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Raven Nieto (left), Kyle Fink, Carli Acosta, and Jake Karner of Palomino Blond.
Raven Nieto (left), Kyle Fink, Carli Acosta, and Jake Karner of Palomino Blond.
Photo by Nicole Cordoba

Palomino Blond Is Taking Miami by Storm

Palomino Blond's Carli Acosta, Kyle Fink, Raven Nieto, and Jake Karner's hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

In less than a year of existence, the young Kendall four-piece has garnered a loyal local following, seen its song “Supergalore” included on New Times' list of best Miami songs of 2018, released a six-track demo, been dubbed the best band from Kendall, and toured out of state (a feat for emerging bands that isn't exactly lucrative). "It's been a total whirlwind, honestly," Fink reflects.

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New Times recently declared Kendall the "beating heart" of Miami music thanks to contributions from local bands such as Palomino Blond, Firstworld, and Sunghosts. Palomino Blond's diligence, work ethic, and drive are palpable, yet the bandmates have remained humble. "I remember when we first had our demo out on Bandcamp," Acosta recalls. "I was frantically sending it to blogs to see if anyone would want to write about it. Out of maybe 20, 30 emails, we got one response. To get people talking about us without me having to ask is really rad. The continued support growing over the past year has been really, really incredible."

Growing up, the four members played in backyards across Miami-Dade in such bands as Long Shore Drift, In Oculus, and Sedgwick. Eventually they came to know of one another while playing the local circuit. Fink (vocals and guitar) and Acosta (vocals and guitar) met face-to-face when they got together to jam in Fink's bedroom with the intention of forming a band. Soon thereafter, Fink and Acosta acted on the creative spark they had instantly felt when playing music together for the first time. They ultimately formed Palomino Blond. The band, whose name was inspired by a species of tarantula, added Nieto (bass) and Karner (drums) in March 2018.

The group recently premiered its first music video, for the song "Creature Natural," in front of an amped crowd at Tea & Poets. Directed by brothers Jonathan and Michael Cuartas, the impressive video, which garnered more than 2,000 plays on YouTube and Facebook in 24 hours, was shot in a 1930s-era house in the Redland that was also used to film scenes for the TV show Bloodline. "Lyrically, 'Creature Natural' is about my experiences," Acosta says. "I have really active dreams... a lot of them are bad dreams, sadly. I wrote this song about waking up from a nightmare and not being able to go back to sleep."

The four-piece describes its sound as "genre-bending," combining emo, doom, punk, shoegaze, and dream pop and drawing inspiration from a spectrum of influences. The bandmates all share compelling stories about what triggered their desire to play music in a band, such as performing in backyard shows; seeing their favorite bands in concert; listening to records from acts like the Strokes, Fugazi, Smashing Pumpkins, the Refused, and Tegan and Sara; and growing up with family members in the music business.

Nieto recalls his "first interaction with the Miami scene" at a Testokra and Las Tias show outside Wynwood that left a lasting impression on him. "Growing up, I only really did backyard shows... I remember going out there, and I had this dumb-ass big Mohawk and I thought I was like a Kendall punker back then," Nieto laughs. "But when I got out there, I really saw what it was to get hit with a wall of sound and to be there, surrounded by this remarkable raw energy that I wasn't really used to... That's what really kicked me into full gear to start performing."

Now the group is working with Torche's Jon Nuñez on Palomino Blond's debut album, due out sometime this year. The bandmates say they plan to re-record some of their demo tracks as well as create new songs that "verge on postpunk and shoegaze" for the upcoming release. "There's lots of dynamics and dreaminess and moodiness and poppiness juxtaposed with darkness," Fink dishes. 

If one thing is apparent when speaking with the band members, it's their powerful passion for their craft.

As for what they hope fans take from their music, Karner says, "I want our listeners to be in the moment when they're listening to us, whether it's live or listening to our songs with headphones. Whatever our music makes you feel, as long as you're enjoying it."

Adds Acosta: "I think in terms of the recorded material, one of my favorite things when I'm listening to an artist is feeling understood by some lyrics." She names St. Vincent and bands such as Haim, Sleater-Kinney, and Tegan and Sara as some of her favorites. "To feel understood by the lyrics of a fellow lesbian or just like a fellow woman is really cool, and I just want the fans of this music to feel understood, to feel a kinship with our band, and to know that if you want to make a band, if you want to have your voice heard, there is little to nothing stopping you."

Says Fink: "I want everyone that goes to any show of ours to feel like they just made a new family."

Palomino Blond. With Cave of Swimmers, North by North, and Las Nubes. 9 p.m. Friday, January 25, at Las Rosas, 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; facebook.com/lasrosasmiami. Admission is free.

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