Arts, Column

YNFA: Lowertown Strives to Reinvent Itself on Every New Album

Some bands like to have a distinct, recognizable sound. Other bands, like the Flaming Lips, challenge this notion and reinvent themselves on every album. 

Olive Osby and Avsha Weinberg of Lowertown, an indie rock band started in Atlanta, would hate for any album they release to sound like “a classic Lowertown album.” 

“It would be embarrassing,” Weinberg, the lead guitarist, said.

Lowertown released its second full album, I Love to Lie, on Oct. 21. Coming off the release of an EP The Gaping Mouth in 2021 and a self-recorded album Friends in 2019, the pair went for more of an aggressive sound that comments on world issues and conveys a diverse array of emotions, Weinberg said. 

Right off the bat, Lowertown achieves its goal with “My Friends,”  the first track on I Love to Lie. The song begins with a heavy-hitting drum beat before the guitar comes in, giving the same sound you’d find in ’70s punk songs. Lead singer Osby’s intense, almost screaming vocals deliver her exhaustion and feeling of anxiety surrounding her friends. 

“My friends drain me full / Drink my blood then ask for more,” Osby sings. 

“Bucktooth” addresses current political issues, including gun control, in its lyrics with a folk- and punk-inspired sound as the backdrop. This third track on I Love to Lie is the album’s lead single and perfectly leads the way for the direction that Lowertown goes in on the album.

“I can’t handle anymore, can’t handle anymore, can’t handle anymore guns,” Osby sings in the chorus of “Bucktooth.” 

The album oscillates between hard and soft, going for more of a punk-inspired sound on tracks like “I’m Not” and “Scum” and a classic, indie, bedroom-rock vibe on “Antibiotics.” 

The track Osby was most excited for on I Love to Lie is a strong contrast to the rest of the album. “Waltz in Aflat Major,” the second-to-last song on I Love to Lie, opts for a mellow, orchestral, melancholy sound. The song sets the tone for what listeners may be in store for on future Lowertown albums.

“We said we want to do something more orchestral the next time, but I just think the underlying theme is we just want to keep maturing and [not] make the same album again” Osby said. 

I Love to Lie greatly contrasts the bands more acoustic albums Friends and The Gaping Mouth.  Lowertown’s first two albums have a similar chill sound to each other, making the edginess of I Love to Lie a nice change to its discography. 

Osby and Weinberg formed Lowertown when they met in their sophomore year of high school after Osby transferred to Weinberg’s school. Osby and Weinberg had been pursuing music individually at the time. 

Osby got into music through writing poetry at the age of 13, she said. She started to listen to more alternative music before writing her own and putting it online. 

Weinberg said he has a classical and jazz background from lessons starting when he was three years old. He really got into music later in life, though, when he taught himself drums, bass, and guitar. 

Weinberg had been drifting through the Atlanta music scene for a while when he met Osby. He had demos that he was looking for someone else to sing because he was self conscious about his own voice. Weinberg asked Osby to sing on the tracks, marking the start of Lowertown. 

A memorable bonding trip to an area in Ottawa, Canada called Lowertown inspired the name of the band. The duo visited this part of Canada to work on demos. 

Lowertown will open for Beabadoobee on its fall 2022 U.S. tour that started on Oct. 25. Lowertown had previously opened for the bands Wet Leg and Porches after Weinberg and Osby graduated high school in 2020. 

The experience of touring after nearly two years of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic made playing music a drastically different experience than how the band had in the past, Weinberg said. Seeing that many people in one space made performing their music feel overstimulating, according to Weinberg and Osby.

For the Beabadoobee tour, Osby said she wants to work on letting go and fully being herself on stage. 

“I was really stressed about the performance the whole time [on past tours] and I think stressing so much about the performance impeded my performance,” Osby said. “So I think that one of my biggest goals [on this tour] is just to sort of be a little bit more unhinged.”

November 10, 2022