Why We Love Palma Violets – And You Should Too

Fuck Spector! Fuck Alt-J! Fuck all those boring fucking HIDEOUS wankers!” Every once in a while a band comes along who are a music journalist’s dream. Radar is stood at the bar of The Pineapple in Lambeth, south London, listening in as the guy next to us – a key player in the burgeoning careers of several noted NME cover stars, from The Strokes to Arctic Monkeys – ruminates about the gig we’ve just seen across the road. “Do you not get it?” he continues, smirking. “This band are literally going to blow everyone else out the water.”

It’s late March and Palma Violets have just played what could be the gig of the year in the heaving basement of a dilapidated house at 180 Lambeth Road. The following week, they’ll sign to Rough Trade and start recording their debut single. Fast-forward three months and we’re back in the very same pub after yet another incendiary show. Bassist Chilli Jesson, drenched in sweat but still in possession of the coolest fringe since Pete Doherty pretended to be Marlon Brando for Vogue Italia, is challenging NME’s editor to a game of doubles and jabbing a pool cue in our faces. “If we win you have to put us on the cover by Christmas,” he declares, Strummer-like. “And if you win we’ll put your faces on our album cover. Deal?” Unfortunately for everyone, it’s at this point that The Pineapple’s landlady cracks and bars us for being, well, too bladdered to be trusted in such situations.


The next time we see the band, on tour in Liverpool with the straight-as-a-dye Savages, they’re again on blistering form. That is, until they end up at the mercy of Mersey Police for breaking into – get this! – an antique fairground ride in the city centre (“Apparently it was used in the Queen’s coronation,” muses singer Sam Fryer afterwards). Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes To Hollywood subsequently tweets his disgust, to which the four Palma Violets collectively shrug their shoulders and say: “Fuck you, has-been.”

And if you’re thinking this sounds like all mouth, don’t worry – the trousers are awesome as well. Just listen to debut single ‘Best Of Friends’ for proof of their Bunnymen-meets-Black Lips-round-at-Pete’s-pad brilliance. Thank the lord.

Matt Wilkinson

Based: Lambeth, South London
For Fans Of: The Clash, The Strokes
Buy It Now: Debut single ‘Best Of Friends’/‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ is out on October 22
See Them Live: This October, when they tour the UK
Believe It Or Not: Apparently ‘Best Of Friends’ was recorded just three days after the band wrote it

Palma Violets grave the cover of NME magazine this week