Posts Tagged ‘Greta Kline’

Frankie Cosmos - Close It Quietly

“Close It Quietly” is a continual reframing of the known. It’s like giving yourself a haircut or rearranging your room. You know your hair. You know your room. Here’s the same hair, the same room, seen again as something new. Close It Quietly takes the trademark Frankie Cosmos micro-universe and upends it, spilling outwards into a swirl of referentiality that’s a marked departure from earlier releases, imagining and reimagining motifs and sounds throughout the album. Frankie Cosmos fourth studio release is a manifestation of the band’s collaborative spirit: Greta Kline and longtime bandmates Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass) luxuriated in studio time with Gabe Wax, who engineered and co-produced the record with the band.

Recording close to home— at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studios— grounded the band, and their process was enriched by working closely with Wax, whose intuition and attention to detail made the familiar unfamiliar and allowed the band to reshape their own contexts. On opener “Moonsea,” an unaccompanied Greta begins, “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.” Take that as a wink and a metonym for the whole album, as her signature vocals are joined by Alex’s ascending bassline and Lauren’s eddying synths, invoking a loungey take on Broadcast or Stereolab’s space-disco experimental pop. There’s much more than “not much” to say here, and it’s augmented and expanded by experimentation with synth patches, textures, and other recording nuances courtesy of Wax.

As the lineup has solidified into the most permanent expression of full-band Frankie Cosmos, the bandmates have felt more comfortable deviating from their default instruments and contributing bigger-picture ideas to continue pushing the sound forward. The synergy of its creation is clear upon listening: the multiple hands dipping and re-dipping into each song form a multifaceted whole. The band’s closeness and aesthetic consistency freed its members to take more musically-formal risks, notes Luke: “Everything will sound like Frankie Cosmos because Greta has such a distinct voice (literally and figuratively). We have so much latitude to experiment with the instrumental music, and this time around we really took advantage of that.”

The album forms its own vortex of reinvention that’s embodied through both the tracks themselves and the recording and arranging processes. “A Joke” curls in on itself, in word and in deed, a series of undercuts defining negative space: “It’s just a joke I wasn’t trying to tell;” “It wasn’t really a game;” “I do not know what I am for/I wasn’t really keeping score.” Inverting technology’s human mimicry, Luke impersonates a drum machine until the song’s end. “A Joke’s” tricks scratch at something bigger, a small song embodying the laughability of attempting to neatly organize or adhere to any particular role.

“Rings of a Tree” frees itself from its original context: released earlier this year on Greta’s solo piano album Haunted Items, she didn’t initially anticipate a major deviation; then, Luke says, “Lauren and I had the same arrangement idea without talking about it. Like, ‘let’s make this song funky. Let’s channel Orange Juice.’ We texted Greta and Alex before practice and Alex came in with a new guitar part that perfectly captured what Lauren and I heard in our heads.”

“I’m just fucking glad for my bubble/despite how often it is penetrated by evil” Greta sings on “Last Season’s Textures,” taking to task the accusation that young people cloister themselves in complacency: she’s quick to point to, thank, and feel suspicious of that sphere all at once. The song explores the feeling of safety in her realm; reasonable despair re: reality (“the news is excruciating”); and a quick admission that darkness isn’t something a liberal-minded social network can block out. Kline notes how the song is “partly about misogyny and internalized misogyny–moments where I’ve felt betrayed by what is meant to be a safe space.”

Without losing any intimacy of prior albums, Close it Quietly is different, is outer. The album functions as a benign doppelganger, a shadow self of past releases; where other Frankie Cosmos records shine brightest looking inward, Close it Quietly refracts the self into the world, and vice versa, miraculously echoing Thoreau’s assertion that “when I reflect, I find that there is other than me.”

Reflection–and refraction–isn’t tidy. “Flowers don’t grow/in an organized way/why should I?” Greta sings on “A Joke.” Growth isn’t linear. Change happens in circles. While recording the album, Alex says, “I closed my eyes a lot.” Stand in the sun, listen to Close it Quietly, and do the same.

Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

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Close It Quietly takes the trademark Frankie Cosmos micro-universe and upends it, spilling outwards into a swirl of referentiality that’s a marked departure from earlier releases, imagining and reimagining motifs and sounds throughout the album. The band’s fourth studio release is a manifestation of their collaborative spirit: Greta Kline and longtime bandmates Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass) luxuriated in studio time with Gabe Wax, who engineered and co-produced the record with the band. Recording close to home— at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studios— grounded the band, and their process was enriched by working closely with Wax, whose intuition and attention to detail made the familiar unfamiliar and allowed the band to reshape their own contexts.

“41st” from Frankie Cosmos’ Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

On opener Moonsea, an unaccompanied Greta begins, “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.” Take that as a wink and a metonym for the whole album, as her signature vocals are joined by Alex’s ascending bassline and Lauren’s eddying synths, invoking a loungey take on Broadcast or Stereolab’s space-disco experimental pop. There’s much more than “not much” to say here, and it’s augmented and expanded by experimentation with synth patches, textures, and other recording nuances courtesy of Wax. As the lineup has solidified into the most permanent expression of full-band Frankie Cosmos, the bandmates have felt more comfortable deviating from their default instruments and contributing bigger-picture ideas to continue pushing the sound forward.

The band’s closeness and aesthetic consistency freed its members to take more risks, notes Luke: “Everything will sound like Frankie Cosmos because Greta has such a distinct voice (literally and figuratively). We have so much latitude to experiment with the instrumental music, and this time around we really took advantage of that.” Without losing any intimacy of prior albums, Close it Quietly is different, is outer. The album functions as a benign doppelganger, a shadow self of past releases; where other Frankie Cosmos records shine brightest looking inward, Close it Quietly refracts the self into the world, and vice versa, miraculously echoing Thoreau’s assertion that “when I reflect, I find that there is other than me.

Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

Frankie Cosmos, photo by <a href="http://www.jackielyoung.com/">Jackie Lee Young</a>

Frankie Cosmos have announced a new record called “Close It Quietly” due out September 6 via Sub Pop Records. The lead single “Windows” arrives with a music video directed by Eliza Doyle and Frankie Cosmos frontperson Greta Kline. The visual captures a day in New York. Watch below.

“This song takes place during the waiting period of healing, not knowing how to proceed or how to find the path to forgiveness,” Greta Kline said of “Windows” in a statement. “The inner versus the outer—learning to see yourself as part of the whole. For me the lyrics cover some of the slow movements of relationships, the shifts that occur in ways of thinking over time.”

Frankie CosmosGreta Kline, Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass)—recorded Close It Quietly in Brooklyn with engineer/co-producer Gabe Wax. It’s the band’s follow-up to 2018’s Vessel.

Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

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Happy Easter! Welcome to this week’s essential new Easter releases, As befitting a major public holiday weekend, there are lots and lots of great albums released tomorrow. You can choose from Cabbage, The Vaccines, Ben Harper, Haley Heynderickx, Trembling Bells, Frankie Cosmos new favourites Sons Of Kemet and much more besides. Plenty of reissues too out tomorrow , A really nice collection and very limited of The Damned singles box set, this will be gone soon so if you are looking for a copy, grab one now – other re-releases include the albums, Spacemen 3 and some a fab Supremes set on CD only.

Some very nice pre-orders available now including the two biggies which are both are actually reissues, though it’s doubtful that many of you have one of these in your collection. The Pink Floyd ‘Pulse’ 4LP set is getting a re-release on the 18th May and a reissue of The Floyd’s ‘Relics’. Also on the reissues tip is the very wonderful looking  Supremes box set; ‘Supreme Rarities’ is coming out as a 4LP set from of all places Third Man Records. Already selling well is the forthcoming re-release of ‘Version 2.0’ from Garbage, with an orange 2LP version or a deluxe box set.

Have a great Easter weekend (don’t eat too many of those Chocolate Eggs!)

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Cabbage  –  Nihilistic Glamour Shots

Cabbage have finally released their highly anticipated debut album (not counting the Record Store Day release), following on from a trio of EP’s, released under the delightfully tactful ‘‘Young, Dumb & Full Of…

We start off with the thrashing garage rock of ‘Preach To The Converted’ with twanging distorted guitar and the sort of snarling vocals you could imagine being venemously spat from the edge of the stage before launching into the fuzzy off-kilter rock of Arms of Pleonexia, reminiscent of a younger Ty Segall swagging around the stage before a baying croud after one too many bottles of corner-shop white lightning. Things continue at this frenetic pace with ‘Molotov Alcopop’ providing a bit of nuanced rhythm before the gothic rock of ‘Disinfect Us’ suggests a more mature suite of influences, from the militant march and languid blues overtones of early White Stripes.

Further on, we get syncopated guitars over a meandering drum machine on the brilliantly swaying ‘Pendurabo’ and jangling hazy indie, topped with a curiously (but effectively) distorted vocal affectation over the top.

Brilliantly varied, but held together with a persistent narrative thread, ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ lives up to the hype of the earlier 3 EP’s, with a willingness to experiment but a knowing nod to all of their numerous influences.

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Frankie Cosmos  –  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 lace it comfortably in Kline’s ongoing musical auto-biography.

Vessel was recorded in Binghamton, New York with Hunter Davidsohn, the producer and engineer who helped craft Zentropy and Next Thing, and at Gravesend Recordings in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader. It features contributions from Alex Bailey (formerly of Warehouse, and now part of the live configuration of Frankie Cosmos), Vishal Narang (of Airhead DC), and singer/songwriter Anna McClellan, all of whom have played on bills with Frankie Cosmos and collaborated on-stage with the band.

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Haley Heynderickx –  I Need to Start a Garden

Haley Heynderickx’s highly anticipated debut album. Haley has a wonderful voice and the lyrics are poetic and heartfelt. Musically it’s sometimes reminiscent of early Velvet Underground in that many of the songs quickly build into frenetic and emotive climaxes. The difference here is that these crescendos dissolve into tender moments of unabashed vulnerability, rather than fragmenting into splinters of drug-fueled confusion. It’s beautiful and heartfelt. For fans of Velvet Underground, Angel Olsen and Cat Power.

Amen dunes freedom

Amen Dunes  –  Freedom

Over the course of 10 years, Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes has transformed continuously, and Freedom is the project’s boldest leap yet. The themes are darker than on previous Amen Dunes albums, but it’s a darkness sublimated through grooves. The music, as a response or even a solution to the darkness, is tough and joyous, rhythmic and danceable. It’s a sound never heard before on an Amen Dunes record, but one that was always asking to emerge. Eleven songs span a range of emotions, from contraction to release and back again. Blue Rose and Calling Paul the Suffering are pure, ecstatic dance songs. Skipping School and Miki Dora are incantations of a mythical heroic maleness and its illusions. Freedom and Believe offer a street tough’s future-gospel exhalation, and the funk-grime grit of L.A. closes the album, projecting a musical hint of things to come.

In creating Freedom, McMahon brought in a powerful set of collaborators and old friends. Along with core band members, including Parker Kindred (Antony & The Johnsons, Jeff Buckley) on drums, came Chris Coady (Beach House) as producer, and Delicate Steve on guitars. This is the first Amen Dunes record that looks back to the electronic influences of McMahon’s youth with the aid of revered underground musician Panoram from Rome, who finds his place as a significant, if subtle, contributor to the record. The bulk of the songs were recorded at Electric Lady in New York, and finished at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, where McMahon, Nick Zinner, and session bass player Gus Seyffert (Beck, Bedouine) fleshed out the recordings.

Yet, if anything, these eleven songs are a relinquishing of all of them through exposition; a gradual reorientation of being away from the acquired definitions of self we all cling to and towards something closer to what’s stated in the Agnes Martin quote that opens the record, “I don’t have any ideas myself; I have a vacant mind” and in the swirling, pitched down utterances of “That’s all not me” that close it.

“Miki Dora was arguably the most gifted and innovative surfer of his generation and the foremost opponent of surfing’s commercialization. He was also a lifelong criminal and retrograde: a true embodiment of the distorted male psyche. He was a living contradiction; both a symbol of free-living and inspiration, and of the false heroics American culture has always celebrated. With lyrics of regret and redemption at the end of one’s youth, the song is about Dora, and McMahon, but ultimately it is a reflection on all manifestations of mythical heroic maleness and its illusions.”

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Camp Cope  –  How To Socialise and Make Friends

Camp Cope’s new album How To Socialise and Make Friends is the current Australian buzz band. The follow up to their 2016 self-titled debut kicks off with the instantly remarkable bass line of The Opener, an explosive diatribe against the sexist double standards of the music industry at large. What follows the lead single are a collection of songs that anchor on the cycles of life, loss and growth through resilience and those moments of finding and being yourself. Throughout the nine songs on How To Socialise and Make Friends it becomes clear that if their debut was the flame, this is Camp Cope rising from the ashes, stronger and more focused than ever. For fans of Courtney Barnett, Bettie Serveert and Liz Phair.

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Dead Meadow  –  The Nothing They Need

Since their widely-acclaimed self-titled debut album released in 1999 Dead Meadow have released seven studio albums – three via Matador records (Shivering King and Others (2003), Feathers (2005), and Old Growth (2008)) and two live albums which includes Three Kings, a feature length live film and soundtrack. Their unique marriage of Sabbath riffs, dreamy layers of guitar-fuzz bliss with singer Jason Simon’s melodic croon has won over psychedelic pop/rock and stoner rock fans alike and with their new album The Nothing They Need (Xemu Records) the band show that in 2018, they continue to fuse their love of early-’70s hard rock and ’60s psychedelia into their own distinct sound.

The album was recorded in Dead Meadows’ studio/rehearsal space, The Wiggle Room and it celebrates twenty years of the band with eight songs that feature everyone that has been musically involved with the band over the years. Jason and Steve Kille are joined by original drummer Mark Laughlin, Stephen McCarty ( the drummer throughout the Matador years), and current drummer Juan Londono. Cory Shane joins them on guitar for some Feathers era dual guitar interplay.

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No Joy / Sonic Boom  –

No Joy / Sonic Boom is Jasamine White-Gluz and Pete Kember. You know Jasamine from her eight-years (and counting) stint as a founding member and principal songwriter of Canadian shoegaze / noise-pop band No Joy. And Pete Kember is Sonic Boom, of Spacemen 3, Spectrum, and E.A.R. While neither can accurately recollect how they met, the pair first touched on the idea of working together in an exchange of emails during the fall of 2015. No Joy had just finished touring on the back of LP More Faithful (their third full-length on the Mexican Summer imprint, and their heaviest to date), and Jasamine was eager to walk a new path. “No Joy functioned as a four-piece ‘rock band’ for so long,” she says. “I wanted to pursue something solo where I collaborated with someone else who could help me approach my songs from a completely different angle. Pete is a legend and someone I’ve admired for a long time. Being able to work with him on this was incredible.”

What started as a sonic exploration between two friends—passing songs back and forth intercontinentally, with Jasamine writing and producing songs in Montreal and Pete writing, arranging, and producing in Portugal—soon grew into a project of substance, the result being four glistening tracks that dance along the lines of electronica, trip-hop and experimental noise. “I wrote some songs that were intended for a full band and handed them off to Pete, who helped transform them. I barely knew how to use MIDI so I was just throwing him these experiments I was working on and he fine-tuned my ideas. There are barely any guitars on this album, because I was focused on trying to find new ways to create sounds.” The No Joy / Sonic Boom EP begins with the 11+ minute epic “Obsession,” a disco-y dream trance jam that ebbs and flows, before “Slorb” slinks in, casting its seductive spell. “Triangle Probably” rings triumphant, an industrial beat thumping below, the track interwoven with Jasamine’s silvery vocals. “Teenage Panic” begins in celebration, brimming with hope and excitement, and then—a full stop—before striking back in the form of a droning loop that gathers more and more layers as it spins out into the infinite void.

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Holy Wave  –   Adult Fear

El Paso’s Holy Wave will release their new album, Adult Fear via The Reverberation Appreciation Society. The band have always differentiated themselves from the psych pack with their keyboard-forward sound that rarely falls into standard trippy tropes, and the album’s title track is a good example of that, with a grooving bassline and nice harmonies in the chorus.

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The Damned  –  Stiff Singles 1976 – 1977

BMG proudly present this limited edition set comprising of 5 x 7″ vinyl singles including the famed first ever punk single New Rose and all the other early hits from the impressively chaotic punk quartet. All singles have been recreated with their original artwork, including the ultra-rare, previously fan club only Stretcher Case Baby. These are all packed in a superb box, collaged with original press cuttings from back in the day. Also included is a Damned embroidered patch, exclusive to this boxset. It was the summer of 1976 when Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies and Captain Sensible recruited guitarist and songwriter Brian James, they played their first gig supporting the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club and quickly signed to Stiff Records and began writing the very first chapter of the punk rock history books. Their debut 7” – New Rose – was written by Brian James and backed by a proto-thrash version of The Beatles’ Help. It was recorded by Stiff’s in-house producer, Nick Lowe and set the punk dream alight at exactly 9.00am when record shops opened for business on 22 October 1976, stealing a march on the Pistols by becoming what is widely acknowledged as the very first punk record ever released.The band really came into their own with their second single – Neat Neat Neat – which had two cuts on the B-side, Stab Yor Back and Singalongascabies. Produced, like New Rose, by Nick Lowe, the vinyl had a message from one band member scratched in the run-out groove: “this is your captain speaking…” So what were Captain Sensible’s favourite acts on Stiff, one journalist asked him in 2007? “I wasn’t interested!” he insists. “It was mainly pub rock in the early days, which we despised and sneered at in our young and snotty way…” After a special 7” – Stretcher Case Baby – cut to give away at gigs celebrating the band’s first anniversary, they went back into the studio, this time with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason at the controls. Third single Problem Child was written by Brian James with Rat Scabies and featured new recruit Lu Edmonds on guitar. An incendiary two minutes of the band in their prime, it failed to crack the UK top 40 but did make number 27 in NME’s alternative singles chart. By the end of 1977, the Damned were ready to part with Stiff, just as Brian James and Lu Edmonds were ready to part with The Damned. Their last single was Don’t Cry Wolf, backed with another Nick Mason-produced track, One Way Love.

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Spacemen 3 –  Playing With Fire

Every once in a while a record comes along that somehow manages to define an era. in the late 80’s there can be no doubt that one such record was released – and that record was Playing With Fire by Spacemen 3. Fuelled by narcotic indulgence and an overwhelming sense of darkness it was rightly hailed as a classic at the time and is still considered to be one of the greatest albums of the time by many today. Its mesmerising beauty and sublime originality are still recognised as a genuine triumph to this day.

2CD – Double CD with live versions of Suicide and Repeater and recordings of Che and May the Circle be Unbroken. Not only that but they’ve also included a second CD full of studio out-takes and demos, including the Spacemen 3 version of Any Way That You Want Me – the song which went on to become Spiritualized’s debut single.

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Jade Bird  –   Something American EP

Jade Bird’s debut EP Something American – originally released in 2017 gets a limited physical release. Across the 5 tracks, her voice has arrived like a total breath of fresh air in the current musical landscape – putting her own positive, refreshing spin on a richly complex personal and musical heritage. Within the EP, Jade manages to twist huge themes including disillusionment, divorce, cheating and sorrow into the realities of an independent-minded modern British teenager. Produced by Simone Felice (The Lumineers, Bat For Lashes etc), the EP was recorded at Clubhouse Studio in Rhinebeck, NY and features Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, St Vincent) on drums, Will Rees (Mystery Jets) on guitar and Sara Lee (B-52’s) on bass.

This Week’s Full Releases list

Alfa 9 – ‘My Sweet Movida’ limited clear vinyl LP
Anthroprophh – ‘Omegaville’ swirl vinyl LP

Barbarossa – ‘Lier’ limited turquoise vinyl LP
The Bug Vs Burial – ‘Flame 1’ 12″
Cabbage – ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ LP
The Cars – ‘Heartbeat City’ limited coloured vinyl 2LP reissue
The Cars – ‘Shake It Off’ limited coloured vinyl 2LP

Chris Carter – ‘Chemistry Lessons Volume 1’ coloured vinyl 2LP
The Cavemen – ‘Nuke Earth’ LP
The Cavemen – The Cavemen’ red vinyl LP reissue

Frankie Cosmos – ‘Vessel’ limited blue vinyl LP
Graham Coxon – ‘The End Of The F***ing World: Original Soundtrack’ 2LP

Czarface & MF Doom – ‘Czarface Meets Metal Face’ LP
The Damned – ‘Stiff Singles 1976-1977’ limited 5×7″ singles box set
Dead Meadow – ‘The Nothing They Need’ LP
FACS – ‘Negative Houses’ LP
Fever Ray – ‘Plunge’ deluxe 2LP
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite – ‘No Mercy In This Land’ LP
Micah P. Hinson – ‘At The BBC Broadcasting Corporation’ LP
Hollywood Sinners – ‘Khome Kakka’ LP
Interrobang – ‘Interrobang’ limited orange vinyl LP
Major Murphy – ‘No.1’ LP
OST – ‘Mr Robot: Volume 4’ limited coloured vinyl 2LP
Max Richter – ‘Hostiles: Original Soundtrack’ 2LP
Sonny Rollins – ‘Saxophone Colossus’ LP reissue

Steve Reich – ‘Pulse/Quartet’ LP
Shit & Shine – ‘That’s Enough’ 12″ EP
Sons Of Kemet – ‘Your Queen Is A Reptile’ 2LP
Spacemen 3 – ‘Playing With Fire’ black vinyl LP reissue
The Streets – ‘Original Pirate Material’ 2LP reissue
The Streets – ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ 2LP reissue

The Third Eye Foundation – ‘Wake The Dead’ LP
Trembling Bells – ‘Dungeness’ LP
The Vaccines – ‘Combat Sports’ limited orange vinyl LP

Frankie Cosmos‘ new album, Vessel, is available for release on the 30th March from  Sub Pop Records. While listening to the album you can also read along to this new feature on Pitchfork where Greta gives a short breakdown of every song on the album. The 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 the indie scene.
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 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.

1. “Caramelize”

Pitchfork: You talk a lot about light and grace and goodness on this song. It’s like the Gospel of Greta.

Greta Kline: I’m not trying to go for a spiritual vibe on this one, but I’ve always really liked religious language, and I read the Bible as literature in school. It’s so huge, but also specific. Spiritual words are used over and over again, so they become bigger than a single word, and this song has a little bit of that. The “you” changes throughout, and it’s about so many different kinds of relationships, and parts of my life, and how they’re patched together.

I actually have a lot of fans that are really religious. There were these students in a priest school who messaged me on Facebook five years ago telling me they loved my music. It’s weird, because I feel that some of my songs are almost too irreverent for that, but it’s cool that anyone can hear their own thing in them.

2. “Apathy”

One line in this song really stands out to me: “I just want to feel like I’m neatly designed/Like a telephone pole.” What inspired your writing here?

I wrote that lyric when I was on tour feeling crazy and wishing that I had a clear purpose that I was designed for; I was in a car driving past a bunch of telephone poles, which are perfectly built. When I hear that line, I think “Oh yeah, duh.” It’s not super poetic. I love poetry, but I’m more inspired by the small moments throughout my life that have meaning. I went through a weird archiving phase when I was younger, where I wanted to capture it all. I was so fixated on archiving my friendships, and my thoughts, my everything. That was kind of how Frankie Cosmos started.

3. “As Often as I Can”

You address your listeners here, telling them, “I love you.”

I love interacting with the audience onstage and telling them, “I love you.” That’s part of why I put that in, because it’s so fun to get to say that out loud to different people every night.

4. “This Stuff”

There’s a lyric from this song that I found funny and kind of sad: “I’m living in a condo/It replaced your favorite movie theater though.”

I feel like a cheater, because someone else told me that story. But the poetic part is me choosing to put it in the song, right? I remember walking around with a friend, and they talked about how their favorite movie theater was being turned into a condo. That’s not funny, but it would make a funny line: That living there would destroy the thing that someone you love also loves.

5. “Jesse”

Why did you guys decide this should be the first single from Vessel? It sounds bigger than most Frankie Cosmos songs.

It’s one of my favorite songs on the record. It also has five instruments, the usual four plus an extra guitar, which is exciting and new. Having someone who was not in the band write a second guitar part for a song was scary, and it took me accepting that the song wasn’t going to sound the same live. Our records are almost like recorded versions of our live set, and I don’t like having a bunch of parts on the record that we can’t achieve live. So coming to terms with the live set being different from the album arrangement was a big part of letting the sound get a little bigger.

“Duet”

You originally released this song in 2014, and you revived some old songs on your last album as well. How do you decide which ones to revisit?

We do it because certain old songs get requested at shows, and we feel like we have to make band versions later. But the more I revisit those old songs, the more they take on different meanings. It’s like reading your old diary, and thinking “wow” at how specific it was. There’s this whole emotional experience to re-learning my old songs, and there are a lot of realizations about my life back then that I can only make now.

7. “Accommodate”

In this song you introduce the idea of how the body can fail you when you need it.

A lot of this album is about this feeling of disconnect between myself and my body, but on “Accommodate,” I’m describing the experience of being a woman; what being born into this body means for the rest of my experience in the world. I really think that my body was not meant to exist in this atmosphere. I’m allergic to everything and I’m weak! Is your body a part of who you are or does it contain all of who you are? Does it stop you from fully being yourself? I don’t know.

8. “I’m Fried”

The lyric “I just wanna know that I would walk away from wrong” stands out to me. What does that mean to you?

For a long time, I wasn’t giving enough love to myself, and it made me so tired. I was like, “I need to figure out how to take care of myself.” “I’m Fried” is all about that, so the line is about wanting to know that I’m gonna be looking out for myself. Not that I’m gonna walk away from being a bad person, but knowing that I’m not going to get myself into situations that are harmful.

9. “Hereby”

This is the halfway point of the album, and it’s the most heartbreaking song on here. Were you aiming to structure the record to have that hurt come midway through?

We thought it’d be a good end to Side A. It’s harsh, and feels like a punctuation mark to the section. It’s also written almost entirely in words that were pulled from a contract. The lyrics are in a very legal language. It was funny to write in this cold way about this sad, personal moment. It’s like, “Here are the facts: I will not be your friend.”

10. “Ballad of R & J”

As opposed to the other songs on the album, this one is a narrative with fictional characters and a story arc.

The song is about being far away from the person you love and not being able to tell if they actually love you. The story was so sad that I refused to sing it, which is why my bandmates sing the choruses. It’s the only Frankie Cosmos song, ever, probably, where I don’t sing the whole thing. The characters in the song, Julie and Ricky, aren’t exactly based on my past relationships, but I wanted to explore who they could be and what they meant to each other. When a feeling is really big and hard to face within myself, I can use fictional narratives to deal with it, and write about it without having to actually ask myself how I’m feeling. It’s the songwriting equivalent of “asking for a friend.”

11. “Ur Up”

At the beginning of this track, you can hear someone in the background telling you the tape is rolling, and you mess up on the piano a little bit. It’s one of the most intimate moments on the album.

I liked keeping the mess-up in there because I love how sweet Hunter [Davidsohn], our recording engineer, sounds when he says, “No, keep going, it’s good.” It’s a little glimpse into the tender moments in the studio.

12. “Being Alive”

There are all these super fast tempo changes on this song.

Our drummer Luke [Pyenson] is very fancy! I can’t remember exactly what happened with arranging “Being Alive,” but my best guess would be to give Luke credit for the tempo. And since forming this band, I’ve gotten way more comfortable singing and messing around on guitar. I’ve been able to come up with really different stuff than I would have on Zentropy.

13. “Bus Bus Train Train”

Your dog, Joe Joe, seems to float throughout so much of your music. Here, he appears as a taxidermy sculpture in a museum.

He’s my best friend and the reason I never moved away from New York. I wanted to be here and spend time with him while he was still alive. Then he died my first year of college, so I was like, “Great.” That one part in this song came from a trip to RISD—I was visiting a friend, and there was this weird room where they had with all these taxidermy animals. But I also think that line is about trying to find him, and trying to find home, wherever I am in the world. For me, Joe Joe represents home.

