Photo by Victoria Kovios
Since its inception, Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces have opted for uncharted waters. “I can’t explain it with words / I have to do it” was the mission statement on the duo’s 2011 debut, and the waters have only gotten murkier ever since. This week, Palaces release two new albums that consider the ugly side of America from an alien perspective, like What’s Going On as done by the Sun Ra Arkestra.
“Shine A Light” is the closest thing to a club banger and even its eyes are on the skies, orbiting around a sighing orchestral sample. But for all the celestial, sci-fi talk, Palaces show off a grimy and humid sound that’s breathing with humanity. They specialize in smoke and mirrors, the unspoken magic that comes from doing, not talking, and “Shine A Light” does just that: it illuminates, before retreating back into the shadows.
“Shine A Light” (feat. Thaddillac) appears on Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star, out July 14 via Sub Pop. Quazarz Vs. The Jealous Machines is also out July 14, and Shabazz Palaces play the Mohawk on August 23.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX