Frederick the Younger, Honest Men
Swinging between piercing highs and slurring lows, Frederick the Younger frontwoman Jenni Cochran sings with the virtuosic gusto of a Seventies UK punk. She’s actually a Clevelander, who discovered her vocal range during a postgrad stay in Vietnam teaching English.
“It was such a musical culture,” offered Cochran by phone from Tupelo, Miss., first stop on FTY’s summer-ending tour. “Every school function would always involve a singing component. There’d be close to 1,000 people at these things, so I got up there and realized singing wasn’t as terrifying as it seemed.”
As she serenaded Vietnamese students with Lady Gaga covers, the duo’s other half, Aaron Craker, worked on a solo garage rock project in Louisville called Dr. Vitamin. When Cochran moved there with her parents after Nam, she stumbled upon a Dr. Vitamin show.
“She was the missing element,” says Craker of his former project, adding that they bonded over a shared love for David Bowie and the Beatles, so forging their own sound proved a work in progress. “She’d come up with fully formed songs, but it took me a bit to figure out the right chords to match them.”
The two became Frederick the Younger in 2015, and as they became closer, Craker slowly learned to accentuate, echo, and expand upon Cochran’s rich, wailing melodies with tremolo guitar sections and rich instrumentation brought to life by a dexterous rhythm section. It all manifests into a rockish, groove-pop iteration of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs combined with UK punk standouts Siouxsie & the Banshees.
“Someone said we’re like Jenny Lewis, but we rock out more,” proclaims Craker.– Jeremy Steinberger