Hearts in Gardens is the second solo album from Kyle Forester. After over ten years as a member of Crystal Stilts and Ladybug Transistor (and a sideman to many others), he released his self-titled debut in 2016. Since then, he joined as touring member of longtime musical compatriots Woods — recording with them as the backing band of David Berman on what would sadly turn out to be his final musical offering, the Purple Mountains LP.

During this time, he also formed a solid live band of his own with Paul Jenkins (My Best Fiend, Rosewood Thieves), Michael O’Neill (Crickets, HIGH TIME), Hampus Öhman-Frölund (Jens Lekman, Huvudbry), and Sam Kulik (Escape from Society, Talibam!), opening shows for Proper Ornaments, Fred Thomas, We are Scientists, and Ken Stringfellow and working on the songs which would become his sophomore album. Reuniting with producer and engineer Matt Boynton (The Breeders, MGMT) at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Recording they recorded Hearts in Gardens over the course of a week.

The songcraft and sonic landscape of Forester’s musical universe is enhanced on this LP by a sharpened sense of purpose and live band feel. These songs were written against the backdrop of a particularly surreal couple of years, as our troubled and chaotic world gets more troubled and chaotic. Meanwhile, Forester found an increasingly settled and sweet personal life, with more time at home and the arrival of his first child. The dissidence between those worlds, outside and inside, a general feeling of wonderment at how either one got where it is, and how unlikely all of this seems, permeates the songs on Hearts in Gardens.

Album highlights include “Marigold,” a rumination on beauty hiding in plain sight, “Strange Vision,” a 70’s-style electric piano driven meditation on ending up places you don’t expect, and “Know What You’re Doing”, a personal favorite of Forester’s about finding confidence in the world, and a chance for guitarist O’Neill to take an excellent solo.

Hearts in Gardens, out February 21st, is a warm, honest album that acts as a balm for those of us who wonder how we can be joyful in our private lives when so much around us is in disorder and chaos.

Praise for Forester’s s/t debut:

“Like Deerhunter by way of Real Estate, matching acoustic finger-plucking with swelling head-trip synths as he sends a string of romantic reflections pinging through the echo chamber.” – Chris DeVille, Stereogum

“Kyle’s got a way with the kind of lightly-strummed guitar pop ofter associated with the early ’70s, and this is another good example of his talent.” – Bill Pearis, Brooklyn Vegan

“With his 2016 self-titled solo debut, the reluctant frontman shows that he’s also been sitting on a batch of really good songs…He’ll veer effortlessly from hooky jangle pop to textural synth instrumentals to lite-rock balladry within the space of just a few songs.” – Timothy Monger, AllMusic

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IMAGES: To download, click above. Photo credit to Michael Stasiak.