Color Palette’s new album, Shed Your Skin, sounds like young adulthood in DC feels. The lyrics on the record, which is out on November 8, address the peculiar challenges facing young adults, from paying rent and navigating dating apps to battling anxiety.
Frontman Jay Nemeyer wrote the songs as he experienced a series of changes in his personal life. He went through a couple breakups and saw friends get married and have kids, while others struggled to pay their rent. He began to confront the idea that his life might not look like he expected.
“I graduated [college] at the height of the recession,” says Nemeyer, who is 32. “I think it’s just coming to terms with the fact that you’re not going to have the same life that your mom and dad had.”
Nemeyer grew up in Tenleytown and played in his high school’s jazz ensemble at Field School and joined local bands. When he moved back to DC in 2010 after graduating from Drew University, he played locally, gaining traction with the pop-rock outfit the Silver Liners. After the group disbanded, he formed Color Palette with fellow members Matt Hartenau, Joshua Hunter, Rogerio Naressi, and Maryjo Mattea.
The group’s ambient 2016 debut, Vaporwaves, earned the five-piece slots on bills with acts like Charli XCX and Soccer Mommy. The band’s follow up, which was delayed after Nemeyer suffered a knee injury during a basketball game that left him unable to walk for six months, has a stormier undercurrent than its predecessor.
On the recent single, “Dark Days,” Nemeyer addresses sociopolitical unrest—a choice he says was motivated by a sense of responsibility—and searches for a bright spot beyond the gloom. “Nobody wants to have to fight alone, in the distance I see a light,” he sings over soaring guitars and staccato synths.
Another track, “Lie to Me,” finds the musician frustrated by the phoniness that sometimes comes with online dating. “Love’s a game, and I’ve been doing a lot of losing lately,” he sings in the second verse, before launching into a shout-worthy refrain over crashing drums and crunchy guitars.
Despite it all, Nemeyer says the title of the album alludes to a hopefulness he feels about the future, even after going through tough times. “The album, for me at least, it’s kind of therapeutic to sing through everything, and be like, ‘Okay, I got it off my chest,'” he says. “‘Now let’s move on.'”
Color Palette will play a dual release show with Maryjo Mattea at Pie Shop at 8 PM on November 8 at 1339 H St., NE. Flowerbomb will open. $10.