Posts Tagged ‘ Lower Dens ’

[LIVE REVIEW] Deerhunter and Lower Dens at The Earl

None of my pictures will import for some reason, so I stole this one from my roommate. Thanks, Sarah.

My review of this past Sunday’s Deerhunter/Lower Dens show at The Earl is up over at Dead Journalist.  You can read it here.

This was my favorite Deerhunter show of the 5(?) that I have seen, but I was reluctant to lean too heavily on the superlatives in the review because I never saw any of the early, pre-Cryptograms club shows.  By the time I moved to Atlanta in 2009, they had already been a major indie act for a few years.  The first time I saw them was in 2007, in an outdoor space with probably 3,000 other people, and it honestly didn’t do much for me.  Neither did Cryptograms (although I think the Fluorescent Grey EP is their best release).  Their more ambient stuff never drew me in, which is strange because I’m typically a sucker for bands that strike the balance between ambient and rock that they went for on that album.

I’ve come to like them much more over time, and I think Halcyon Digest is their best album, but I don’t feel like I’m enough of a fan to make sweeping statements about their career.  Maybe things would be different if I had seen them on that first tour they did with Liars, or had I lived in Atlanta in their early club days.  As it is now, though, I’m just a moderate fan with deep respect for what they do.

I didn’t mention Lonnie Holly’s opening performance with Bradford and Cole in my review because I wasn’t there.  I was over at Small Reactions’ last-minute house show earlier, and Lower Dens had already started when I walked into The Earl.  The Blue Indian has a pretty good review of that performance (with video) here.  You can see the whole set (plus video of Lower Dens and Deerhunter) on ifilmbands’ YouTube channel, too.

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This week’s shows (9/13/2010-9/19/2010)

Lower Dens

Monday (9/13/2010)

All Tiny Creatures do the experimental/krautrock/minimalism thing with accessibility and personality. I think they kind of sound like Silver Apples. They’ll be at 529 on Monday. Nomen Novum opens, Roman Photos headline.

Tuesday (9/14/2010)

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriters Sharon Van Etten and Marissa Nadler will be at 529. Van Etten has a voice that floors, and she’s touring with a full band for the first time ever. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a couple months. Unfortunately, this show conflicts with a pretty great drone lineup over at Eyedrum: Expo ’70, Lid Emba, and Brainworlds would be slam dunk on any other night.

Wednesday (9/15/2010)

Lower Dens were fantastic opening for Future Islands at 529 and Criminal Records back in May (my review), and their debut album is one of the year’s best. Do not miss them at 529 with local openers The Back Pockets and Spirits and the Melchizedek Children.

Thursday (9/16/2010)

Packed night. Young Antiques headline Star Bar’s free Thursday show. Mermaids are back from their first tour, opening for Vermillion Sands and Tiger! Tiger! at 529. Local folk-punks The Wild play with terrifically-named Phoenix folk-punks Andrew Jackson Jihad at WonderRoot. And finally, new K Records band Christmas play Highland Inn Ballroom with Untied States.

Friday (9/17/2010)

Edan will be at 529 with Noot d’Noot and a screening of his new film. This will probably sell out. There’s also Athens dance band Reptar headlining the Drunken Unicorn.

Saturday (9/18/2010)

There’s a Beach Party at Wells St Warehouse with The Coathangers, Mermaids, The Clap, Predator, and Balkans (and maybe more?). There aren’t really a lot of details online, but I assume it’s a day show. The Coathangers and Predator also play later that night at Star Bar as part of the Totally Titties breast cancer benefit, along with GG King, Baby Dinosaurs vs. Extinction, and more. Edan does 529 again, this time with Patten Locke and Dillon. The best bet is at Drunken Unicorn, though: Candy Claws, This Piano Plays Itself, and Living Rooms is too good a lineup to pass up. The new Candy Claws album is great; look for a review here in the next couple of days.

Sunday (9/19/20)

I can’t say I really recommend Laura Veirs & whatever it is now with The Watson Twins at The Earl, but it’s something that is happening on Sunday, and I don’t really see anything else.

Review: Lower Dens – Twin-Hand Movement

Lower Dens – Twin-Hand Movement

Genres are great for lazy reviewers because they provide shortcuts.  Call something post-punk and the reader immediately thinks of the moodiness of Joy Division or the rhythms and spiky guitars of Gang of Four.  Call it dream-pop and you’re conjuring Mazzy Star and Cocteau Twins.  It’s a bitch when you come across something like Lower Dens that you can’t easily slap a label on.  They’re too grounded to be considered dream-pop, but too airy to comfortably wear the post-punk tag.

When I saw them back in May, this is how I described them: “They do fuzzy drone-pop that sounds like what might happen if Charalambides lost their patience and decided to record a rock album.  Not that they’re much like a traditional rock band – texture is emphasized over hooks.”

After spending some time with their debut album, Twin-Hand Movement, I’m not sure that description is totally accurate.   For starters, Lower Dens are definitely a rock band, one with a tight rhythm section and guitars that sound like guitars.  They’ve also got hooks, as evidenced by songs like “Tea Lights” and “Hospice Gates,” either of which would more than hold its own on a mixtape.

I’m not completely backing down on that texture comment, though.  The greatest strength of Lower Dens is their ability to incorporate interesting sonics into a fairly straightforward rock format that ultimately sounds like something fresh.  Bass and drums usually hold the tracks together, leaving the guitars free to explore the space around the songs.  That sounds like an approach that could lead to overly indulgent wankery, but it’s not.  With the exception of the 6 minute “Plastic & Powder,” which sounds like it could be one of the mopier Kim Gordon tracks from the early Sonic Youth albums, the songs on Twin-Hand Movement mostly stay between 2 and 4 minutes.  They jam econo through 11 tracks in under 40 minutes.  It feels like it’s about half that long, which is usually a good sign.

If you’re in Atlanta, go see them at 529 on September 15th.  Here’s a kinda trippy live video:

Balkans, Future Islands, Lower Dens, #Phonepunk# @ 529, 5/8/10 (pics + FI setlist)

Future Islands

Review, pics, and Future Islands’ setlist after the jump.

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