Written by Caleb Oldham
"What kind of music do you make?" is one of the worst questions you can ask a musician. Not only does it show an unfamiliarity with the musician's work, but it asks the artist to pigeonhole him/herself into a narrow, simple description. "I wish I had no concept of genre. The only way we're going to advance music is if we get rid of genres...and all of the baby boomers," is one response I've heard, that's been influencing my listening ever since.
"Playful Stands," a track released by the Atlanta-based band Polish Nails, isn't killing off anyone over sixty-five, but it certainly challenges anyone looking to assign a genre to it. After a few seconds of stumbling notes and disjointed drums, the guitar and bass sync up, but in a rhythm that suggests they're both trying to take the conversation in different places, only to stop and let the other proceed before repeating. The drums tighten everything up but the screw still feels like it was put on backwards. As if to comment on the coexisting contradictions, the singer comes in with "no yes in alliance." Over the course of the track we get what sounds like a melodica, a tuba, and a soft chorus of "ooo"s resembling the hum of an overworked machine. Like Palberta, the experimental Bard trio that we interviewed last month, what excites me about this music is that I can't name it, and what's more, I don't want to.
Listen to more Polish Nails on their Bandcamp.