With a sound rooted in '90s D.I.Y. indie rock and grungey low-key folk, Palehound emerged in the mid-2010s as the project of Boston-based singer/songwriter Ellen Kempner. Evolving from her lo-fi bedroom pop roots, Kempner soon cemented Palehound as a rock trio and joined the Polyvinyl roster for albums like 2017's well-received A Place I'll Always Go and 2019's Black Friday.
Kempner came to music early, writing her first songs at the age of ten. Citing influences like Elliott Smith, Angel Olsen, and Kim Deal, her songs are confessional and often caustic with a wry, offbeat edge. While studying music at New York's Sarah Lawrence College, she released her debut EP, Bent Nail, on Exploding in Sound Records. A quirky mix of grunge-folk and '90s-influenced indie, the release garnered some buzz and Kempner eventually dropped out of school to focus her efforts on songwriting and recording Palehound's first full-length. Working with producer Gabe Wax (Wye Oak, Speedy Ortiz) and a newly minted rhythm section of drummer Jesse Weiss and bassist Nick Koechel, Kempner recorded her first LP, Dry Food, which was released in the summer of 2015 by Heavenly Records. After switching over to Polyvinyl in early 2017, Palehound followed up with A Place I'll Always Go, a reflective album about love and loss that continued to streamlined the band's sound. Working again with Wax as producer, Kempner and her bandmates headed to California's Panoramic House Studios to record Palehound's third outing, the ruminative Black Friday, which arrived in June 2019. ~ Timothy Monger