Listen Up: Lower Dens

Two of Stereogum’s top 20 overlooked albums of 2010, from Buke and Gass and Crocodiles, were in my (premature) best of 2010 list.  I came to new music kind of late in 2010, and a lot of good music came out last year, so I give myself a pass for missing a lot of things.  If I were to revise my list today, I’d keep those records on it, and the Buke and Gass album would keep its high spot on the list.

One album I didn’t hear in full until after posting my best of 2010 list is Lower Dens’ Twin Hand Movement.  This is an album that definitely belongs among my favorites for the year.

Their press sheet describes Lower Dens as a Baltimore band, led by weird-fi frontwoman Jana Hunter, that plays post-punk drone pop.  Okay, I guess somewhere in that description I start to get a hazy picture of what they really sound like.

I first discovered Lower Dens when I happened upon their 9-21-2010 Daytrotter Session, so that’s where I direct you first.  In the session, they play some of my favorites, including “Tea Lights” (love that beautiful, lilting guitar line, and the tone on the album version is especially lovely) and the fabulously titled “Two Cocks Waving Wildly at Each Other Across a Vast Open Space, A Dark Icy Tundra.”  After that teaser, you have to hear the whole album, on which you’ll be treated to gems like the glimmering, infectious “Hospice Gates,” and “Holy Water,” one of the first songs I’ve ever heard that I can compare with The Smiths’ “Oscillate Wildly” in that it’s so good that I didn’t notice on the first few listens that it’s an instrumental.

Twin Hand Movement was released in July of 2010, and Lower Dens have just released a new single, “Batman.”  They’re currently playing a handful of support dates in the Southeast with The Walkmen, and they hit SXSW this March.  They’re at the top of my list of bands to catch.

Lower Dens-“Tea Lights”

Lower Dens-“Hospice Gates”

Lower Dens-“Batman”

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