Pop music can be an elastic thing. It can be stretched in all sorts of obscure and oblique ways, dismantled and deconstructed into any number of odd patterns and shapes, but the truth of the matter is you always know it when you hear it. You can adjust the pacing, vary the rhythms, and tweak the textures, but hooks and melodies will still win the day.

As a member of Modern Skirts, Phillip Brantley spent much of the mid to late aughts helping to conceive some of the smartest and catchiest Athens pop and rock of the decade, and now he’s hoping to recreate some of that success with his new project Palace Doctor. Joined by Jeremy Wheatley (Crooked Fingers, Eric Bachmann) on drums and Nick Robbins (Velveteen Pink) on bass, Brantley and company carve out sharp, shambling indie rock jams full of clever rhythms and evocative melodies, all glazed over with a healthy dose of casual cool.

Case in point is “There You Go,” the latest single from the group’s forthcoming debut, Mangled. Armed with spiky guitars and an insistent backbeat, the track marches along with a kind of insouciant grace, all the while humming coyly in your ear. It’s certainly more rock than pop, but Brantley’s uncanny ear for the infectious, combined with some buoyant production courtesy of Hank Sullivant (MGMT, Kuroma, The Whigs) and Kyle Spence (Harvey Milk, Kurt Vile), makes for an irresistible listen from start to finish.

Mangled is out September 22 via Laser Brains.

Palace Doctor will celebrate the release of Mangled with a pair of release shows at the Laser Brains Fall Showcase. The first of these is on Fri., September 22 at the EARL alongside Tedo Stone, Drew Beskin, and Jay Gulley. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10. 21+ to enter. The second is on Sat., September 23 at Little Kings Shuffle Club. Doors open at 9 p.m.

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Facebook: @palacedoctorband
SoundCloud: @palacedoctor