“Sometimes it’s hard to say when you’re just having a rough day.”
These are the first words Augusta Koch sings on Cayetana’s new record, New Kind of Normal. They’re objectively true; it is hard to say when you’re having a shitty day. Not because words are tough to come by or because it’s literally difficult to speak (though, these very real and consequential challenges exist). Rather, it’s addressing the fact that we’re encouraged to internalize, compartmentalize, and quiet down instead of speaking out, expressing, and connecting. The pendulum is, subtly and gradually, swinging away from an unhealthy culture of silence; mental health stigma, while still embedded and pervasive, is being challenged and rejected. Koch, bassist Allegra Anka, and drummer Kelly Olsen deliver a blow in that fight with New Kind of Normal, an expansive, charged record that rejects the idea that we need to suffer alone. It forwards the idea that feeling weird and abnormal is normal. These aren’t revolutionary phrases; what’s remarkable isn’t so much the words but the utterance of them.
It speaks volumes that Cayetana are one of the most celebrated acts in a swollen Philadelphia music scene, despite only having one full-length out. Their 2014 debut, Nervous Like Me, sat nestled among a handful of EPs and splits, including one last year with Melbourne’s Camp Cope. “Mesa”, the breath-of-fresh-air first single off New Kind of Normal, was on that split. Like the rest of the record, it’s raw, pure, assured, and exasperated: “We can only hurt ourselves for so long,” Koch pleads on the chorus. It’s a wake-up call.
The clarity and confidence of New Kind of Normal are absolute and uncompromising. Desiring total control over their work, they created their own label, Plum Records, to release the new album, ensuring its integrity and voice. Longtime producer and friend Matt Schimelfenig explores ambient sound across the record, detailing closer “World” with street sounds and the kind of background Keep Reading