Greta Kline Dropped Out of School, Discovered Punk and Emerged as Frankie Cosmos

It’s the kind of dreamy, unpretentious thing you’d pump through headphones while sneaking a bike ride on a day you were supposed to be home sick from school.

IMAGE: Matthew James Wilson

Greta Kline's personal history reads like a young adult novel about a New York savant discovering punk for the first time.

The Frankie Cosmos frontwoman is the daughter of movie stars—her parents are Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates—and sister of an indie film star. As a teenager, Kline was immersed in the cultural plethora the five boroughs have to offer. After ditching school permanently, she started the first incarnation of Frankie Cosmos, then called Ingrid Superstar, all before most people earn a high school diploma, and substituted a public education with a makeshift musical master class under the tutelage of her older actor-brother Owen, who chaperoned Kline's regular visits to many of the DIY venues in Brooklyn's thriving scene.

Now, Frankie Cosmos is at the tail end of their tour for Next Thing, their sophomore effort. Released only a year after a debut that landed the band directly on the radar of every reputable music publication, it's an endearing work of compact, immediately lovable earworm tunes that hark back to the shamelessly cutesy era of early Belle and Sebastian and K Records. Kline's wispy croon sits atop a foundation of fuzz and simplistic melodies.

It's the kind of dreamy, unpretentious thing you'd pump through headphones while sneaking a bike ride on a day you were supposed to be home sick from school—juvenile but endearing, simple and adorable. Even their tour activities seem consistent with a school field trip. "Visiting castles, buying postcards, eating cheese and paprika chips," she responds via email when asked how they're spending their free time in Europe.

The band's next album has already been recorded, but other than sharing their anticipation for its release, they're reluctant to say anything that might result in premature evaluation.

"There's more second guitar on this album than on the past studio records," Kline says. "It's almost done and we are excited to share it."

For a band whose initial releases were casual, homespun efforts uploaded to Bandcamp, Kline is well aware of how easy it is for anyone desiring to play music for a living to get stuck in the muck of obscurity. But her ethos for maximum happiness is a simple one that any presently unknown musician would do well to heed: "Don't care about success."

Frankie Cosmos plays Aug. 27 at 2:20 pm. 

MusicfestNW presents Project Pabst is Aug. 26-27 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Get tickets here.

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