DCMD Premiere: “Seventeen” by Color Palette

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With his new solo project, Color Palette, Jay Nemeyer steps to forefront, with a little help from his friends.

After his previous group, The Silver Liners, went on indefinite hiatus in early 2014, Nemeyer was left with a handful of demos he intended for a new album. Rather than sit on them, he went out to L.A. to record the tunes with Kyle Downes, a friend and a former D.C. resident who has also produced music for local acts like Ugly Purple Sweater and Greenland.

Joining Nemeyer and Downes were Jon Jester (who played drums) and L.A. studio musician and mixer Nico Grossfeld. It proved to be a fruitful partnership for Nemeyer’s vision. “Even though I wrote all the songs originally, I was very happy to have all those guys involved,” he commented via email. “The music took on a new shape with all their input.”

Back in D.C., Color Palette’s current live lineup is a supergroup of sorts, featuring Young Rapids drummer Colin Kelly and former Dance for the Dying guitarist Josh Hunter. Jack Leathers rounds out the group. Today, we’re premiering the first single from Nemeyer’s L.A. sessions, called “Seventeen.”

“The song…is about first love/loss. I tried to capture all the emotions that one might experience while falling in love for the first time/getting your heart broken for the first time; fear, joy, sadness, excitement, etc.,” Nemeyer explained. “Nothing has ever made me happier/devastated me more than falling in love/getting my heart broken for the first time. I think this concept is something that a lot of people can relate to.”

What people will definitely relate to are chiming guitars, buzzing low-end synths, and a beat pushing and pulling the whole song between the happiness and devastation Nemeyer is shooting for. The melody emerges from the wall of sound the way a memory makes its way to the front of your mind. It never comes out all the way, though, as if Nemeyer knows that. For all of the blissful naiveté and violent emotion first love may seer on us, our memories of it don’t quite capture the reality.

That’s the brilliance of “Seventeen.” It’s tinged with melancholy, but pretty enough to soundtrack the feeling of falling in love, too. A sad song, perhaps, but also a confident, blissed-out first single for a songwriter and musician coming into his own.

Color Palette will perform on Friday, June 5 at Velvet Lounge.