By Ben Weinstein
THERE WAS something heartwarming about attending a sold out Frankie Cosmos show in Portland, 2,894.5 miles away from her home in New York City (if Google Maps is to be trusted). It felt like the least intimate an intimate gathering could be, a principle equally applicable to her recent jump in success as a whole. She has crossed the country, released a critically lauded record, and sold out multiple venues in the process – standard accomplishments for a band on the rise – yet her music still feels like a close, confiding friend. It’s this intersection between newfound success and familiar, comforting presence that caused me to tear up as Frankie Cosmos (the alias of Greta Kline) serenaded a devotional Portland crowd.
Without being overly dramatic, I think it’s fair to say that seeing how far Kline’s project has come within the past few years has been staggering. When she released Frankie Cosmos’ debut studio album “Zentropy” in 2014, witnessing the Bandcamp-born musician sign to the increasingly trendy label Double Double Whammy was a shock in itself. Now, as she sells out venues across the country in support of her new record “Next Thing,” I’ve reached another level of both pride and disbelief.
After solid sets from Double Double Whammy labelmates Yowler and Eskimeaux (the latter of which played in Frankie Cosmos as well), Kline and her three bandmates wasted no time in launching into tracks off her newly released LP. Tracks like “Fool,” “Is It Possible / Sleep Song,” and “Sappho” are among the melodically strongest songs she has released thus far, and their sound translated perfectly into a live setting. Although the band’s relatively simple sound sparks occasional criticism from those who can’t stomach twee, it seems to be their greatest ally on tour. After all, one can only screw up the mixing for guitar, vocals, bass, keys and drums so badly.
The band persevered both the Analog’s scorching heat and bladder issues (Kline spent much of the time between songs talking about her soiled underwear) to deliver a roughly 20 song set. By the time they concluded with several pre – “Next Thing” songs, crowd and band alike were melting into pools on the beer-soaked Analog floor, largely ready to sprint into the refreshing Portland night. However, we all stayed, entranced by Frankie Cosmos’ relatable woes, figuring that even if the Analog did have some type of air conditioning, her music would be melting us anyways.