REVIEW: Spring Green band Violet Palms announces release show for debut album ‘Compassion Fatigue’

Alex Prochaska, Editorial Intern

Spring Green band Violet Palms performs at Slowpoke Lounge. Pictured, from left, guitarist Ben Feiner and lead singer Marcus Truschinski. Photo by Rob Steffen.

Spring Green-based alt-rock band Violet Palms will be launching their new album Compassion Fatigue during a special performance starting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 at the Slowpoke Lounge & Cabaret (137 W Jefferson St, Spring Green). The event will be opened by music from Alys and the Ark. Slowpoke suggests that attendees donate $5-10 to help support live music from homegrown artists.

Marcus Truschinski, lead singer of Violet Palms, told us that the band emerged from him and guitarist Ben Feiner writing songs at his kitchen table late into the night working on their other band, Big Wing — which has a large format consisting of nearly two dozen members and is currently on hiatus while focusing on Violet Palms. Later Truschinski and Feiner were joined by music engineer Michael Mertens on drums, Tim Gittings—who, along with Truschinski, is an actor at American Players Theater—on bass, and Craig Benzine—who is lead singer and guitarist of Driftless Pony Club, as well as the popular YouTuber “WheezyWaiter”—on guitar. Every member of Violet Palms is from Spring Green, with the exception of Benzine, who lives in Madison.

Spring Green band Violet Palms at Slowpoke Lounge. Pictured, from left, is Craig Benzine, Ben Feiner, Marcus Truschinski, Michael Mertens and Tim Gittings. Photo by Rob Steffen.

Violet Palms debuted their first single “Anything Can Happen” on August 25, following that up with another single “All This Joy Has Made You Dull” on September 1. 

Violet Palms is heavily influenced by late-90s and early-2000s rock bands like The Strokes and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while still retaining a modern edge. 

“While we were working on Big Wing stuff, Ben approached me with a song that didn’t quite fit that style called ‘Inevitable’ that was very Strokes-like. We both really looove that band. They really are the heaviest influence on Violet Palms,” said Truschinski. “Ben really loves John Frusciante of the Chili Peppers, too, so that really features into our songs, harmony and melody-wise.”

Looking for a place to put that style, Violet Palms was born. 

Violet Palms played their first live show in early 2022 when business owner Michael Broh asked them to help fundraise for Slowpoke’s impressionistic, jazzy mural Spring Green residents have come to know and love. After selling out their first show and making a lot more tip money than expected, it became obvious what the band had to do next: record an album. It’s very fitting that the album, Compassion Fatigue, is being unveiled right where they debuted as a group, at Slowpoke.

Truschinski told us that: “Compassion Fatigue emerged fully formed and ready to climb inside your head and take a seat in your favorite easy chair.” Intrigued by his colorful pitch, we decided to listen and review Compassion Fatigue for the public—with our favorite easy chairs in sight and our heads ready to be entered.

Spring Green band Violet Palms performs at Slowpoke Lounge. Pictured, from left, is bassist Time Gittings, guitarist Craig Benzine and drummer Michael Mertens. Photo by Rob Steffen.


I didn’t know what to expect from Compassion Fatigue. But after absorbing it, and sitting with it for a while, I’ve discovered that the album contains many choice gems which are worth returning to for a re-listen.

Violet Palms have a snappy and invigorating sound which had me nodding to the beat and humming their infectious melodies. There are no tricks here, just catchy instrumentation and adroit lyrics.

The album delves into nostalgia without dwelling in adolescence, which I appreciated. I like to view albums holistically, and to decipher the story that they tell. The singer’s character frequently spoke with the jaded humor of somebody world-weary. They’ve made peace with the uncertainty of life and don’t get their hopes up. But as the album progresses, there are more and more glimpses of sentimentality and, dare I say it, tenderness. This wavering between hard and soft, between tough and vulnerable, is exemplified by the track “Sentimental Fool,” which goes: “You sentimental fool / I’m in love with you / Same old lie that it’s ever been / Same old lie that we’ve ever held on to.”

Some of my favorites from the album include “Burnt Photo,” with echoing, hauntingly angelic vocals. “In It Now,” a gut-punch of a song about growing up. And “RELAXER,” the last and most directly heartfelt song of Compassion Fatigue. Go check it out! Please!

—Alex Prochaska, Editorial Intern

Upon listening to “Anything Can Happen” I was hit with two thoughts, first: I’ll be putting Violet Palms in my regular rotation (which consists mostly of Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Green Day, The Wrecks, Bon Iver and a smattering of Them Coulee Boys), and second: this single sounds exactly like … [blank]. I had it and I lost it. So I moved on to listening to the rest of the album, figuring it would come back to me. 

After listening to “Anything Can Happen” and “All This Joy Has Made You Dull” my other editor Nicole had it. She very convincingly argued those two singles sounded like a mix of The Strokes (à la “Last Nite”) and Lord Huron (à la “The Night We Met” and “Meet Me in the Woods”). But she was likely influenced by the band stating their influences. Although, as the only fan of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the newsroom, she said she didn’t see much familiarity there in the lead singles (one could argue album opener “Chill” definitely has a Pepper-y feel). As someone who thinks the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have been overplayed, I was thankful I saw more Strokes than Peppers. But that’s personal preference.

Violet Palms is familiar in the way all aughts-style anthems are, but with a new sound that I’d attribute to their jaunty, funky twist on punk-alternative and Truschinski’s deep voice. As for who the Violet Palms exactly reminded me of? It never came back to me, I suppose I’ll take the band’s motto to heart: “don’t think about it too much”. 

—Taylor Scott, Managing Editor

Compassion Fatigue is available to purchase and stream in full at and streaming everywhere on September 12.


What: Violet Palms album release
When: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Sept. 11
Where: Slowpoke Lounge and Cabaret, 137 W Jefferson Street, Spring Green

What: Violet Palms at Smoke in the Valley
When: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sept. 9
Where: Smoke in the Valley, Prem Meats, E5028 US 14, Spring Green