Frankie Cosmos / Lomelda / Stef Chura at The Mr. Roboto Project
Don't Let the Scene Go Down on Me! Presents...
New York native songwriter and composer Greta Kline has shared a bounty of her innermost thoughts and experiences from the past six years through the almost inconceivable number of songs she has released since 2011. Like many of her peers, Klines prolific creative output was initially born out of an era where bedroom recording and self-releasing became more possible than ever through the advent of the internet. But as shes grown as a writer and performer, playing to larger audiences and devising more complex albums, Kline has shifted from an artist whos made strides despite limitations, to an artist whose impact can be seen across modern independent music. Her newest record, Vessel, which will be out spring 2018 through Sub Pop Records, 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 for the past half-decade, 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, Zentropy, erupted in New Yorks DIY music scene in 2014. For Vessel the bands line up comprises of multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Kline, who each contributed their own musical sensibilities to help shape the sound of the new record. In between tours supporting their last album, Next Thing, Kline brought new songs to the bands rehearsals, and together the members collectively participated in turning them into full band arrangements. As a result, the albums staggering 18 tracks implement a range of instrumentations and recording methods unheard of on the albums preceding it, while still maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Klines songwriting.
The albums opening track, Caramelize, serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love which reoccur throughout the record. The song strings together a scope of musical motifs and showcases the intense dynamics in both Klines lyrics and the bands performance that continue on the tracks that follow. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, whats really changed on the new record is Klines nuanced point of view and her desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. In the albums first single Jesse, Kline grapples with the startling personal epiphanies in life that stem from dreams and subconscious realizations. On another single, Apathy, Kline confronts her own insecurities around personal change and feeling distant from the people she once had a close relationship with. Then later on the album Accommodate, deals with the complexity of being in a community that would rather turn its nose a problem than hold its members accountable. Being Alive stands out as one of the few old bandcamp-era Frankie Cosmos songs the band reworked for Vessel, and shows the rhythm section quickly shifting between fast and slow tempos as Kline ponders the minutia of existence. Klines dissonant lyrics are paired with the bands driving, jangly grooves creating several moments on the album where the bandmates chemistry playing together is brought to the forefront.
To record Vessel, Frankie Cosmos traveled back up to Binghamton, New York to work with Hunter Davidsohn, the producer and studio engineer who helped craft the sound for Zentropy and Next Thing. The band spent 3 days upstate tracking drums, bass, guitars, and vocals, favoring the spontaneity of reel-to-reel tape over the meticulous perfectionism caused by recording digitally. Then the band and Davidsohn continued recording the album for another three days in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader at their studio, Gravesend Recordings. As Frankie Cosmos started testing out new songs for Vessel on the road, the band invited members from their fellow touring bands to join them on stage to sing or play parts on tracks like Being Alive and Jesse. Once in the studio, the band decided to invite those same friends and more to contribute parts to the final recorded versions including Alex Bailey (formerly of Warehouse, who has replaced David Maine as a permanent member of the live band), Vishal Narang (of Airhead DC), and singer/songwriter Anna McClellan. After six days of recording, Davidsohn continued mixing the album back upstate and eventually sent the finished album to Josh Bonati to be mastered.
Vessels run time is exactly double the length of Frankie Cosmos breakout record, Zentropy, and serves as enormous leap forward in the bands catalog. But ultimately, the albums unique sensibility, esoteric narratives, and reveling energy, allow it to exist as just another distinctive chapter in Klines ongoing musical auto-biography. Through Vessel, Kline provides the listener with a spectrum of disparate anecdotes, observations, and affirmations and then tasks them with arranging the pieces in a way that they can make their own sense of. Typically albums by artists at a similar stage in their career are written with the weight of knowing that someone is on the other end listening. Yet, despite bringing attention to her audience in direct references, Kline and the rest of Frankie Cosmos have passionately written Vessel with a clarity not muddled by the fear of meeting anyones expectation.
If you were to ask Hannah Read what Lomelda means, youd probably end up with some kind of non-answer and a new topic. It is a guarded secret reserved for those who really pry. It is a high school attempt at describing something vast and powerful yet uniquely quiet and complex. And it is ever-changing. Lomelda is about memory, intimacy, and the tragedies of distance. As a band, it has appeared in several forms over the years, but always, to Hannah, Lomelda has been about discovering friendship and connection. Close collaborators have become closer friends. And when you see Lomelda, when you hear it, it is apparent that Hannah cares deeply about the connection made with the people on stage, the connection with you.
Stef Churas debut studio album, Messes, is born of her years of experience playing around the Michigan underground, setting up DIY shows in the area, and moving around the state. Right when it starts to feel like home/Its time to go, she sings literally on its opening cut, Slow Motion, a twisty, dim-lit guitar pop song where she curls and stretches every word. There are worlds of emotion in the ways Chura pronounces phrases with twang and grit, alternatingly full of despair, playfulness, and abandon. Chura calls her music emotional collage, eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favour of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.
Originally from Alpena, Michigan, Chura moved to the Ypsilanti area in 2009, where she began playing shows before ultimately moving to Detroit in 2012. Chura has been home-recording and self-releasing her songs for six years, playing bass in friends bands as well. With a trove of demos and 4-track home recordings, some of which shed released on small runs of cassettes over the years, Chura says she wasnt sure what to do with her life before heading into the studio. One of my best friends passed away and I thought, what do I have to do before I die? I have to at least make one record.
She recorded the entire album with Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good To Me) throughout 2015. Thomas plays bass on most of the record, and a bit of guitar and drums. Drummer Ryan Clancy of Jamaican Queens and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. adds the bulk of the drums. Through intricate guitar work and warm, textured production, Messes finds her trying to make sense of lifes ups and downs. Its about emotional mess, not physical mess, Chura says. The title track is about knowing that you are going to do something the wrong way, but youre doing it anyway because you want that experience. Ive had to do a lot of things the wrong way in order to figure out how to live my life.
6pm // $16 // All Ages
The Mr. Roboto Project (View)
5106 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224