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. 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.
For Vessel, the band’s 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 band’s rehearsals, and together the members collectively participated in turning them into full band arrangements. As a result, the album’s 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 Kline’s songwriting.
Vessel’s run time is exactly double the length of Frankie Cosmos’ breakout record, Zentropy, and serves as enormous leap forward in the band’s catalog. The album’s unique sensibility, esoteric narratives, and reveling energy, allow it to exist as just another distinctive chapter in Kline’s 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 anyone’s expectation.
If you were to ask Hannah Read what Lomelda means, you’d 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 Chura’s 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/It’s 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 she’d released on small runs of cassettes over the years, Chura says she wasn’t 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 life’s ups and downs. “It’s 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 you’re doing it anyway because you want that experience. I’ve had to do a lot of things the wrong way in order to figure out how to live my life.”