Maita-Keppeler’s bold vulnerability and literate flair is on full display on the quartet’s debut album, Best Wishes. The album out on venerated indie imprint Kill Rock Stars (Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, the Decemberists) which is a story in itself. Until recently, KRS was headed up by Portia Sabin, whose husband Slim Moon founded the label. When Portia played Maita’s record for Slim, who retired from the label 12 years ago, he experienced something of an epiphanic moment. “My love of Maita, and my belief in Maria's songwriting, pulled me back into the record business,” Slim affirms. He has since returned to his original role as president of Kill Rock Stars.
Maita-Keppeler began experimenting with songwriting while soaking in the indie artists of the 2000’s such as Bright Eyes and Feist. She related to how these writers interweave reality and poetry, and resonated with their emotional candor, particularly in light of her tendencies toward emotional restraint while growing up. “I have always had this desire to make sure everyone is happy and no one is dissatisfied or hurt,” Maita-Keppeler explains. “Music has been a place for me to demand the free space to say what I want to say.”
Best Wishes balances ethereal musicality with visceral expressiveness. This juxtaposition is mirrored in the arrangements through potent use of loud and soft dynamics and in Maita-Keppeler’s lyrics, which manage to be layered, literate, but also impactfully concise.