The only reason you might not have heard of Frankel is because of Frankel. Frankel has no team of promo flunkies shepherding his songs to adult radio (where many belong), no publicist to coerce fawning write-ups (like this one), no Facebook page, not even a live band (right now, at least) to realize his music in clubs. Frankel is not even his real name — it’s singer-songwriter-composer Michael Orendy, a long but underappreciated presence in Silver Lake who named his venture after an “oversize orthodontic retainer worn in 5th grade.” He doesn’t turn up in searches — “all part of my patented anti-self-promotional program,” he says wryly, adding that he’s “still Howard Hughes-ish on getting the Frankel stuff out there [live].” He didn’t name his second album “Anonymity Is the New Fame” for nothing, we suppose.
Orendy is shy but not retiring. Fans of classic folk and pop songwriting and tasteful-but-not-gimmicky production will find swoon-worthy moments on all three of Frankel’s full-lengths, “Lullaby for the Passersby” (2007), “Anonymity” (2009) and “Sugar Twists Like Hurricane” (2011), and the electro-pop EP he made with wife Ariana Murray as Paw City is better than half the stuff represented by labels. Which brings us to the present: In April, Frankel released a new EP, “Signal to Noise,” five new songs that shimmer and swirl and swell and drill their melodies through your pop radio-hardened skull. “These songs were all written with a ‘personal is the most universal’ approach,” says Orendy, who made the EP with producer Dan Long and played all the instruments except drums, which were handled by Adam Wade. “To me, each one feels like a quiet anthem — don’t let the bastards keep you down.”
||| Stream: “Dust Cloud,” “Yes Yes Yeah” and “Set Design”