Thomas Conway – Indy Writer
Welcome to the first Indy Artist Profile! This is going to be a weekly series where I pick a promising but lesser known artist and give a little description of their style, their output so far, and (if applicable) what to expect from them in the future. To start us off, I’ve selected the prolific and adorable Frankie Cosmos.
Frankie Cosmos is the stage name of Greta Kline, the daughter of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. She is 21 years old and based in New York City, where she grew up. Between tours she attends New York University, which is quite the feat considering her musical output. When I say she is prolific, I mean she has roughly 50 albums released on Bandcamp. Not 50 songs, 50 albums. To be fair, most of her songs are short and sweet. It isn’t like she’s cranking out sprawling, well-produced albums on a biweekly basis. Most of her work is self-recorded and quite personal. In an interview with Brooklyn Magazine, she mentions that her extensive catalog of albums is intended to be an audio diary rather than to appeal to a wide audience.
Given the coverage she has received from major music news sources (Pitchfork and Noisey by Vice, to name a couple), it seems as if Greta Kline is going to reach a wide audience whether she wants to or not. Her first studio album, Zentropy, was released in March 2014, and she explicitly states that that was the first set of songs she recorded in a studio with the mindset that other people will hear it. As a result, it plays like a more polished version of her Bandcamp demo albums. Clocking in at 17 minutes, Zentropy is a subdued and joyous blur. Frankie Cosmos specializes in painfully simple indie-pop. There are no bells and whistles here, no flashy production techniques, just consistently catchy vocal melodies and easily learnable guitar parts. I think that’s precisely why her music is so appealing and frustrating. It’s extremely satisfying to listen to, yet it feels stripped-down, so rudimentary that it seems like anyone could do it. Check out “School” and “Birthday Song” to find out what I mean. Upon closer inspection, though, it becomes apparent that only Greta Kline can write these songs. Her bubbly, unpretentious personality seeps into every track. The endearing and seemingly replicable nature of it is just part of her aesthetic.
With her most recent EP, Fit Me In, Frankie Cosmos abandons the typical indie band setup (drums, bass, and guitar) in favor of synthesizers and drum machines. The lo-fi vibe is still present and the vocals are as catchy as on any of her previous releases. Tracks like “Young” and “Korean Food” drive that point home. With a new album (aptly titled Next Thing) set for release on April 1st, 2016, Fit Me In amounts to a refreshing departure from her typical style, a palette cleanser before the next course. In a quirky live music video produced by Pitchfork, Frankie Cosmos gives fans a taste of the new album with the song “Outside with the Cuties.” Since it was posted on January 20th, I’ve replayed it more times than I’d like to admit. You can watch the video yourself here. On top of that, the first single from Next Thing, entitled “Sinister,” was formally released on Frankie Cosmos’ Bandcamp on January 27th. Based on the strength of those two previews, Frankie Cosmos is poised to have a breakthrough year. My only advice is to get on the bandwagon before it fills up.
Frankie Cosmos’ Bandcamp can be found here.
(Featured image retrieved from: vulture.com)