What makes Ben Katzman’s Degreaser so great is not just their rok, but their Rok Philosophy, and Rok therapy. Rok n’ Rol Community College is one of my favorite songs. It’s about total disillusionment with community art school or music school programs. What do you do when the very place that should encourage you to master you craft tears you down? According to Ben Katzman, you rock…even harder. Ben Katzman’s music is about rocking through the hard shit life throws at you. Too old for Retail is another example of this. Everyone has been screwed over by their boss, worked too hard for too little. Many have found themselves seeking permission to have fun because they feel guilty when they do. Katzman’s music not only encourages chillin’ hard after working hard, it shows you how to rok out during the grind as well.
Ben Katzman brings back a showmanship similar to Diamond Dave while maintaining his originality. This is something we lost in eighties rock and I’m so glad to see it coming back! Rock never stopped being cool, but Degreaser brings everything that is fun about rock back. Seeing them live can only be described as that one scene in Back to The Future where Marty McFly breaks into his parent’s prom and shreds Johnny Be Goode. McFly time travels into the past and plays the song before Chuck did people think he wrote it. This is similar to the way Ben Katzman and his band bring back the religion of rock, particularly the uplifting kind. Although Degreaser did not invent the art of shredding, they are stewards of it. Their music is less about giving you something to believe in and getting you to believe in yourself. It’s fucking great. Kindness is Hot is a song that should be played everywhere. Kindness is hot should be played in DIY punk shows, churches, elementary schools, and strip clubs. Spread that shit like peanut butter to the ends of the earth! Ben Katzman’s Degreaser makes for a nicer, cooler world where we can all “chill mad hard, 2gether.” How can we do this you ask? Here are some guidelines from the band.
“Commandments of ROK"
1. Thou must always rok hard
2.Thou must shred from dusk ‘til dawn
3. Thou must not worship any idols, except Billy
4. Cool points don’t pay the rent
5. Thou must chill hard every day
6. Thou must sub beef for bean at Taco Bell
7. What goes around comes around, SO BE CHILL
8. Thou must work hard to chill hard
9. Diamond Dave Every day
10. "KOOL IS THE ROOL”
Their passion for shredding comes from a pure place. “I want to make it. Don’t get me wrong. But I feel like a lot of times- I’ve definitely been guilty of it in this lifetime. All the sudden you decide ‘Alright! We’re going to make it’ and you start looking at what you don’t have, and then it stops being fun.” (Ben Katzman – 5/26/18)
Don’t forget to check out their new single “Chill Position” linked below.
Don't click below if you want to hear an interview with Ben.
How the hell do I put Palomino Blond into words? The question I’ve been asking myself over and over since I set out to write about the 4 piece alternative rock band. I remember sitting criss-cross waiting for their show to start on April 21st. A really eccentric and outgoing guy sat next to me and Maddox on the floor, and we surprisingly had some pain free small talk, filled with some minor awkward pauses. I remember him asking us what band we came to see and what their sound was like. I think I looked at him for about 10 seconds before defaulting to “I don’t know, man. Palomino Blond’s sound is just so different. It’s hard to describe them.” I felt like SpongeBob in that episode where he couldn’t recall his name.
He didn’t seem to think much of my answer, but it was gnawing at me: How the hell am I supposed to write about a band that I can’t even describe. I mean this is literally what I do with my time: describing music to strangers; I felt discouraged and way in over my head. Well, to the random guy that I met at the Palomino Blond show on April 21st, I finally and most definitely have an answer.
Palomino Blond’s sound isn’t necessarily unfamiliar. Yet, it’s hard to put them in a category. I mean, you can’t. Well, at least not in just one. This is a band that plays with layers of dimensionality, while paradoxically maintaining their spooky vibe that’s balanced by the dreaminess their songs carry. The dreamy nightmare they conjure dances on the brink of progressive, acid punk, and gothic rock, while their softer side plays with some shoegazing and pop rock influences. I think that’s why Palomino Blond’s sound is so complex and layered. Their ability to so successfully create music that pulls ever so slightly from these genres, while still innovatively maintaining their paradox of soft and hard, allows them to create music that is truly euphoric.
Everything sounds so purposeful in their music. There’s an obvious relationship between each instrument that interweaves them, creating this web of cerebral rock that demands attention and awe. When they get up to do a set, there’s an immediate change of energy in the room. I feel a combination of things when I hear them play, but one commonality is pure wonder. I don’t even know what to do with myself when I hear them live. I want to jump up and whip my hair, but at the same time I want to take in all of it in stillness to capture the unfiltered dreaminess their instruments spew.
One of my favorite tracks from them, Creature Natural, perfectly embodies their sound as a band in a lot of ways. The song is more representative of their heavier side with dark elements that seem to crawl all over the song. The beginning is kicked off with an eerie, suspense building guitar, which sets an ominous tone. Shortly after the rest of the band arrives wrecking dreamlike havoc, which seems to be what this song feels like. It’s almost like a nightmare, but the kind that’s more interesting than scary; so, you don’t want to wake up. There’s also an interesting looming riff in this song that pops up throughout, and the tone on it is just ridiculous; I can’t tell if it’s more creepy than it is beautiful. But that’s just quite literally Palomino Blond: a beautiful dream that at times turns into a mesmerizing nightmare.
It seems, however, the more music Palomino Blond puts out, the more layers of identity they add to their unique sound, while all of it somehow just seems to connect in the most perfect way. Yes, Creature Natural may be a perfect nightmare. And okay, Supergalore may be some heavy dream rock that makes me kind of want to happy cry every time I hear it. Yeah, yeah, I know. Clear is a contagious pop rock song that could make me unapologetically dance in public. But the dreaminess and whimsy these genres gift provide elements that Palomino Blond ever so cleverly and innovatively use to make endless and original combinations of songs that seem to be a perfect snapshot of their own unique sound. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to watch a band as amazing as Palomino Blond grow in front of my eyes, and as always I’m eternally grateful for all the hard work they put into making their sound.
If you'd like to show some love to our local favorite, Palomino Blond, by either heading to a show, buying some merchandise, or even giving a follow, please head to their Instagram: palomino_blond or Twitter: palominoblond. If you wish to listen to some of their tunes, alls you gotta do is head over to bandcamp.com and search for Palomino Blond! They also have some amazing clips from live shows on Youtube! I'll link one of my favorites below.
P.S. Below you can find an interview with Carli and Kyle, guitarists of Palomino Blond, from May 26th.
Xx Ana Tame Xx