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The Key Studio Sessions: Archpalatine

This winter, Kevin McCall of Philly modern rock band Andorra emailed The Key to tip us off about a new artist called Archpalatine who he’d caught at Manayunk’s Grape Room…but his recommendation came with a caveat. “It is definitely an odd one,” he said, and a quick glance over photos of a singer with regal robes and a broadsword confirmed his take long before I listened. And when I hit play? Woah. The first thing that greets you is a staccato harpsichord synth sound and a breathy voice dancing nimbly across notes, stretching the song title out to practically twelve syllables: “Tuh-huh-huh-huh-HUH-huh-hur-urb-u-oo-LENCE.”

My initial “what in the hell is this” gave way to “this is so catchy,” and after a few repeat listens and the song “Turbulence” getting stuck in my head for the afternoon, it’d shifted to “I love this.” In a music world concerned so heavily with “cool,” it’s a bold choice for and artist to be this theatrical, this expressive, this unafraid to be odd in 2019.

Archpalatine is the project of Derek Anthony Wilson, and has been kicking around Philly for the past few years, dealing in a variety of sounds: funk and reggae, pop and classical, hitting operatic Queen heights and brooding Hozier depths, with style and panache. Wilson hosts the Grape Room open mic series, which is where McCall (who works at the venue as well) connected with him, and used it as a proving grounds of sorts for the eclectic ideas that would go one to make up his debut record AmalgamContinue reading →

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Archpalatine stands out like a bright ray of joy against the darkness in the “Turbulence” video

Archpalatine | still from video

If you mix theatrical rock with futuristic funk and self-described “soul glam,” you end up with Archpalatine, one of the most interesting newer bands in town. Led by singer and keyboardist Derek Anthony Wilson, the project just shared a video for the song “Turbulence,” from their debut album Amalgam. Continue reading →

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Meet theatrical Philly band Archpalatine, listen to their operatic rock earworm “Turbulence”

Archpapatine | via facebook.com/archpalatine

We’re not going to lie: the brisk staccato harpsichord and swiftly marching hi-hat that greets you at the opening of Archpalatine‘s new single make for a truly bizarre introduction.

Not so much bizarre because it’s an unheard-of style — the influence here is pure classical, operatic even, which has obviously been kicking around for centuries — but weird because who else is making pop music this theatrical in 2019? Is it the resurgence in Queen interest following the hotly-contentious Bohemian Rhapsody biopic? Is it something that’s always been there, lingering on the fringes, that moves towards the center from time to time? Is that person holding a broadsword, and if so, why?

The person is question is singer and keys player Derek Anthony Wilson, who formally debuted the project last year under the name Palatine, with an LP called Peter. On that record, Wilson veered towards slow rock and R&B ballads with an avant-garde sensibility, not unlike Leonard Cohen or the heralded UK singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine. For their new release, Amalgam, Wilson renamed the band Archpalatine (“like a bishop becoming an archbishop,” as the band’s bio says), and expanded its scope. Continue reading →