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Ellen Kempner’s Boston-based project, Palehound is the product of more than you may expect. Influenced by her musically inclined father at an early age, she began songwriting at an early age. This is particularly evident in Dry Food, her freshman album, recorded/produced by Gabe Wax (Wye Oak, Speedy Ortiz), is one that marks a transitional period in her life, a poignant snapshot of her late teen years.
Opened by both Pinkwash and Ursula, both of which delivered loud, garage-punk style sets, almost designed to melt the faces off of audience members, Kempner delivered a starkly different approach. With pleasant, yet gritty tracks like Easy, contrasting with more upbeat, almost beachy tunes like Cinnamon, the album highlights the best of what small-time alternative projects have to offer. It’s a genuine experience, and one that’s uniquely personal. A crowd of 30 odd listeners filled the small space of Beat Kitchen that night, and the show was one that I considered largely laid-back. Conversations and laughs were had, it was an informal affair, and that’s what Kempner does well. It’s a band that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and we’re not simply listeners, but friends along for the journey. An excellent show overall, and a sign that Palehound has fantastic future potential. I only hope that Ellen will continue to produce more material, as it’s a show I would go to again in a heartbeat.
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