The story goes like this: Portland band MAITA sent their recently completed record, Best Wishes, to Kill Rock Stars (Elliott Smith, The Raincoats, Gossip) which at the time, was headed by Portia Sabin, wife of then-retired label founder Slim Moon. Best Wishes comes out on November 22nd. MAITA play their next show on November 23rd in Tacoma, WA.
From Slim Moon:
“Put simply, my love of MAITA and my belief in Maria’s genius pulled me back into the record business. When I quit running KRS in 2006 it was important to me that it become 100% Portia’s baby. I never made any suggestions about what artists I thought she should work with. But when Portia played MAITA’s music for me I immediately thought it was so special that I found myself breaking my own 13 year old rule. I told Portia I thought she absolutely should sign them. Next thing I knew, we had agreed not only to sign MAITA, but that I would return to a limited role at KRS in order to shepherd the whole project. It was months later that we learned Portia would be leaving to take over as CEO of The Music Business Association and that I’d be returning as president of the label, as well.”
The album’s first single, Can’t Blame a Kid, follows the roots of an old scar back to childhood, when Maita-Keppeler found herself as the “quiet one,” trapped in the shadow of an overwhelming peer. MAITA’S debut LP, Best Wishes, was produced by Maita-Keppeler and Matthew Zeltzer, and tracked live at the 100-year-old Ok Theatre in Enterprise, Oregon and Room 13 in Portland, Oregon.
The song opens with the frivolous but biting line, “My old friend, she used to be a dick.” The narrative, however, grows nuanced, presenting a fuller picture of the dynamics instead of pointing fingers. “Can’t Blame a Kid” boasts big indie-rock hooks, brash guitars, with a 90’s alt rock palette. “The process of writing this song brought me to the realization that I can’t go on blaming other people for my insecurities, particularly when those people were twelve years old at the time of their supposed ‘crimes.’ Children are like dogs—they are innocent,” Maita-Keppeler explains.