For most, the idea of change is met tumultuously. Even faced with a positive change, it just seems human to tap the breaks, to wonder if the ambiguity of what’s ahead could possibly be any better than the comfortable concrete of right now. On Kevin Krauter’s (of the band Hoops) second solo EP Changes, change isn’t a resistant effort; it’s a gentle constant, an ever-present beauty.
Without being repetitive, the six tracks are cohesive, gradually shifting shapes from one to the next over the smooth complexity of indie folk injected with unpredictable bossa nova-esque guitar. On “Fantasy Theme” Krauter vocals sigh, “And I love the same, but I’m changing every single day; That’s what she loved about me.” His nearly blasé approach to the ebb and flow of the same growth that’s often framed with fear is a calming consistency, rooted in his own personal narrative.
“I think for the longest time my normal go-to was vague, metaphorical dreamy introspection, which is fun, but also gets tiring and old," he told me. "That’s something I was trying to grow out of; a lot of that still happened on this EP, but I was trying to inform those creative tendencies with more real life stuff, trying to ground it real experiences and a narrative that could possibly be relatable.”
There’s been an evolution in his own sound alone. While still harnessing the dreamy introspective sound of his first EP Magnolia, Changes is stripped with a pure precision with noticeable Brazilian influence.
“For this EP, I was listening to a lot of Brazilian music over the past couple of years that a friend of mine who works at a record store in Muncie, Indiana where I went to school, he got me into a lot of Caetano Veloso, and a lot of Tropicana and Bossa Nova stuff," Krauter said. "So I was just surrounding myself in that for a long time and teaching myself how to play that. My friend gave me a nylon string guitar and that’s what I used for the whole EP. And on top of that, I was getting really into Kurt Vile and Bruce Springsteen and going for a more of a raw vibe for a lot of the songs. Because the first [EP] was a little more orchestrated in a different way, so these were a little more raw and vulnerable because Springsteen’s approach to that was was I was into at the time.”
The EP, and his solo work as a whole, differs even more from Hoops’ sound. Despite his heavy hand in both projects, there’s an extremely tangible divide that’s clear from the inception of the songs.
“All the stuff I do for my solo stuff just comes from a completely different headspace. When I write for Hoops, it’s pretty easy early on for me to pick what’s gonna be hoops and what’s gonna be myself, just because they come from very different places. They’re two really different instincts that I have that I can sort of find a nice line between both, and I can pursue both kind of equally.”
With his EP being released on vinyl, and us being Vinyl Me, Please, Kevin also talked about how he started collecting records in high school.
“I started collecting vinyl when I was a senior in high school because all my other friends were buying vinyl and I was like “oh sick, vinyl is so sick,” and I still love it. Over the past year, I’ve sold like two thirds of my collection, just because I’m broke as shit,” Krauter laughed.
In addition to helping Kevin buy back his vinyl, adding his Changes EP to your collection will cozy up your contemplative winter months and give you a pile of cohesive songs to yours to remind you that change is innate and embraceable.
You can purchase Changes in the VInyl Me, Please store when it opens on December 19.
Amileah Sutliff is a New York-based writer, the Head of Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please and an editor of the book The Best Record Stores in the United States.