While many couples can trace the real time rise and fall of their relationship back to social media feeds and harried phone calls, Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church have channeled the highs and lows of their storybook courtship into something else entirely: the explosive, discomforting confessionals of Exitmusic. The mercurial project started the year they got married (2004) and allbutimploded during their recent divorce, but not before the duo wrapped its most fully realized collection of beautifully damaged music yet titled The Recognitions.It wasn't easy, though, for the band has always had to balance its writing and recording sessions with Palladino's career as an actress in such acclaimed television shows as Halt and Catch Fire, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, arthouse films like Storytelling and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."'Recognitions' has always meant the realization of painful truths for me," adds Palladino. "I thought releasing the record was the only way to let it all go - the final act, the last thing we made together. This album captures that change, the lapse of time in leaving one life to the next, which is what Exitmusic always represented." Aleksa is presently filming a role alongside Robert De Niro on Martin Scorsese's The Irishman while Devon Church is working on a solo record.
Brooklyn, NY’s Exitmusic — comprised of Devon Church and Aleksa Palladino (of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire') — will release their debut album, Passage, on May 22nd. Passage is a collection of newly-written songs and some of their older tunes that received some new coats of paint. Here, the two tethers that make up Exitmusic’s sound — one stirring atmospherics, one of grandioise and thoughtful pop â€“ are let to bow further out than before. They are, however, also pulled into a tighter, sharper knot at the center. There are big, emotional dynamic shifts, and a wave-crashing momentum across the set without ever breaking a sustained feeling of tenderness. It's dream-pop for those of us whose dream lives are Lawrence of Arabia-epic in scope: lulling, apocalyptic, celestial, triumphant. This is arena-goth.
Sometimes, listening to Exitmusic, it’s hard to tell exactly whether the goosebumps you’re getting are from the parts that are chillingly beautiful and melodic or the ones that are aching and guttural. Or further, the ones that are creepily sparse and disembodied. The New York City duo — Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church — doesn’t care when the chill runs down your spine, they just hope their music provokes some kind of primal feeling. Church explains, “It’s like what Aleksa sings at the end of ‘The Sea’: ‘And you turn your back to lifeâ€¦ Oh, sorrow.’ We want our music to confront people in a gentle but powerful way, to make them feel something.”
Church and Palladino started writing together several years ago, when Church moved to New York following a year teaching English in Taiwan and India. “We had a funny dynamic musically, at first,” says Church, who grew up in Winnipeg. “I was listening to things that had elements sonically of what we’re doing now — Radiohead’s Kid A, that second Sigur Ros album, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Warp Records electronic stuff. But all I had to work with at the time was an acoustic guitar. Meanwhile, Aleksa was recording all these really interesting, odd arrangements on her four-track that would be about a minute long and only have one movement in them, and it sounded more like what I was into than what I was doing.”