Posts Tagged ‘Frankie Cosmos’

We have a new song streaming today, called Jesse. And a new album coming out, called Vessel! New York-native songwriter Greta Kline has shared a bounty of her innermost thoughts and experiences via the massive number of songs she has released since 2011. Like many of her peers, Kline’s prolific output was initially born from the ease of bedroom recording and self-releasing offered by digital technology and the internet. But, as she’s grown as a writer and performer, devising more complex albums and playing to larger audiences, Kline has begun to make her mark on modern independent music. Her newest record, Vessel, is the 52nd release from Kline and the third studio album by her indie pop outfit Frankie Cosmos. On it, Kline explores all of the changes that have come in her life as a result of the music she has shared with the world, as well as the parts of her life that have remained irrevocable.

Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full-band album, 2014’s Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene. For Vessel the band’s lineup comprises multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Kline. The album’s 18 tracks employ a range of instrumentations and recording methods not found on the band’s prior albums, while maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting. The album’s opening track, “Caramelize,” serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love, which reemerge throughout the record. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, Kline brings a freshly nuanced point of view, and a desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. Kline’s dissonant lyrics pair with the band’s driving, jangly grooves to create striking moments of musical chemistry.

Vessel’s 34-minute run time is exactly double the length of Frankie Cosmos’ breakout record, Zentropy, and it is an enormous leap forward. Typically, albums by artists at a similar stage in their careers are written with the weight of knowing that someone is on the other end listening. Yet, despite being fully aware of their ever-growing audience, Kline and band have written Vessel with a clarity not muddled by the fear of anyone’s expectations. Vessel’s unique sensibility, esoteric narratives, and reveling energy place it comfortably in Kline’s ongoing musical auto-biography.

“Vessel” (Release Date: March 30th, 2018)

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The alter ego of Greta Kline the singer/guitarist has self-released scores of Bandcamp albums as Frankie Cosmos and a series of other names from the age of 15 onwards. Part of New York’s All Ages DIY scene, the singer recorded over thirty LPs prior to the release of her ‘official’ debut Zentropy (2014). Hailed as one of 2014s best releases, the set topped New York Magazine’s Pop Album poll. Second LP Next Thing (2016) built on its predecessor’s acclaim and became a year-end list staple in the USA and UK alike. 
Appearing live as a four-piece band, Frankie Cosmos’ melodic guitar pop will instantly find favour with fans of Wild Nothing, Veronica Falls, Real Estate and classic indie pop alike.

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Frankie Cosmos, the brainchild of 22-year-old New Yorker Greta Kline, to the growing list of Bandcamp-launched niche superstars.

Of her contemporaries, Kline is arguably the most prolific. Since the age of 15, she’s released 47 bedroom-produced projects on Bandcamp under a flurry of monikers, including Ingrid Superstar, The Ingrates, Zebu Fur, Greta, and Franklin Cosmos. Her first album as the band Frankie Cosmos arrived in 2009 as sickerwinter, a 13-track record filled with the tiny, heartfelt pop songs that Kline released at the age of 15.

And though many artists make every effort to bury their nascent work, Kline’s initial forays into writing and recording — sickerwinter included — are still available for download from her Bandcamp profile page.

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“I’ve been tempted to remove them, but it doesn’t really matter,” she says of her early albums. “It’s just an archive of my writing as a teenager, and no one has to listen to it.”

Kline gives off the impression that she writes for herself first. She uses songwriting to conduct intimate guitar-driven explorations of the often awkward minutiae of contemporary life, such as “stealing” free pens, watching David Blaine, and making out against parked cars. Her most recent album, Next Thing, might be the most professional-sounding work in her discography, but it holds true to her signature evocativeness and sparse sonic aesthetic. None of the 14 tracks surpass three minutes, and most finish by two.

“Your name is a triangle / Your heart is a square,” Kline croons on “Fool,” a gentle, swaying guitar-filled track in which the singer admits to feeling foolish for waiting around for a lover. Kline writes in poetic fragments, laying bare her insecurities, memories, and desires over unobtrusive melodies.

But one gets the sense that Kline sees the world in a very particular manner, sliding from one moment to the next with a cautious optimism. This mentality extends to taking her band on the road. She spent the better part of last year touring across America and Europe, and she describes the ordeal as if it were a sacred form of suffering.

“The worst part of being on the road is the times when I feel weak and evil, and like I am tearing my own life down,” she says. Even so, touring has had its shining moments, such as the time she was eating dinner with her bandmates in Oslo, Norway, and encountered an elderly man leading karaoke for the other diners.

“My bandmate really wanted to join them, so I danced with him,” she says. “It was humiliating and fun, and I felt it burn itself into my memory.”

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And yes, we’re aware that story sounds pulled straight from a Frankie Cosmos song, and that it might even show up in one sooner than later.

But that’s the thing about Kline: The boundaries between her music and the so-called real world are neither static nor solid. Despite her increasing popularity with critics and newfound status as a Pitchfork favorite, the deeply personal (and insecurity-laden) feelings she has toward her own songs still impact her process.

“It comes from me thinking during my writing process that no one will listen anyway,” she tells me when I ask where she finds the courage to be harrowingly vulnerable in her lyrics.

Bandcamp royalty or not, Kline still operates on the belief that listeners are an unexpected privilege, not a right. Getting her start in the East Coast DIY scene — a climate (no matter the region) where audiences are never guaranteed — is no doubt one reason why she feels this way.

And Kline, who lives in New York City, is still greatly influenced by the scene that raised that her. Many of her inspirations come from her colleagues, and she’s quick to list musicians — like Eskimeaux, Aaron Maine (who performs under the name Porches and is also Kline’s long-term boyfriend), Old Table, and The Moldy Peaches — as the sources of her creativity, along with the quintessential New York poet Frank O’Hara.

But however small and tri-state centric her life may seem from the outside, her music and plans may already be expanding beyond their original borders.

“I only find New York inspiring because it’s my home,” she says. “But as I’ve toured and experienced so many other kinds of places, I’ve also realized maybe I should try living somewhere else for a while, too.”

Expansion, however foreign a concept to someone who writes tiny heart-shaped boxes of songs, seems imminent. After all, Kline has already taken Frankie Cosmos from a bedroom recording project to a four-piece touring act playing shows all over the North America and Europe.

Dent May - Across The Multiverse

Dent May has always trafficked in big, bright retro pop songs with a disco undercurrent, but they typically have been tweaked with faint psychedelic elements reminiscent of Animal Collective, whose Paw Tracks label released his records. Our first taste of his new album finds him throwing off those psych tendencies and careening headfirst into smooth hi-fi euphoria, and it’s absolutely dazzling.

“Across The Multiverse,” from an album of the same name, is a duet with young DIY-folk luminary Frankie Cosmos. Somewhat surprisingly, they’ve teamed up for a buoyant, string-laden throwback love song with strains of ABBA and Burt Bacharach. More than anything it reminds me of Jens Lekman at his most exultant.

May has really outdone himself here; “Across The Universe” just leaps out at you. Plus, hearing Cosmos in a context so far removed from her own music is both a trip and a thrill. Her first words on the song are, “I’m falling hard into your orbit/ Babe it’s too strong to ignore it,” and the same could be said about this song.

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A note from Franke Cosmos:

Kero Kero Bonito is one of exceedingly few bands that all four of us in Frankie Cosmos love and admire with an equal fervor and, to be honest, we wanted to cover ‘Fish Bowl’ even before they asked us to be a part of this project. One of the absolute best parts of doing what we do is forming friendships with like minded artists around the world, and occasionally getting the opportunity to collaborate with them. We had a blast arranging and recording this song.”

Every week in May, the U.K. band will release a remix of its music done by other artists, starting today with Frankie Cosmos. Front person Greta Kline’s straightforward indie-pop songs are similarly short, sweet and a little bit sad, and her band’s take on the song “Fish Bowl” is more of a charming cover than a remix.

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2015 was a big year for Greta Kline, better known as Frankie Cosmos, with contributions to Porches’ acclaimed album Pool, as well as a short and sweet synth-pop EP Fit Me In. The New York singer-songwriter has now released an offbeat video for “Young,” a standout among that EP’s four introspective tracks.

The video features two women in matching blonde wigs performing the song, swaying under purple-hued stage lights. A little girl, backed up by a dancer wearing a mask of the child’s face, also intermittently appears in home video-style clips.

Kline is a relatively young musician, constantly exposed to the spotlight due to both her parents’ fame, and “Young” discusses her struggle to break away from people’s perceptions of her. “And have you heard I’m so young? And who my parents are,” Kline breezily asks over glimmering keys. Check out Frankie Cosmos recent album “Next Thing”

Frankie Cosmos by Matthew James-Wilson

Most of the time, lyric sheets to albums are utilitarian; you turn to them to make sure what you’re hearing is right. But the lyric sheet to Frankie Cosmos’ Next Thing reads like book of poems on its own. It runs seven pages long, comprising 15 stanzas (1 for each of its songs) and it totals 1570 words, all of which are slyly idiosyncratic, bordering on perfectly arranged. As I listened, I felt compelled to print them out, staple the pages together, and read along, fearful I would miss something important. As I did, I became thoroughly convinced that Greta Kline is quietly writing herself into a vaunted place, one where she will eventually deserve mention alongside poets like Lydia Davis, Wayne Koestenbaum, or Maggie Nelson—anyone who can puncture your heart in the span of a sentence.

The sound on her sophomore album is mature, fully-fleshed, but never loses the unique immediacy of her Bandcamp work. Like those albums, the music on Next Thing is mostly built on unvarnished synths and sweet, understated guitars. The difference is in the clarity of her vision: Two years ago when Lindsay Zoladz named Zentropy the year’s number one pop album in New York Magazine, she concluded that Kline penned a “melodic reminder that the wisest, wittiest person in the room is rarely the loudest one but instead that unassuming girl in the corner, grinning contentedly at her untied shoes.” In Next Thing, she’s looked up from her laces, meeting your eyes and delivering observations that are by turns strange, self-possessed, and dizzyingly multitudinous.

Frankie Cosmos — Next Thing

On these songs, those observational powers are at their height. Her greatest talent remains her ability to transform minute-long songs into experiences that resemble hours of intimate and impressionistic conversation. In the first minute of album opener “Floated In,” Kline sings: “Now it would be bedtime if/I could close off my mind/It just flops onto you/Wet and soppy glue…You know I’d love to/Rummage through your silky pink space cap.” It’s an uncanny description of two drowsy minds splattering thoughts on each other, hoping something sticks, but the words gently pass by before you’ve even internalized how weird and salient they are. Even when she paints scenes that ostensibly are filled with private meaning, something universal resonates. In “Fool” for example, when she sings “Your name is a triangle, your heart is a square,” the funky cubist formulation gets closer to the uncomfortable feeling of naming the one you love than straight description ever would.

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As a singer, she’s perfected an inimitable vocal delivery that is willfully off-center, out-of-focus, and matter-of-fact. She uses enjambment in her writing and in the long pauses of her singing so well that it reminds me of an idea from Maggie Nelson, that some people who tend bonsai trees plant them askew or aslant to leave space for God. The gaps in Sappho’s poetry have been called “a free space of imaginal adventure,” and it is an apt description for Kline’s music: In the momentary disjunctions of Kline’s singing, the hiccup between words, a whole life passes by. On “Outside with the Cuties,” she savors the nanoseconds that come between words, asking ordinary-seeming questions (“I haven’t written this part yet/will you help me write it?”) that invite radical participation from a listener. Even though the song may end after two and a half minutes, it never really ends.

