Lower Dens is a band from Baltimore, Mayland that does a great job at creating a hazy, nocturnal indie-rock sound. The group is equally good at creating dense, languid soundscapes of dream pop or favoring more tense arrangements and vocals that echo folk-punk and indie rock contemporaries.
While difficult to define by listing the group into one single style or genre, terms like freak folk, dream-pop or psychedelic rock are often associated with them. Much of the music is built on murky, ambient tones, like the soundtrack to a late night drive home in of the early weeks of autumn.
The textured sound of dream pop has received a lot attention in recent years from listeners and from critics. Groups like Beach House, Grimes or the Antlers have featured on many critics year end lists and have provided some of the more interesting modern alternative music. The lush, flowing arrangements of the music, of course seem to draw inspiration from the likes of Mazzy Star, Galaxie 500 or My Bloody Valentine. In fact, My Bloody Valentine’s much praised album Loveless would perhaps be the single best introduction to this style.
Lower Dens is one of several project featuring singer-songwriter Jana Hunter. The band also features members Will Adams, Geoff Graham and Abram Sanders. The group released it’s debut album in 2010, appropriately on indie hero, Devandra Benhart’s own label. Since then the group released two more albums, the most recent being 2015’s Escape from evil.
While the band may remind listeners of some of the groups previously listed, they inhabit their own little, dimly lit world. The songwriting is passionate, yet seems to strive not to reveal too many clear details about the writer’s feelings. It’s strength lies especially in the atmosphere it creates, with the band painting a picture of their world in dreamy, hypnotic detachment.