Ears Wide Open: Highland Kites

Highland Kites
Highland Kites

Singer-songwriter Marissa Lamar spent 2013 overcoming a serious illness before embarking on her longtime dream of making music. Collaborating with drummer Neil Briggs under the name Highland Kites, she has released an EP and a full-length album in the past 16 months — both of them, “So Vicious” and “All We Left Behind,” respectively, are available on Bandcamp packaged as one 17-track album. In fact, Highland Kites are already working a new five-song EP for early 2016, but in the interests of catching up: Lamar’s folk-pop confessionals are of substantial depth, navigating issues of identity, truth and relationships through a hopeful but wary eye. The full-length was produced by Raymond Richards (Local Natives, et al), whose guitar and bass parts (along with Briggs’ drumming) add a sonic resolve to Lamar’s ruminations. There are strings too, contributed by Kaitlin Wolfberg and Ken Oak, but all is not as melancholy as it might seems when the singer-pianist cops to “blasting the Cure through my headphones,” as Lamar sings in “Now I’m Home.” The shuffling opening track “Small Frame” might capture the overall spirit best, ending in “If my body breaks / my love will be OK / I’m more than just a human / that slowly fades away.”

||| Stream: “Before you Leave,” “Bitter to Brilliant” and “So Vicious”

||| Watch: The video for “Small Frame”

||| Live: Highland Kites play Tuesday at the Silverlake Lounge along with Nic Nassuet, Cynthia Brando, the Velopheliacs, Sanguindrake and the Great Sadness.