Her work has a continuity to it that invites deep diving, as if she is formulating and reformulating the same few thoughts, waiting for their perfect expressions. Many of the songs (“Embody,” “On the Lips,” “Too Dark” and “Sleep Song”) on the album have appeared in acoustic permutations in past work, and they make the leap seamlessly. Each are marvelously well-wrought trains of thought, cramming existential questions into the banality of everyday moments and finding something beatific even in the plainest of things. “Embody” finds Kline singing about a day where friendship is everything holy in the world, “It’s Sunday night/and my friends are friends with my friends/it shows me they embody all the grace and lightness.” It’s a feeling that helps her move past her self-perceived inability to access this feeling herself (“someday in bravery/I’ll embody all the grace and lightness). In Catholicism, past the fog of guilt, there’s an incredible idea that light, love, and all that’s holy can be transferable from one person to the next. It usually happens in ritual, the eating of a wafer of bread and a sip of wine. In Greta Kline’s pocket universe, all you need to get closer to heaven is a night with friends.

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This is a song with a hook that gets into your head and stays there. I heard this song as a taster from the album and it has been on repeat, both in my head and in my car. “On the Lips” is off the latest Frankie Cosmos album “Next Thing” released a month ago via Bayonet Records. If you are curious, and you should be, the whole album is quite delicious. Stream it though her bandcamp then you should buy it and blast it throughout your life. Each song is as good as the last, creeping into your soul and giving you that bubbly lo-fi, loving feel. Current members of the band are Greta Kline, David Maine, Luke Pyenson and Gabrielle Smith. Little side note, Frankie Cosmos, aka Greta Kline is the talented offspring of actress Phoebe Cates and actor Kevin Kline… The group is currently on tour and they are based out of New York City.

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The beauty in Frankie Cosmos’ writing can be found in her ability to examine situations and relationships with heartbreaking sincerity. “Next Thing” explores new emotional and instrumental territory for Frankie Cosmos, Available on Bayonet Records.

Next Thing was made by:
Greta Kline
Aaron Maine
David Maine
Gabrielle Smith
& Hunter Davidsohn

Frankie Cosmos ‘Fit Me In’ 7″ EP out 11/13/2105 via Bayonet Records. If you’re a big fan of quirky leading females like Lana or FKA Twigs, Frankie Cosmos is for you. Her songs have a dreamy feel to them and fit perfectly to what music needs right now. “Young” and “Sand” showcase her tunes and her major potential as an artist. Frankie Cosmos’ upcoming EP, Fit Me In, is a one-off experiment in “fitting” Kline’s songwriting into an electronic sound, characteristic of current pop culture. The EP is a collaboration with Aaron Maine of Porches, who produced the songs using mostly electronic equipment in place of the live band instrumentation. Frankie Cosmos’ forthcoming full length album will be the first made with four band members and is slated for release from Bayonet Records in 2016.

Frankie Cosmos 'Fit Me In'

Frankie Cosmos

A highlight from the recent ‘Fit Me In’ EP, Frankie Cosmos has shared a new video for her track ‘Korean Food’.

Greta Kline goes swimming and slaps on the suncream in the new clip, ‘Fit Me In’ is a collaboration with Aaron Maine, aka Porches, who Kline also worked with on his recent track ‘Hour’.

Speaking of the clip for ‘Korean Food’, Kline says: “I filmed and edited the video a couple years ago before the song was finished. It’s my version of a pop music video – boat, pool, beach, lipstick, alcohol..but my way – camcorder, sunscreen, goggles, hummus. Kinda like how the song is sticky and emotional but sounds fun and glossy.”

Watch the video for ‘Korean Food’ below. Frankie Cosmos’ debut full-length is due later this year on Bayonet Records.

This child of two movie stars (Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates) getting heaps of love from the bloggerati for her indie-rock record. It sounds like the ultimate exercise in empty hype, but Greta Kline’s solo project—which filters twee pop through a precociously blase attitude—is worth every word of praise it’s received.