I often remember the time and setting of first artist/album experiences, but few are as poignant and powerful as the time I listened to Hiatus Kaiyote for the first time 2 years ago. 4am, university dorm room, Choose Your Weapon (2015). A raw, gorgeous neo-soul album with organic, earthly guitar leads, passionate vocals and lyrics from lead singer Nai Palm, fantastic drumming and great all-around vibes. Hiatus Kaiyote quickly transformed from a band I knew nothing about to one of my favourite groups in an hour. I did, of course go back to listen to Tawk Tomahawk (2012).
This also made Nai Palm one of my favourite singers at the moment. There is something about her voice that incredibly spiritual. There’s a raw power and emotion in her that I don’t get as much of from other singers. I don’t know what it is exactly, but she is angelic. Needle Paw is her solo debut album. With original cuts, acoustic versions of Hiatus Kaiyote songs of their first two albums, and covers of songs from the likes of David Bowie and Radiohead (the 9 minute gem ‘Blackstar/Pyramid Song/Breathing Underwater’ ft Amadou Suso), this is an album which is stripped down to only Nai Palm’s voice and guitar. The sheer power and magnitude of her voice can be felt throughout this album, and her guitar playing is exquisite. From the gorgeous instrumentation on ‘Atoll’ or ‘Molasses’ to the power of ‘Atari,’ this album is spiritual, meditative and flawless in sound and execution.
Listen to this acoustic masterpiece on Apple Music, and make sure you buy this album!