So I don’t think that line is morbid, and I don’t even feel sad talking about him, because it really feels like he’s alive. This is going to sound really freaky, but I feel like part of his soul entered me when he died, and now I’m part dog. When I make eye contact, dogs will run, pulling their owners towards me to hang out. I feel like I’m almost one of them.

14. “My Phone”

The message of this one—about trying to keep relationships offline—is super relatable. Do you think love can rise above the need to be plugged in all the time?

Real love obviously goes infinitely deeper than technology, and you should be able to feel loved by someone, give love, and have them trust you without having to constantly be texting. I’m a really slow texter, and I’m really bad at responding to people, and none of that matters when you’re hanging out in person. But as a touring musician, I do spend a lot of time on my phone. So many of my relationships exist there, and sometimes feel like I only have friends because I’m texting them or seeing them on Instagram. It’s a weird way to exist.

15. “Cafeteria”

This is a secretly dark one: There’s all these feelings of doubt hidden right beneath this bright sound.

Lots of life is constantly putting on a brave face and not exactly giving everyone the true experience of what you’re feeling. So my songs are a fun place to sneak in those thoughts, right underneath a happy melody, or make something that sounds like a love song but is actually really sad. And “Cafeteria” is so fun to play because it’s all this bouncing around, and it has my favorite lyrics to sing live: “I had sex once, now I’m dead.” It’s insane to be on stage and see everyone get so quiet after I sing that. I always imagine that people can tell that it’s funny. But in my head, I’m almost waiting, wondering: “Are people gonna laugh at that line?”

16. “The End”

This sounds almost like an old Frankie Cosmos song, like a rough demo uploaded straight to Bandcamp.

I recorded it a day after a breakup, right into my computer mic. It’s pure emotion, and not thought through at all. I hadn’t figured out my future, or plans for later. I was sitting alone in this room that I shared with this person who doesn’t love me anymore, and I was like, “Gotta move.”

Did you try to edit or spruce up the song later?

Trust me, if I had recorded it a month later, it would have different lyrics. Because the feeling was so pure and fast. We tried to arrange it with the band, but I was like, “Let’s not waste any more time on this, the demo’s going on the album.” I had this intense feeling that it had to be the demo. It’s my first ever GarageBand song that made it onto vinyl. It was so exciting when I got the test pressing and heard this. I was freaking out.

17. “Same Thing”

Your music has been described as being like an elliptical, musical run-on sentence, and this song feels that way.

This makes me think of the bio for our press release. We were talking about what should go in it, and why we think that people should listen to this album, and I was like, “I don’t. I don’t care.” [laughs] Ultimately, there’s nothing that makes this album more special than any other of the albums. The idea is it’s another chapter, and there’s gonna be a million more. Yes, it’s special to me right now, but it’s also not as important as the 50 new songs I’ve written since. So I don’t know how to promote it, because I’m a person who’s writing a bunch of music all the time, and I’m hopefully gonna do it for many more years. This is just one episode, and I think that’s cool!

18. “Vessel”

How did this become the title for the record?

I had been thinking about the concept of vessels, and it applies to a lot of things I deal with on the album: Not feeling like a woman and not feeling like I was made to make babies; not feeling like a vessel for my art and being projected onto; not feeling like being a performer comes naturally to me. All this relates to how my body is here to support me or hinder me. The other part of it is that this song is partly about being in a band and making music with other people. A lot of this record is about making music.

thanks Pitchfork for the interview

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On Thursday Frankie Cosmos revealed another new track from their forthcoming album, Vessel, due out on March 30th via Sub Pop Records. Following the previously released “Jesse” and “Being Alive,” this new track “Apathy” is an intimate slacker-pop break-up tune with songwriter Greta Kline wearing her vulnerabilities and naiveté proudly on her sleeve. It concludes with her reveling in newfound clarity: “You could take me and my apathy / Turn us into clarity.”

Band Members: 
Greta Kline
Alex Bailey
Lauren Martin
Luke Pyenson
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.

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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