Hailing from Los Angeles, Whisper Kid is a diverse and experimental musical project fronted by Rhea Tepplim. Content to let the music do the talking Rhea maintains her distance; her SoundCloud profile lists no other band members or collaborators and provides no links to social media, websites or anything that might offer clues in solving the riddle.
The mystical and slow-burning, psych-infused Calliope builds on this enigmatic theme with its opening shroud of amplifier hiss, atmospheric slide guitar and buried lead vocals – it gives little away. There are hints of early Cat Power, The Velvet Underground and The Breeders, especially in the lush Kim Deal-esque vocal harmonies. It’s hypnotic and strikingly pretty, a raw recording brimming with spiritual leanings that rewards repeat listens – art for arts sake and that’s the purest kind there is.
I do love it when a new artist elects to surround themselves with the blissful mystery their initial obscurity gifts them. Half the fun of new music in the pre-internet age was how the biographical trivia would find itself piecemealed out upon record sleeves (if we were lucky). Indeed even now with the magic of the internet search engine on my side, I own records but know very little indeed about their creators; curious little releases bound by untold stories. I think the phrase goes something like, “let the music speak before some idiot with a typewriter does it for you”. So it is with L.A’s Mareux, the pseudonym of Grant Monot.
There are elements of glo-fi and chillwave present, but unlike many of his peers it isn’t the be all and end all: he’s remembered to write actual songs with proper hooks too. My favourite of these current offerings is Sail taken from his self-released Decade EP; grotty 80s electro production smashed against a louchely delivered call-and-response echo vocal. There are shades of Neon Indian and Memory Tapes, and indeed there’s a distinctive quality here – the glue of musicality binding everything together – which leads me to believe similar success may well await. Massive thumbs up.