Other Better Places is out now.
As far as I’m concerned there’s not much better than lo-fi, vulnerable, alt rock. So this automatically means I love New York trio Fraidycat and their debut album Other Better Places. It’s an infectiously melodic, fuzzy adventure into the idiosyncrasies and nuances of the human condition.
We had a sit down with Andy Kinsey (bass/vocals) who delivered the inside scoop on their defiantly delicate songs.
Grab Other Better Places via Bandcamp.
1. Best Pie
Some songs write themselves in a matter of minutes. Others, like this one take their own time and go through several iterations over a long, long period of time… years. Funny that something that’s only 1:22 would take so long to work out. I started writing this song the second time my ex wife and I separated (you’ll note a revisiting of a common theme here throughout the record) and I met the new person she was dating. I only got through the first two verses though.
I wanted the song to sound childish and direct, I thought it was a great way to share the petty jealous I felt seeing her with her new guy- You know that feeling where you don’t want to be with the person anymore but you also don’t want to see them with anyone else either? The bridge and final verse are about someone I dated later, when we were in a happy place and I was inspired to finish the song. It was a fresh start and she loved to bake so the song was completed with the thought of pie and our bright and stable future ahead of us in mind. How’s that for optimism, haha.
I’ve always been the band leader when playing music with the exception of the band that I played with the longest and had the most success with, Shark?. There must be a good take away there but whatever lol. When that band got quiet and I realized I had enough material to start my own band again I decided to call it Fraidycat after my reluctance to have another go at it.
This song is about starting over and being humbled by what it takes to get a group of musicians together to do the thing. Its also about appreciating how fleeting it all is with buzz bands coming and going and how if you’re lucky enough to have some buzz yourself it can dissolve so quickly, leaving you with nothing to hold onto.
3. Fortune Cookies
In the later days of Shark? there was a demo passed around and I didn’t really like the chorus. I prefer it when someone doesn’t like something or has criticism for them to offer an alternative so I proposed the chorus be something along the lines of what you hear as the instrumental refrain between the verses in Fortune Cookies. The idea didn’t gain any traction and I thought it was still a good riff so I put together a simple chord progression to fill in the space.
When Fraidycat came together and we needed more songs to play I wrote the lyrics overnight. I feel like I’m always trying to do the right thing and always doing the wrong thing and never getting anywhere so the words came fairly easily.
After my divorce I dated someone for three years and after the first year in they wanted us to have an open relationship so they could explore their identity. I was in shock and awe like if I didn’t go along with it I would lose what I had while on the other hand maybe there was something to gain from the experience.
We read books, went to communication seminars, couples therapy, started off low-stakes with make out parties before things eventually went all in. We really thought we were a pair of ethically non-monogamous bad asses I guess. The first person I eventually expressed an interest in pursuing outside our relationship got vetoed by my partner and I think the resentment from that one moment is what did us in.
I eventually hooked up with the person anyways and was found out. I cheated. I think this is why I’m easily drawn to walking away from people I date now when I don’t feel comfortable- you have to listen to the feelings that tell you when something isn’t comfortable before you get drawn in and become the bad one, acting out of anger. Advice easier given than followed.
This was written during the time my ex and I were busy one-upping each other in a mutually destructive game of tit-for-tat. I think the worst way you can cheat on someone is to not come home. The feeling of waking up to find the bed empty next to you is the most crushing thing I can think of and we’d been on both sides. That feeling when you’re both trying as hard as possible to ruin the life you share… that’s a horrible place to spend several years with someone.
The upside of all this that for the last five years my ex and I have had an amazing relationship as co-parents to our daughter. I’m very much thankful for her patience as we’ve come to build a relationship based on mutual growth, shared responsibility, and support. It’s a very different situation from the environment we had ourselves as children.
6. Internal Bleeding
I watched a very close friend go through a break up where they were pretty much walked out on- no chance for reconciliation given whatsoever. I wrote this from their point of view- experiencing a partnership and shared life being taken away without any prior indication or chance to save it.
In an attempt to relate, some of the lyrics are about autobiographical- times I’ve gone out on a limb to trust and provide support only to get betrayed. And then it’s like, where do we go from here? Can any relationship recover from this kind of stuff and heal? In my experience yes, to a certain degree, but it never heals in a way that goes back to how it used to be. It grows in a new direction which might not be the one you had in mind.
7. More Teeth
Oh boy, another one about my ex. It’s such a contrast from the way things are with us now. I think it’s also telling that I can only write when either I’m angry, sad or in regret. It’s so rare to write music when I’m happy I don’t know what would be better- staying this way or being emotionally stable and never writing anything.
The chorus refers to our co-parenting position which, as previously stated, is now very positive. Just needed a little bit of adulting to happen. Originally the verse progression was in D minor but I changed it to G major to try and lighten the vibe lol. Danny’s guitar line breathes so much needed goodness into the song as well.
8. Garden Gnomes
This is one of the few positive songs on the album, written during a wintertime cabin fever episode. It’s about being a brat and picking petty fights with your partner while your stuck in an apartment during a snow storm while exploring your bisexuality. I was never a good student when I was studying music so I tried to make the song’s descending and ascending riffs into tongue twisters to challenge myself to play more complex lines.
Premonition of a break up- When you sense things are not going well and you’re unhappy but it’s not clear if it can be mended or not. Six months later when you break up you look back and see this was when you saw it coming, it was just out of focus at the time.
It makes you question who you are and the experiences you shared- Was it all just something that happened in the moment? Did a time of peace and support allow you to have some honest clarity and personal insight? Are you bi or was it just a phase? And if it wasn’t a phase where does it go from here? The tempo shift in the chorus was all Charlotte’s idea and she’s gotten really good at coming up with new fills during it that are hard for me to keep up with.
10. Boys Cry
A day in the life of a week in an open relationship, where you’re free to do what ever you want but nothing happens because no one’s schedules line up. I frequently found this to be the case and found it humorous that you would spend so much time and emotion preparing and processing and communicating for it to be basic dating life where everyone flakes. The little pentatonic instrumental was another personal challenge to write and play.
11. Hardest Part
This song is about the lowest point in my life, like 12 step program low, I don’t care if it is worth something or means something to anyone outside my ex and I. I’m so thankful to have what we have now, what our parents never had and never gave us. It’s not ideal but it’s dependable and it’s allowed us both to continue to grow and become better people- for ourselves and for our daughter. For real, this song was originally 4:30 so I did my best to cut it down and my cousin came up with the idea of the breaks at the end of the choruses which make it way less monotonous.
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