Hit the nail on the Head Automatica

Andrew Gaug

Head Automatica, formed by Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo, performs at the Grog Shop on April Fools’ Day. COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. RECORDS

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

In 2004, the dance-rock sounds of bands such as The Killers and Franz Ferdinand mixed with the electronic sounds of bands such as Gorillaz and The Postal Service. The result was Head Automatica.

Originally a side project for the hardcore/screamo band Glassjaw’s lead singer Daryl Palumbo, it has now become something he said he “lives and breathes everyday.”

The band’s debut album, Decadence, was a collaborative effort between Palumbo and Handsome Boy Modeling School/Gorillaz beat-maker Dan The Automator Nakamura. It set aside Palumbo’s hard-core roots and embraced a dancier, electronic-tinged side of Palumbo’s musical prowess that was never heard before.

Since Decadence‘s release, Head Automatica secured a solid lineup for the band, toured endlessly and recorded their second album, Popoganda. Palumbo said he wanted to avoid repeating himself by releasing another album full of Dan The Automator’s beats, so the band decided to hire producer Howard Benson, who produced the band’s biggest hit “Beating Heart Baby.”

“Dan (The Automator) didn’t really produce, he just created beats that I sang over,” Palumbo said, “(Benson) has a real knack for good arrangements – he knows what sounds right.”

“I couldn’t be more happy (with the album), I’m ecstatic,” Palumbo said. “It makes Decadence pale in comparison.”

Although Palumbo gained a following with a more hard-core audience when he was in Glassjaw, he doesn’t fear any backlash from them with the release of an album that proudly displays its pop-music leanings in the title. “Why now?” Palumbo said, “Why wait for our second album to hate us?”

Head Automatica will make their way to Cleveland at the Grog Shop April 1 with bands Diamonds Nights, Big City Rock and Camu. Although the group has been touring for more than two years, this will be one of its first stops in Cleveland after canceling twice because of Palumbo’s bouts with Crohn’s disease, inflammation of the digestive tract.

Regarding his current condition, Palumbo said, “I’m feeling good, I’m eating right and sleeping pretty good.”

For fans going to see their show in Cleveland, Palumbo said to be prepared to expect “a great rock show.”

“We really try to put forth a lot of energy,” he said. “People are paying money to see us put on a great show, so we are a rock band that takes itself seriously.”

Head Automatica

Where? The Grog Shop

When? April 1 at 9 p.m.

How much? $8 Advance, $10 day-of-show

After their current tour ends, expect to see them open up for prog-punk bands Coheed and Cambria and Avenged Sevenfold in early summer followed by another headlining trek with the band Men, Women and Children. Palumbo said that a mid-to-late summer tour with Taking Back Sunday and former Blink-182 guitarist Tom Delonge’s new band Angels and Airwaves is in the works, as well.

Palumbo calmed Glassjaw fans who feared the worst for the band after canceling tour dates in 2005. He said the band is still together and they plan to record a new album some time in the next year.

And if that’s not enough, he’s also involved in another project with Sean Martin of Hatebreed and hip-hop artists El-P and Cage Kennels.

As for now, Palumbo anticipates the release of the new album on June 6 – 6/6/06, for those who don’t get the joke. He also is just enjoying sharing his music with everyone.

“Being on the road, I think that’s when I’m at my absolute happiest,” Palumbo said.

Contact ALL correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].