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Astronaut Husband's first single off new album is on solid ground

A man holding an acoustic guitar sits in a padded chair with the railing of a wooden staircase ascending behind him.
Alec Grefe

Every week, Milwaukee Music Premiere connects the city’s artists with our listening audience. If you’re an artist with a track you’d like us to debut exclusively on Radio Milwaukee, head over to ourMusic Submission page to learn how.

There are musicians who call themselves bedroom artists. Then there are musicians like Alec Grefe, who performs under the name Astronaut Husband when he’s not playing guitar for local band Haunter.

I use the term “performs” very lightly considering Grefe has really committed to the whole bedroom side of things by playing live only twice as Astronaut Husband since starting the project in 2012. Based on this Milwaukee Music Premiere of “Catching Frogs,” it’s hard to fault him for dividing his time in such a lopsided way.

An album cover features an image of the sun shining brightly through tall trees with wildflowers in the foreground.
Luz Soria
"Down the Road" album cover.

The song is little more than Grefe’s doubled vocals and solid acoustic-guitar work, with a string section introduced so delicately that you might miss it on first listen. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. The track is perfectly polished for the sound Grefe is going for (shades of Sufjan Stevens/Phoebe Bridgers) and the melancholy, “growing old sucks” subject matter:

The moon is in the river
The green bugs on my wrist
Some times are forever
Some times don’t exist

On some level, the lyrics are kind of irrelevant. Grefe could be singing a recipe for apple pie, and the instrumentation coupled with his vocal delivery would still communicate that bittersweet, nostalgic feeling. It’s something you’ll hear throughout his new album, Down the Road, when it comes out this Friday via the usual streaming services, including his Bandcamp page.

For now, enjoy “Catching Frogs” on demand right here and as part of the 88Nine playlist you can hear over the air, as well as streaming via our website and mobile app.