A Place I'll Always Go
Jun 16, 2017

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  • #9 Rolling Stone (Rob Sheffield’s Top 20 Albums of 2017)
  • #36 Digital Trends (The 50 best albums of 2017)
  • #100 The Wild Honey Pie (Top 100 Songs of 2017 - “Room”)
  • CLTure (Best Albums of 2017)
  • Post-Trash (Best of 2017)

The sophomore album from Boston trio Palehound, A Place I'll Always Go, is a frank look at love and loss, cushioned by indelible hooks and gently propulsive, fuzzed-out rock.

Ellen Kempner, Palehound's vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter explains, "A lot of it is about loss and learning how to let yourself evolve past the pain and the weird guilt that comes along with grief."

Kempner's writing comes from upheavals she experienced in 2015 and 2016 that reframed her worldview. "I lost two people I was really close with," she recalls. "I lost my friend Lily. I lost my grandmother too, but you expect that at 22. When you lose a friend—a young friend—nothing can prepare you for that. A lot of the record is about going on with your life, while knowing that person is missing what's happening—they loved music and they're missing these great records that come out, and they're missing these shows that they would've wanted to go to. It just threw me for a loop to know that life is so fragile."

Palehound's first release for Polyvinyl is also about the light that gradually dawns after tragedy, with songs like the bass-heavy "Room" and the gentle dreamy album closer "At Night I'm Alright With You" feeling their way through blossoming love. "The album is also about learning how to find love, honestly, after loss," says Kempner.

Since forming in 2014, Palehound—Kempner, drummer Jesse Weiss (Spook The Herd), and new bassist Larz Brogan (a veteran of Boston DIY who, Kempner posits, "had 13 local bands last year")—have taken their plainspoken, technique-heavy indie rock from the basements of Boston to festivals around the world. A Place I'll Always Go was recorded in late 2016 at the Brooklyn complex Thump Studios with the assistance of Gabe Wax, who recorded Dry Food. "I would put my life in his hands," Kempner asserts. "I trust him so much."

A Place I'll Always Go builds on the promise of Palehound's critically acclaimed 2015 album Dry Food with songs that are slightly more reserved, but no less powerful. "Flowing Over" rides a sweetly hooky guitar line, with Kempner using the fuzzed-out upper register of her voice as a sort of anxious counterpoint to the riff's infectious melody. "That song is about anxiety," says Kempner, "and when you're sad and you listen to sad music to feed it and feel yourself spinning all these 'what if's and 'I'm terrible's in your head."

"This record represents a period of time in my life way more than anything I've ever written before," says Kempner, who notes that the swirling "If You Met Her" and the piano-tinged "At Night I'm Alright With You" could represent the opposing poles of the record. "One of them is about love, and the other one is about death—it was a really healthy experience for me to find my own dialogue within that," she says. "There's so much that you learn and read, and other people's experiences that you internalize, that you try to then base your own on. It was helpful to carve my own path for that."

Part of what makes A Place I'll Always Go so striking is the way it channels feelings of anxiety -- heart-racing moments both exhilarating and crushing -- into songs that feel well-worn and comforting.

The hushed confessionalism of "Carnations" and the fugue state described in the stripped-down "Feeling Fruit" are snapshots of moments marked by big, confusing feelings, but they're taken with compassion and honesty—two qualities that have defined Palehound's music from the beginning.


  • 1
    Hunter's Gun (1:58)
  • 2
    Carnations (3:52)
  • 3
    Room (4:01)
  • 4
    If You Met Her (3:50)
  • 5
    Silver Toaster (1:25)
  • 6
    Turning 21 (2:42)
  • 7
    Flowing Over (3:49)
  • 8
    Backseat (3:19)
  • 9
    Feeling Fruit (2:37)
  • 10
    At Night I'm Alright With You (2:46)


“The 2015 album “Dry Food” marked Ellen Kempner as a bright new talent to watch, with a winning combination of quick guitar instincts and languorous vocals. The group’s latest release, “A Place I’ll Always Go,” is even better.”

New York Times

"Like many great records, A Place I’ll Always Go turns in on itself, creating tension that only its songs can release."


"Boston guitar poet Ellen Kempner has her own flair for jagged melodies – mostly about the perils of turning 23. Especially "Feeling Fruit," where she forces herself out to the grocery store after a lost month of post-heartbreak hibernation and frozen dinners. It's the most resonant song you'll ever hear about fondling oranges and melons in the produce aisle."

Rolling Stone

"There are echoes of earlier bands, with songs that brings to mind Smith Westerns (“Turning 21”), Beach House (“At Night I’m Alright With You”), the Strokes (“Flowing Over”), or Wilco (“Room”). But Palehound have always sounded like variations on classic indie rock, arranged around Kempner’s unique whisper of a voice and way of seeing the world that draws out the moodiness. This undercurrent distinguishes the project, and makes Kempner worth following."


"...a subtly original guitarist who can craft the perfect texture or riff to underscore these moving expressions of grief and hope. A Place I’ll Always Go is a gently devastating gem."

Mother Jones

"A Dazed-Sounding Tribute To The Magic Of Queer Love"


"Kempner hums [these] private pleasures over a gently looping acoustic guitar line that sounds like something from one of Broken Social Scene’s whispered love songs, luxuriating in her present bliss and overcoming past anxieties."


"There's a distinct '90s sound, a channelling of Pavement complete with head-swaying riffs going on here."

Under The Radar

“Her songs tend to pack the punch of dark personal experience and observations while still sounding bubbly; they often go down like jello shots.”

New York Magazine’s “Vulture”

"While the arc of A Place I'll Always Go may have initially begun in the wake of tremendous loss, Palehound's unflinching songs are also a celebration of life and embrace of love, and an empathetic reflection on how endings usually lead to beginnings."


"Kempner's music embodies the very essence of the queer experience—of blending the binaries of pain and pleasure, softness and harshness. The way she speaks echoes all these lovely contradictions life inevitably offers."

Out Magazine

“scrappy and buzzy guitar rock, bolstered by Kempner's dexterous riffs … also offers some darker, nuanced shades that evoke the album's themes."


"A Place I'll Always Go is a bold milestone in Kempner's career, displaying her consistent growth as a songwriter. She channels her anti-folk temperament with quirky ambience. The constant criss-crossing between unexpected sounds eliminates the chances of Kempner sounding vulnerable - she leaves it all out before her, allowing no hidden weaknesses."

The 405
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  • Carnations (4:04)
    Robert Kolodny
  • Room (3:44)
    Rozalina Burkova
  • If You Met Her (4:02)
    Real to Reel Filmschool, Raw Art Works
  • Flowing Over (3:53)
    Jay Buim