When Slim Moon returned to Kill Rock Stars after a twelve-year hiatus to head up the label once again, his first act was to spearhead the release of Best Wishes, the debut album from Portland four-piece MAITA. Led by the graceful pen of Maria Maita-Keppeler, the band's songs are heavy on theme and authorial voice, dialing back to a time where poignant, heartfelt indie-rock poured from the souls of songwriters and the term of the genre was far less nebulous than it is today. Maita-Keppeler, initially influenced by similarly word-drunk artists like Bright Eyes and Feist, uses her songs -- bursting, overflowing with language and sharp turns of phrase -- as a forum for unvarnished expression.
"Someone's Lost Their Goddamn Wallet," setting the pace as the second track on Best Wishes (out May 15th on Kill Rock Stars), is steeped in the songwriting tradition of jaunty, lighthearted folk-rock being used as a Trojan Horse for the creeping dread of existentialism. It's 3 AM and the party is still moving through the night presumably without incident or noise complaints, both the front and back door are being used, bodies are moving around in the enjoyably predictable way they always move around at parties. A portrait of the hostess is in plain view ("She's never cried a day in her life," Maita-Keppeler sings). A sense of unease lowers onto the protagonist like an anchor into the waters that fill the port. Some day, the lives of each person here will end, and this party will be a speck on the speck of brain matter turned to ash or fertilizer.
The video for "Someone's Lost Their Goddamn Wallet" serves as a different party of sorts; it's easy to imagine each person in it belonging to their own square during a Zoom video chat. Dance moves, the light tapping of espadrilles, cattle in the distance on a walk, a game of Risk on the coffee table, hula hoops, homemade haircuts, people toasting in front of the fireplace, lipstick, bass guitars, pianos, home improvement projects, kitchens, a found wallet on a cluttered table. Every member of the heavy cast singing along to their eventual demise. As a visual, "Someone's Lost Their Goddamn Wallet" is both a product of circumstance and a slightly altered reading of the song; it's way easier to think about how we'll all die one day when facing down a global pandemic.
Below the video are Maita-Keppeler's thoughts on the sounds and visuals for "Someone's Lost Their Goddamn Wallet."
Celebrating their fourth LP, A Man Alive, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down stopped by KEXP to throw a little pre-release party. Though the new songs are energetic and completely accessible, as Thao explains to the Midday Show's Cheryl Waters, recording A Man Alive was an incredibly personal, at ti...