By Dustin Wilson
"I'd really like to make the first point clear of how much of a drag it is to play in NYC and have promoters mess you around, when you clearly play for free and have people come in," says Elijah Campbell Amitin, guitarist and vocalist for Brooklyn-based Palomino.
"We get e-mails all the time from these online booking companies saying what a great opportunity this is," Amitin says, "and sometimes we respond and sometimes we don't - we can get these shows on our own".
This do-it-yourself mentality has served Palomino well, as the Brooklyn-based band have made great strides since forming in 2010, with the recent release of their new music video for their single "Ponte Vecchio" from their forthcoming self-titled EP, shot by Jonathan Hansen and the Pioneer One web series crew.
Amitin and drummer Mike Sweeney met at a party in Astoria where they discussed music and shared e-mails, not thinking they'd really cross paths again.
"Elijah e-mailed me the next morning, and I didn't remember having the conversation, " says Sweeney, laughing.
"It was one of those drunken ramblings about music that no one remembers," adds Amitin. "But after that I had a feeling things would click."
The duo soon started writing their own music and playing venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, sharing the stage with other bands like Family Fun and Casiorossi.
"Honestly our favorite place to play is upstairs at Piano's, where they have the free shows. And we can play for people who don't know us, just cutting out the middleman who drives up the cover charge," says Amitin.
"Playing as a duo is fun, we played without a bass player for two years, and it was mostly out of not wanting to compromise," says Sweeney. "We had a really good vibe we were in to. It was always a big thing where people were either turned on by it or hated it. We always got the White Stripes or The Black Keys comparisons but we sound nothing like those bands. It was always a weird thing for us. As a drummer, you have to fill up the space, and that kept both of us writing really honest and simple."
Rounding out their sound with bassist Pat Deeney for their EP release party, the newly minted trio harken back to the days of early alternative pioneers Husker Du and The Replacements.
In 2011 the band recorded their debut self-titled album, five songs layered with Amitin's emotional dissonance over jangled guitar and drums that grab at your heartstrings.
Palomino plays their EP release party at the Ella Lounge Feb 17.