It’s a Friday night in Brooklyn and Frost Children are reintroducing themselves on stage. They’ve just wrapped up a support set featuring material from their recent album Hearth Room, including breezy rock songs, a spoken-word poem and a swooning piano ballad. Now, the sibling duo Angel and Lulu Prost are teasing the more frenetic, more electronic headline act. “Next up: Frost Children,” Angel announces to the sold-out crowd.
After a brief interval, Angel and Lulu return to the stage with live drummer Eden Pacheco for set number two. They’ve shed their muted maroon and black garb in favour of silver-accented outfits that glint under the furiously rotating stage lights. Rising synths echo and the message “Let’s. Fucking. Go” is projected onto the stage’s screen, over stock images of dogs. In the crowd, kids with furry tails, SpongeBob merch and Pokémon backpacks rave besides silver-haired indie rockers in weather-appropriate beanies and down jackets.
Tonight’s show, at the 675 capacity venue Elsewhere, is the second date of Frost Children’s North America tour. They’ve beefed up the line-up with two vastly different local performers: veteran folk-rocker-slash-activist and comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis and self-described “screamo fuck” band Olth. But the tour poster promises an unusual concept: “Frost Children Presents: Frost Children… with support from Frost Children”. On every night of the tour, they will perform two completely separate sets to show off the duality of their two 2023 albums, Hearth Room, released in November, and its post-hyperpop predecessor Speed Run, which dropped just seven months earlier. On stage, Angel tells the audience that the first time she pitched the “we-open-for-ourselves” idea to someone, the idea was dismissed as “preposterous.”
“I said, ‘You’re preposterous!’” she calls out to the crowd. “‘Get a life!’”
Plenty of people have found Angel, 25, and Lulu, 23, preposterous since they released their first EP as Frost Children in 2020. They mash together screamo hooks with sharp-elbowed bloghouse drops, but can also deliver delicate vocal melodies with the clear coo of a dewy-cheeked Paul McCartney. They’ve been cast as key players in the so-called indie sleaze renaissance, often associated with Manhattan microneighborhood Dimes Square, as well as the stiff party stragglers who are gasping along with the ghost of the hyperpop scene.
The week before Frost Children’s tour kicks off, I meet them for drinks at the Greenwich Village establishment Caffé Reggio. Founded in 1927, this was the the first café in the United States to serve cappuccino; it now shares a wall with a smoke shop flogging pastel vapes and Rick & Morty-embossed bongs – a common sight in NYC since weed was legalised in 2021. Angel tends to drive the conversation, flitting between galaxy-brained ruminations on art and authenticity. She’s older, with pin-straight blonde hair and affinity for the preppy garb she once hawked as a teenager working at Ralph Lauren. Lulu is quieter and sharper-featured, peeking out from a mop of floppy fox-red hair to occasionally offer a wry smile or fond memory. Lulu speaks with a lilt when discussing songcraft, but the tone shifts when the pair start riffing off each other and conjuring up outlandish scenarios – like a no-consequences New York day that involves stealing the Rockefeller Christmas tree and grabbing lunch with the Grinch in Queens.
When I bring up the subject of Dimes Square and the supposed downtown revival, Angel admits there are “nuggets of truth” in the reams of press about it. There are, she concedes, some buzzing musicians hanging around in Lower Manhattan, including their co-managers, rapper Blaketheman1000 and fellow electroclash lover The Dare. And in recent years, a bunch of young people have been collaborating on zines, gallery shows, plays, parties and even a short-lived reality TV show. But the Prosts cringe a little when asked about their association with the scene.
“I don’t want to be known as a New York artist on my gravestone,” Angel says. “I want to reach people in Minneapolis who don’t give a fuck about New York.” Lulu insists that the hype around Dimes Square is merely “a world that lives in the press for us.” Frost Children’s tour will take them to cities which attract fewer social climbers and hard-nosed careerists, including Minneapolis and Raleigh, North Carolina. On Instagram, they say the tour date they’re most excited about is Salt Lake City.
Growing up as Zoomers in St Louis, Missouri, the Prosts’ first devoured music via the YouTube algorithm on their father’s desktop computer. Angel and Lulu then developed a passion for the emo songs they’d hear in the local mall, where they shopped at Hot Topic and, in Angel’s case, sneaked a first kiss at the cinema during an “edgelord” R‑rated flick. They listened to radio rock bands The Fray and Say Anything, the latter of whom Angel denotes “twee-mo icons.”
At Sunday mass, their father played piano and their mother violin. Angel took up the bass; Lulu got behind the drum kit. The pair played together in hodge-podge rock camp cover bands and covered Green Day songs with their eldest brother, Brian.
Eventually, they both moved to New York – Angel in 2016 to pursue a neuroscience degree, Lulu in 2021 after becoming disillusioned with music school in Nashville. Today they live near Ridgewood in Brooklyn, but mostly party in Bushwick. Angel cites a head injury she suffered at Irving Ave venue The End as one of the catalysts for Hearth Room’s sound: while recovering, she only wanted to hear and make “lush, acoustic” music.
In a review of Speed Run, Pitchfork writer Sam Goldner described Frost Children’s hyperactive style-shifting as “gimmicky genre-mixing”. But the duo don’t care about criticism. “Before people pigeonhole us too much, I think we just wanted to nail it in people’s minds immediately that we’re not trying to be bogged down in one genre,” Angel says of the hard pivot between their two 2023 albums. And as Lulu, nursing a whiskey on the rocks, puts it, “There’s no time to waste.” They’re already working on a new album, which they promise will be another sharp left turn. “This one is gonna be the one that resets the clock on music,” Angel says. “The vibe shift.”
At the Elsewhere show, it’s clear that Frost Children’s connection with their fanbase, at least, will outlive any sceptical online discourse or the attention of fickle scene-hoppers. When the first of many stage-divers goes for the lip of the stage during early fan favourite Get What I Want, Lulu pauses their performance to encourage them: “You’ve got this.”
“You are not invited /Go cry me an island,” Angel sneers during HI‑5, a pummelling highlight from Speed Run, which causes a mosh pit to break out. But the hostility is just an act: everyone is invited to the after party a few blocks away at The End.
In the line for the cloakroom after the show, I overhear a fan who’s snagged a piece of the guitar Lulu smashed up during the set’s chaotic finale. “They’re just so… talented, and funny and cool,” their friend sputters in a daze. I wonder if the adoring duo will hit the after party. They’ll be into the event’s DJs: Frost Children, of course.