Brooklyn Experimental Quartet ALTOPALO Announce New Album ‘frenemy’ + Share New Song/Video
June 7, 2022 BY Ken Li
altopalo have announced their forthcoming frenemy album out 23rd September via Nettwerk including the band’s first outside feature from Bartees Strange, a musician they’ve had a relationship with for years, as well as a small contribution from Dora Jar.
The album’s opening track, “Altopalo,” started as a very simple two-and-a-half-minute-long drum riff from drummer Dillon Treacy, after which lead singer, Rahm Silvergalde, bassist Jesse Bielenberg, and guitarist, Mike Haldeman, started finding their parts on top of it. It’s the first song they’ve written that started with the drums and marks a shift in letting each musician in the band lead the way with their own instruments rather than telling each other what and how to play. It’s also strikingly everything altopalo has come to be known for sonically: stunning textures, dream-like melodies, and distinctly bright and warbling vocals navigating unexpected lyrics.
The video for “Altopalo,” directed by Nicole Lipp, brings a playfulness to the track, though it’s not without meaning: in matching jumpsuits, the four musicians trudge on in an uphill battle. Pulling one another in a red wagon and through the creative music-making process, they have breakthroughs, sometimes coasting full speed downhill, but always prepped to climb back up to the top.
WATCH “ALTOPALO” OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO HERE:
frenemy is a frank, and deeply relatable, portrait of a band forced to reckon with their own fragilities rather than sweep them under the rug for the sake of keeping going, and as such is altopalo’s most personal and most triumphant record yet. Since their 2018 debut, the four-piece have racked up tens of millions of streams for their experimental and guitar-driven take on R&B, beats, ambient jazz, and more. They’ve made fans at Pitchfork, Fader, Nylon, Billboard, among others, and as studio & touring musicians outside of the band, have played or recorded individually with the likes of Moses Sumney, L’Rain, Jon Batiste, Amber Mark, and more.
In spite of their growing profile over the last few years, it was touch and go as to whether altopalo would come together to make another album. Being best friends for over ten years has made them incredibly comfortable with each other, to the extent that their friendship has become more like a brotherhood, a familial kind of relationship with all the strains and hurt that entails. Going into writing frenemy, they were clear that they wanted to make an album that spoke to their relationships to each other; as guitarist Mike Haldeman puts it, “the least dishonest thing we could do is just make music about us. The source material is literally the fabric of our friendship.”
When they started making the album, holed up in lead singer Rahm Silverglade’s childhood home in Indiana, they began watching the 2004 Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster; what started as a joke, expecting to laugh at the band, became quickly sobering for each of them as they watched Metallica have the same conversations and arguments that they were having. Rahm describes altopalo with the image of a four-headed chimera with wings and legs, each head pulling in a different direction with different ideas about how to get to where they need to go. “Being in a band is constantly navigating wanting to let people burrow or fly in the way they want to, but also knowing that the whole thing is compromise and you have to move together.”
“Altopalo” by altopalo is out now via Nettwerk. For any promo enquiries please get in touch with Ken Li. Stay tune in the coming months for more from the rising band.
frenemy is out 23rd September 2022 via Nettwerk
2. love that 4 u (ft. Bartees Strange)
3. starfish in low tide
5. time together
6. time alone
8. petty i know
9. table talk
10. over & over
11. hope this email finds you well
12. waitin 4 u
13. 300 mi
Press/Media Praise For altopalo:
““…a blend of ambient, indie rock, and R&B that recalls the work of genre-less auteurs like Justin Vernon or James Blake.” – Pitchfork
“…pretty synths collide with abrasive elements suggesting they’ve been listening to SOPHIE while Rahm Silvergade’s vocals shift in pitch and tone throughout, adding to the alien vibe of the music.” – The FADER
“…with the tinges of R&B, soul and pop filling out the meticulously constructed, cavernous rock soundscapes.” – Billboard
“the junk drawer in your house if it was music: bewildering and wondrous.” – NYLON