By: Joseph Arbid
Hiatus Kaiyote is a band that has been getting a lot of recognition in the past few years. Sampled by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, and Drake, the Australian quartet has made a name for themselves with their glitchy, percussive, intrepid interpretation of neo-soul. Lead singer, Naomi Saalfield, a.k.a., Nai Palm, released her debut solo album, Needle Paw, and it encompasses everything that makes Nai Palm such a unique artist.
Nai Palm utilizes her full vocal abilities both harmonically and melodically, ranging from her rich lows to her glassy falsetto. Accompanied by only her guitar and her backing vocalists, she explores new territory, revisits songs from Hiatus’ sophomore album, Choose Your Weapon, and even covers songs from artists such as Jimi Hendrix (Have You Ever Been (To Electric Lady Land)) and Tamia (So Into You). Personally, her stripped down version of “Atari” is my favorite song on the album; she managed to use her voice to add texture and depth to parts of the song that were originally electronic. “Crossfire” was another great song about love, a topic Nai Palm doesn’t typically cover in her lyrics. There aren’t a lot of guest features on this album, but the features that made their way onto Needle Paw include aboriginal singer Jason Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and kora player Amadou Suso. All in all, this is a fantastic debut album from Nai Palm. She combines elements of folk, R&B, soul, and tribal music to create a one of a kind album that lets her emotions run loose.