ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Static Palms, Shadows Taller Than Souls

Static Palms.

Milwaukee bands Static Palms and Shadows Taller Than Souls played Kochanski’s alongside Chicago grunge punks Cuddle Riot on Saturday night.

Static Palms consist of vocalist/guitarist Shane Langenfeld, guitarist Joe Sleeman, bassist Kyle Prefontaine, and drummer Chris Bodjanac. They are an alternative rock band with pop punk sensibilities, dividing their time between Milwaukee and Chicago (Prefontaine lives in Chicago). They formed a little over two years ago and are named after a Panic! At the Disco song.

Langenfeld explained on how they formed, “Chris and I have been playing in projects for probably eight or nine years, and we started a two-piece back in the day which we ended up not really doing anything with. We met Kyle and brought him into the fold, and then went through a couple guitar players…I actually played with Joe years ago in a metalcore band and he’d been out of the game for a minute but I wanted someone that I could trust and that I knew could do what I gave them. Once that happened, the whole thing kind of figured itself out.”

The band’s first EP “The Pains We Go Through to Be Ourselves” dropped last August. Langenfeld shares what went into it.

“We actually lost our first guitarist while we were at the studio and it was terrifying, but we soldiered through and that’s what glued the rest of us together. That record and everything we’ve done since has been about my tenuous relationship with honesty that I’ve had throughout my life…so it’s about honesty – being as conversational as you can and tell the truth. Music can be obtuse and that’s an awesome thing, but what we do is the opposite. You should be able to pick up this book and read it.”

Prefontaine added, “What I’ve noticed from working with Shane is that his songwriting is more storytelling than structured cookie-cutter pop.”

Then they released “2 Songs” in January.

“Same idea,” Langenfeld said. “It was mostly the three of us – Joe had just joined the band – and the songs were already produced for the most part, so we made sure to get him down to the studio right away. There’s a lot of good friendship in this band and I think that’s the only way it functions, because egos can definitely skyrocket and no one in this band lets that get far.”

Most recently they released “2 More” last week.

Langenfeld explained, “It’s kind of an end cap to that whole era of music. These last two songs – at least for me – are the most personal out of any of them.”

The band works with ABG Studios down in Crown Point, Indiana.

“Seth Henderson is an awesome engineer and a really nice person,” Langenfeld said. “His wife is really nice too. When you go to ABG, they basically provide you an Airbnb free of charge as part of the process. We got to hang out by the pool with their kids one day and grill, plus the studio is ten steps from the Airbnb. They provide a service for a recording studio that I’ve never experienced and it’s fucking awesome.”

Prefontaine shares what the band is working on now.

“We want to record more songs so hopefully we can get back in the studio by summer. We’ll probably try to do another four-song EP if not maybe six.”

Langenfeld added, “It seems like there’s kind of a rhythm in that regard. It’s nice that in modern music there’s not the pressure to release full albums anymore; you think in smaller bits, and for us, it enables us to put out a complete thought instead of a series of songs that don’t sound related.”

Static Palms play The Burlington in Chicago on May 27th.

Shadows Taller Than Souls consists of vocalist/guitarist Nick Stadler, guitarist Dan Schmidt, bassist Jordan Steimke, and drummer Joe Widen. They play a unique brand of metal encompassing elements of stoner, psych, and doom. The project began in 2017, as Stadler explains.

“Our original drummer had to quit the band because he needed surgery, but he worked at a gas station that I’d frequent, and I’d always wear metal shirts in that place and he’d wear metal shirts underneath his work shirt. We’d sit there and chat about music, and one day he asked me to jam. I had a guitar that was basically collecting dust so I said sure. “Crystalline Perceptions” was the only song I had written at that time, and I’ve been chasing the dream since then.”

Steimke added, “I used to play in a tech-prog metal band, and we had a four-car garage practice space in Watertown. We had a party one night and these guys came out to play and I was like “damn, these guys fucking rock” and they needed a bass player. Their original player was in the army and he got deployed so they hit me up.”

Stadler continued, “My original drummer and I set up three shows last September, and he had to quit the band two to three weeks before that all started, so Joe and I crammed in as much practice as we possibly could before those shows and we just hoped for the best.

Pointing to Widen, Steimke said, “This motherfucker learned the entire set in nine days.”

The band released their “Doom Punk EP” in November. Stadler said, “We collectively picked three songs out of about ten that we were working on. We basically did all the recording between Dan’s house and my house so it was pretty much all DIY. We didn’t want to do a huge release because we just wanted to get our names out there.”

He shares what they’re working on now.

“We have a working title for our new album that will come out eventually…whenever I try to force something, I always hate it. Our budget’s also next to zero right now. I’m very influenced in my writing by Buddhist ideas and Zen-ism so the idea for the album is “sham-sara” going off the idea of samsara – the cycle of death, birth, and reincarnation – but getting into a cycle of bullshit. You’re stuck on all this stuff that doesn’t matter and you’re just going from one to the next.”

Schmidt said, “We’ve got a few songs on the burner at the moment that we’re working on getting the sound a little more tightened up and punchy. We’re planning on probably releasing a few singles.”

Shadows Taller Than Souls play Bremen Cafe on April 22nd.

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