Palisades is releasing a new EP, but not in hopes that an A&R guy from a major label hears it, signs the trio to a big-time record deal and puts them on the road in a van for the next two years.
"I'm in my 40s; I've got a mortgage. I'm not looking to become a rock star," says drummer Neil Bell, a visual artist who also works in computer technology.
The members of the heavily post-punk-influenced band are quite content to perform and record and keep their day jobs in Lexington. But they are also writing new material, and a recording is a natural step in that process.
"It's not a hobby; it's not a job," says frontman Scott Whiddon, whose numerous roles at Transylvania University include associate professor of writing and director of the writing center. "This is what we do: We write songs and record them and put out a record."
And in a prime example that what's old is new again, record is an accurate term.
Handshake Codes will indeed be released on vinyl and download only.
"These days, if you put out a CD, people just rip it to their computers anyway, so the download cuts out the middle man," bass player Mark Richardson says. "And the record makes a great keepsake."
Whiddon chimes in with a common vinyl endorsement: "It sounds warmer."
The four-song EP is the first of what will ultimately be three EPs over the next year.
"That lets us take our time with the first batch and put those out and then take our time working on the next batch," Bell says. "It also lets us have three different album covers and three different events like this to invite friends out to hear it."
The album-covers thing is particularly meaningful to Bell, a visual artist who creates all of the band's album covers.
The record-release party is Saturday at the Green Lantern Bar. Palisades is to perform at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. along with The Nativity Singers and The Fanged Robot, and a DJ set by Matthew Clarke of WRFL.
The guests exemplify the collaborative nature of the Lexington music scene that Palisades has somewhat exemplified the past three years, with themed cover shows as part of the Harry Dean Stanton Festival. And that carries over into the EPs.
Handshake Codes was produced by well-traveled musician J. Tom Hnatow, who also played on the album and will be on stage Saturday. The next set will be produced by John Ferguson of Big Fresh and Apples in Stereo, and the producer for the third has yet to be announced.
The songs are a quartet of tunes that are somewhat winking and reflective, including the driving Anecdotes and the mocking Party Games. Bell takes particular pleasure in the instrumental Pedal Sassy, saying, "I always try to write instrumentals, and then someone always comes up with lyrics for them."
Hnatow said the recording process at Shangri-La Productions was quick: The band laid the rhythm tracks first and then built on those. He says he wanted to get to the essence of Palisades in the recording.
"We're just trying to synthesize the different influences we come into this with," Bell says. "We're all big-time Replacements fans, Big Star fans, American independent rock 'n' roll. As a result, I get nervous if songs get more than three minutes long. I like keeping it economical, keeping it direct, and a simple connection between us and who comes to see us."