Recording information: 10/2014-12/2015.
Fist & Palm is the third full-length album from Bellows, the bedroom pop project of songwriter/guitarist Oliver Kalb. More whimsical in design than his prior, folkier releases, the album expands his sound beyond the lo-fi designation without losing its idiosyncratic, homemade character. It's also still a very personal work, about the disintegration of a friendship. A disciple of Elliott Smith, Kalb excels at tuneful ballads that are often loaded with melancholy and self-doubt. One such song is "Bully," despite a relatively lively arrangement ("I can't see your body/But I can feel your might, lost in autumn breezes"). On the more playful side, "Orange Juice" has keyboards, electronics, finger snaps, and at least double-tracked vocals, some of which are processed. The album features performances by frequent studio and touring collaborators Jack Greenleaf (Sharpless), Gabrielle Smith (Eskimeaux), and Felix Walworth (Told Slant). ~ Marcy Donelson