The Secretly Canadian Newsletter

If the Chateau Marmont could sing. This would be it. Loren Kramar’s voice vibrates with the shameless hum of a room after a celebrity exits. Ecstatic aspiration. Doubt. Proximity. Desire. The album Glovemaker is about the skins we craft to be seen by the world, and Loren reminds us that we are all in drag. All exposed. No matter what gloves we slip on.

I’m a slut for all my dreams, Loren Kramar sings with Patti Smith brashness, I’m a whore for them, I’ve got more of them. Loren’s lyrics move like tinsel, shimmering bravely, then just as quickly, curling, fragile under the spotlight. Loren has always been obsessed with fame. Not with famous people, but with the electricity that perverts attention – the crushing desire to be truly seen. And all of Loren, and this obsession, is in this album. He grew up in the Valley, forced to hide his Barbies from his father, so the closet was a gorgeous Spanish ranch house on a gilded cul-de-sac crawling with celebrities. Naturally this gay boy wanted to be a child star so his mother secretly shuttled him to tap and jazz and figure skating lessons. I’ve got hands and feet to put in the concrete, Loren croons, in “Hollywood Blvd,” a song which clangs with brawny bravado. But “Gay Angels” reminds us that Loren’s infatuation with stardom is inextricably linked with his queerness and his own desire to live outside of fear. To be famous is to be out. To be known. To be himself.

“Glovemaker has become a kind of code for art making itself. A glove as a covering or mask that follows the contours of the life beneath it. As a song and a symbol, this is an album about studying and tracing a life – and then sharing what’s there,” Loren says. And his desire to share truth feels urgent. To listen to Loren is to understand there is no choice; the songs must tear through the air right now. This very second. I see myself tearing and splitting and becoming a trampoline, he belts in “No Man,” breaking our hearts right alongside his. Part poet, part theatrical diva, Loren loops together the tragedy of breathing on this planet, because like Eartha Kitt or Cat Stevens, Loren is at his core – an incredible story teller. This whole album is a shrine, a mantle atop a blazing fire of life, spread with the memorabilia of Loren; all of the pain and lust dazzling on unabashed view.

Loren went to art school in New York City. He painted. He made drawings. And he attended sculpture classes where he refused to make objects, instead he told stories to circles of bros in Carhartts. His voice was the sculpture. His ability to transform oxygen into rapture was the sculpture, and now Loren’s music videos are the sculptures. “Hollywood Blvd,” which Loren directed, was shot in two days at Buster Keaton’s old studio with his friends as extras. The video creates another shrine; a collage of time and presence of those in his orbit. Loren understands that pop is a living breathing beast that is both an identity and a performance.

While Loren has the muscular might of a bona fide balladeer like Jacques Brel or Jeff Buckley, his strength also comes from his ability to weave together an ensemble of tremendous musicians. Produced and mixed by Sean O’Brien (The National, Booker T Jones), Glovemaker has bottled the fragile chemistry of some of the best musicians in Los Angeles. These records are alive – the evidence of what occurs when attentive artists play alongside one another in the same room. Carla Azar and Sam KS play drums while experimental jazz wizard, Sam Gendel, plays the sax. The string arrangements are written and conducted by Drew Erickson, who is a frequent collaborator of Father John Misty and Mitski. John Carroll Kirby plays the highly seductive synths. There are bells, trumpets, tap dancing, a kazoo, the cacophony hovering somewhere between a disco and a church.

This is a songwriter’s album. Loren’s lyrics are all his, and you feel it with every bright, Maraschino-cherry-like word that falls from his lips. “Like a lover, You scream and I shatter, I hit like a hammer,” Loren sings. And we get to feel what Loren feels. We live in his brain, riding his genre bending emotions, on a wave of modern pop. And the songs lift, they are anthems of belief,  “Hollywood Blvd,” “I’m a Slut,” “Euphemism,” “Gay Angels,” are all odes to triumphing over the corroding powers of fear and doubt. And on this ride, Loren’s voice is the guard rail, ever eager to stretch and transform, belting, talk-singing, multiplying, keeping us safe.

Glovemaker slaps and soars. The album is an ecstatic overture to love and loneliness, to dreams and promises, to everything Los Angeles dangles. Buckle up. Loren knows how to craft space, how to move us through darkened bars, strobing arenas, beige carpeted bungalows and yellow lit highways. How do you like LA? Loren asks. I hope you love it.


Hollywood Blvd


I'm a Slut

Like a Lover

Gay Angels


Birthday Thursday

Whatever Happens

15 Years

Oh To Be

No Man