 at The Echoplex for Lolipop Records' inaugural Lolipalooza festival, an all-day event with performances by more than 30 acts, including Missing Persons, Shannon & The Clams, and Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel.

At face value, it might seem the group has just caught some lucky breaks. But the success of Burning Palms can be attributed solely to the unrelenting work ethic of the band's members and Stopford's singular, unique vision. Catch them while you can.

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