Frankie Cosmos

Out of the bedroom


What: Frankie Cosmos, Empress

When: 7 pm Sun., Nov. 11

Where: MAC Gym, Wade King Rec Center, WWU

Cost: $5-$7


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

For almost as long as she can remember, music has been part of Greta Kline’s life. She began taking piano lessons at 6 years old, transitioned briefly to the drums before finally settling on the guitar when she was in middle school. She was homeschooled during high school, which gave her the time and flexibility to explore New York’s underground rock scene. She was still a teenager when she started releasing lo-fi recordings via a Bandcamp account and various musical aliases.

From the start, Kline was freakishly prolific. Using her Bandcamp almost like a diary, she amassed song after song, recording after recording, throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick. Her knack for writing lyrics that give an immediate, relatable snapshot of some piece or another of her life, her emotions, her musings both inane and poignant, was evident from the beginning. As was a certain punk rock sensibility that caused her to write songs short in duration and succinct in nature. It was an engaging and intriguing mix of qualities, and it wasn’t long before Kline attracted first interest and then an ever-growing number of fans.

To hear her tell it, Kline never sought the spotlight. Her Bandcamp recordings were done mostly for herself. Her use of aliases, common in the music industry, helped her to preserve her perceived anonymity. As a performer, she lacked confidence at first, and felt her music to be more an art project meant to amuse family and friends rather than a serious undertaking.

That all changed in 2014 when Kline released a proper full-length record—if a 17-minute-long album can be called a proper full-length, that is—with a full band under the name Frankie Cosmos. Dubbed Zentropy, it announced Kline as an artist to be reckoned with, and critics were quick to laud her as a refreshing new voice in an industry always looking for the next big thing. The acclaim took Kline by surprise, and she became unnerved that what had begun as an intimate bedroom project now belonged to an audience growing larger by the second.

That the spotlight would find her is not all that surprising. Kline wasn’t just another precocious kid with a unique musical point of view and a lot of talent. She’s the youngest child of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, and whether she realized or acknowledged it, star power is in her DNA.

Being the child of famous actors comes with its perks, and aside from the obvious bonus of having parents likely to encourage her artistic inclinations, she was also able to lean on them for advice about how to deal with her burgeoning fame and the scrutiny that came with it. They suggested that, instead of retreating from the spotlight, Kline should ignore it instead, stop reading her press coverage and treat her music as she always had: as a means by which to express herself and process her thoughts and emotions creatively.

She took them up on that advice and hasn’t looked back since.

Still an endlessly prolific songwriter, Kline has progressed in her music-making, which means so has Frankie Cosmos. A deal with Sub Pop led to the March 2018 release of Vessel, which is her most fully fleshed effort to date. Being in a full band suits the songwriter, and with Vessel she turns up the volume and gets a little less lo-fi. Two of the album’s whopping 18 songs even come in at longer than three minutes, including the title track. Once again critics were quick to praise Kline, with Pitchfork calling her “no less than a savior of indie pop and the poet laureate of New York City DIY” in their fawning review.

Being the savior of anything is a lot to contend with. It’s probably for the best that Kline no longer reads her own press.

Besides, the songwriter has built her fan base not on glowing reviews, but with her songwriting, which has always been about the small things, about universal experiences that are felt but seldom commented upon, observations both astute and achingly true. Lines like “making a list of people to kiss/The list is a million Yous long” speak to a sentiment many of us can relate to, as does “I want in on the other side/Of your eyelids where you hide.”

The increased attention and the solidifying of Frankie Cosmos into something that looks a whole lot like a music career have brought a lot of changes to Kline’s life, but the way she approaches her music remains the same. She still writes constantly, and her focus remains firmly on creating work that is true rather perfect. The stages may be bigger and the rooms might sell out, but at heart, she’s still the fiercely independent artist who released 50-some Bandcamp recordings from her room before she ever made a proper album. Turns out, you can take the girl out of the bedroom, but you can’t take the bedroom out of the girl.

More Music...
Come In From The Cold
Hot nights at the Wild Buffalo

Everyone has a friend like me. I wear long sleeves during the summer, long underwear during the winter and am never without auxiliary layers of clothing, just in case. In other words, I am always cold.

I long to be one of those hardy folks who don technical layers and then tromp into the…

more »
St. Patrick’s Day
Happy (almost) holiday

Like most occasions Bellingham wholeheartedly embraces and enthusiastically celebrates, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a proper holiday. The banks are open, kids have to go to school, no one gets the day off work.

Unless, of course, March 17 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year. In that…

more »
Mandolin Orange
Relationship goals

For as long as I have been an observer of Bellingham’s music scene, I’ve heard musicians talk about how there is no tour stop like this one, no audience like a Bellingham crowd. At first, I was skeptical, thinking it to be the equivalent of a hackneyed pickup line tried out on as many…

more »
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition


Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure

7:00pm|Meridian High School

Dyo Festival Plays

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Bellingham Puppetry and Mask Festival

7:30pm|Alternative Library

SICBA Home & Garden Show

11:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

Tarnation, Ryan Stiles

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Pageturners

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Honeywagon Runs

8:00am|Riverside Park

Nordic Roots Seminar

9:00am|United Methodist Church

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Squalicum Creek

Native Plant Sale

9:00am|Whatcom Community College

Make It and Take it

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

WNPS Field Trip

9:00am|Breazeale Interpretive Center

Spring Studio Seconds Sale

10:00am|Blue Water Pottery

Quilt Museum Annex Open House

10:00am|Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum

Youth Ag Day

10:00am|Skagit Farmers Supply

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Dahlias Made Easy

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Free My Heart

12:00pm|Village Books

Tax Help Available

12:30pm|First Congregational Church

Fidalgo and Mount Baker Youth Symphonies

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Forest Bathing

1:00pm|Rockport State Park

A Family Immigration Story


Cheese Classes

5:00pm|Chuckanut Center

PechuKucha Night

5:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Contra Dance with the Alphabeats

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Manouche NW Concert Series

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Giovanni & the Camino of St. Francis

7:00pm|Village Books

Gabriel and Rebecca Manalac

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Skagit Symphony's Masterpiece Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Village Books
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition


SICBA Home & Garden Show

11:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

The Pageturners

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

History Tour

12:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Legally Blonde, the Musical

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Murder & Mayhem

3:00pm|Everson Library

Poems for Peace

3:00pm|The Happy Place

Powerful in pink


Art of Jazz

4:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Classy Comedy

7:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Bos2 Village Books
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition


Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Community Soup Kitchen

6:00pm|Little Cheerful Cafe

Monday Night Pizza

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme Commons


7:00pm|Alternative Library

Open Mic Night

7:00pm|Village Books


9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books The Hunts Trove Web Legally Blonde Bos2