Aidin Vaziri | Charlie Hilton makes time travel seem possible. On her solo debut, “Palana,” the former singer for the Portland, Ore., band Blouse, masterfully channels the hazy, analog feel of the late ’60s psychedelic-rock era — from the eye-bending cover art down to her aloof vocals, which evoke Nico and Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick. The album was produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait and features collaborations with Mac DeMarco and Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere. Hilton, who performs at the opening show of the Noise Pop Festival on Thursday, Feb. 18, talked to us about going it alone and how she found her sound.
Q: Did going solo give you the opportunity to open up more?
A: You know, it felt pretty similar to being in the band. I just love making records, and the process is very similar. In the back of my mind, I expected it to be more personal, being a solo record. I wanted to be a little more vulnerable.
Q: The songs definitely have a melancholy tone. Is that a reflection of how you are as a person in your day-to-day life?
A: It is. I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem. I don’t want to be any other way. I do have an inner conflict going on most days. I think that’s just natural — being alive and knowing you’re going to die one day. It seems normal to me. I get really thoughtful about what is going on and it can be confusing.
Q: Maybe that’s why I can relate to the record so much.
A: I would guess most people are like that.