Live Review: Painted Palms live at Schubas Tavern

Reese Donahue and Chris Prudhomme are first and foremost cousins and second they are band mates. They make up the psych Synth pop duo, Painted Palms. The two not only grew up in Lafayette on the same block, but as of recently, they live in the same building in San Francisco. Although, it took them awhile to get where they are today.


They began playing music together, then transitioned to separately — communicating their ideas through emails — eventually compiling an album, Canopy, (Secretly Canadian) in June 2011. Their track called “Falling Asleep” was (up until the move) the only song they recorded together, in the same room.

Reese moved to the Bay Area to attend college and Chris followed suit, attending school in Baton Rouge, LA. They decided they wanted to play music still-despite the potential geographical complications and exchange ideas, beats, streams of consciousness… you name it, they did it all… via email.

Eventually, Kevin Barnes from the band, Of Montreal, got hold of their music and asked them to come along and join them on tour. Painted Palms admitted, “It was not easy, playing together at first… let alone the pressures of playing with a band like Of Montreal…” Eventually the got over their inhibitions and began touring on the regular with bands such as Braids and The Ruby Suns.

Reese never wanted to play guitar; he said this after Chris mentioned a boating accident that led Reese to dabble in playing around with one against his own will, while ridden in a hospital bed after breaking his hip in a tubing accident when he was in 8th grade. Chris once broke his toe, paling in comparison to Reese and his catastrophe, but without the accident perhaps the listeners would never have had the chance to get ear of Painted Palms and their dreamy melodies.

Despite the duo’s living situation now and being in such close quarters, they still like to work they way they always used to since 2009, alone. “It’s easiest to have a clear idea when working in solitude.”

Chris described the Internet at an “extra personal safety zone,” to which Reese refuted the statement saying, “it is not safe, it is just familiar.”

Painted Palms opened for The Ruby Suns on Sunday, February 24, on Oscar night; and despite the bad timing, their set was not only well attended but also remarkably well received. One listener was overheard saying, “They were really good, way better than the headliner.” People were pleasantly surprised by their echoing rhythms and ethereal soundscapes. Their music is soothing, pastoral yet riveting still with the essential kicks and punches of percussion that chimed in at all the right moments.

It is undeniable that these cousins have talent, and they are just getting their feet wet. Painted Palms are releasing an album they described as, “37 or 38 minutes long, 11 tracks and influenced by a lot of 60’s classics, namely The Beatles, with fewer Synths and more structured chord progressions.”

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