January 09, 2007

On his MySpace blog, Head Automatica/Glassjaw frontdude Daryl Palumbo just posted up some tidbits about his latest slate of projects: some punk, some pop, some Yak Ballz. It's wildly all over the place, but that's what we dig about dude. We headed out to Long Island to profile DP and his litany of side gigs for a Gen F back in F38, and you can read that story after the jump.

Crew Cuts

Daryl Palumbo stays connected

By Nick Barat

From the equipment trailer parked outside to the guitar cases, girlfriends, and piles of canvas Vans strewn about the living room, this suburban house in Bellmore, Long Island feels like Head Automatica’s own little rock clubhouse—blame the Monkees for the romantic notion of a band that spends every waking hour together, getting into wacky hijinx like chores and cooking breakfast. But just as the guitar player cracks another egg in the kitchen, lead singer/songwriter Daryl Palumbo explains that the house belongs to a band member’s mother. “We just use the basement to rehearse,” he says. “But if we all lived here together that would be dope.”

As frontman for LI post-hardcore act Glassjaw, Palumbo made the group a Warped Tour fixture with his spastic vocals that were half croon, half primal scream (“Elvis Costello meets HR from Bad Brains,” as Palumbo puts it). Starting the band as a teenager, he spent a decade launching words like “you” into six-syllable twists, but also managed to throw slivers of melody and softness into the band’s otherwise pummeling approach, and those contrasts carry over to his current gigs. Palumbo’s Head Automatica is an unabashed power pop combo; the band’s new album Popaganda is a slick combination of Costello chord progressions, Phil Spector balladry, and even snippets of Hall and Oates on the “Maneater”-styled “Cannibal Girl”. On the comedown end of that sugar rush is Shoot Frank, a group Palumbo founded with Def Juxies El-P and Cage that’s named after a particularly dark song they co-wrote for Cage’s Hell’s Winter. Palumbo has also formed House Of Blow, where he and fellow East Coast mosh pit vet Sean Martin whip out MPCs and Triton synths to make beat-driven tracks he exuberantly describes as “Portishead meets Dipset and Three 6 Mafia.”

The through-line on all these projects is as much a wide musical palate as it is Palumbo’s near-clinical compulsion to collaborate—he mentions that he’s also working on a massive rap crew as well as a duo with the Head Automatica keyboard player that “sounds like the Zombies.” As Palumbo rattles off references in an attempt to put the sounds in his head into words, the range of those projects can come off like some kind of schizophrenic, Mad Libs approach to music. You might doubt his Portishead-to-Purple City comparisons as much as you want to hear the theoretical results, but he seems able to connect the dots through will and enthusiasm alone. By the end of our interview, Palumbo is sliding off the couch to go downstairs and practice, even though the trailer outside still holds most of the gear from a tour that just ended days ago. Someone has to go and put everything together.

Posted: January 09, 2007