Lower Dens

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Lower Dens
Origin Baltimore, MD
Years active 2010–present
Labels Gnomonsong
Ribbon Music
Website http://lowerdens.com/
Members Jana Hunter
Geoff Graham
Nate Nelson
Past members Abram Sanders
Will Adams
Carter Tanton

Lower Dens are an indie rock band from Baltimore, MD.[1] The band was formed in 2010 by Jana Hunter, Geoff Graham, Abram Sanders and Will Adams. Lower Dens has released two albums: their debut on Gnomonsong and a follow up album on Ribbon Music.[2][3]


Formation and Twin-Hand Movement[edit]

The idea for the band formed when Jana Hunter, at that time performing as a solo artist under her own name, grew tired of touring and decided to take a hiatus from the road. For her final tour before this planned hiatus, she put together a backing band. The enjoyment Hunter got from playing with a band versus performing as a solo artist gave her the idea to form Lower Dens: "During that tour, I realised that it wasn’t the touring life that I hated, but more so that the kind of music I wrote as a solo artist wasn’t something I felt entirely comfortable sharing in a performance setting. Lower Dens then was eventual result of the decision to make music with the specific intention of sharing and enjoying it with others."[4] According to bassist Geoff Graham, the band's creative process starts with Hunter creating "song sketches" which the band finishes together: "Every song is different but we do try to make decisions democratically, and try every idea and then decide by majority what choices we make."[4]

After playing several shows in early 2010, the band released their first album Twin Hand Movement on July 20, 2010 via Gnomonsong. Pitchfork gave the album a rating of 8.1, comparing Hunter's vocals to those of PJ Harvey and Beach House's Victoria Legrand.[2] Dusted Magazine praised the album's lyrics, stating that they are "delivered without irony, yet self-aware enough to appreciate the obviousness."[5]

Nootropics and other projects[edit]

The band began writing their sophomore album while still on tour supporting Twin-Hand Movement. The limitations of writing on the road forced Hunter to work through a laptop and a keyboard rather than the guitar, which led to the increased presence of synths on the album: "I did try to write with a guitar on headphones through a tiny amp plugged into ... the cigarette lighter of the car, but that is an extraordinarily inefficient way to write music ... I talked the band into getting laptop; we got Garage Band and a MIDI digital interface keyboard, and that’s how most of the record was written."[6]

After finishing up touring for Twin-Hand Movement, the band chose to record their followup at The Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI. Hunter cited the studio's location as an imperative part of the recording process: "It's just very simple, and there are farm stands and a beautiful, great lake nearby. Fewer distractions meant more focus ... We slept nights in bunk beds above the studio. It was, in many ways, perfect."[7] Graham noted the amount of time spent in the studio as another important factor: "We had a month of working 7 days a week, living in the studio we were recording in ... we had time to add all these extra dimensions and it made things lusher and thicker."[4] In an interview with Stereogum, Hunter listed Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity, Fripp & Eno, and David Bowie's production on Iggy Pop's The Idiot as major influences during the writing and recording periods.[8]

Nootropics was released on April 30, 2012 via Domino Recording Company's Ribbon Music. The album received positive reviews from major publications including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Spin.[3][9][10] Joe Colly of Pitchfork praised the album's first single "Brains" for adding "krautrock and electronic touches to the group's signature guitar swirl" and suggesting "a new dimension and a new confidence" for the band.[3]

In April 2013, the band opened for Beach House and Yo La Tengo at the Baltimore stop of the latter's Fade tour.[11] In May 2013, the band released a new song called "Non Grata" via a split 7" with fellow Baltimore Band Horse Lords.[12] The 7" was released as a part of the Famous Class LAMC series, which benefits the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.




  • "Non Grata" (2013)


  1. ^ Heaney, Gregory. "Lower Dens - biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Colville, Liz (22 July 2010). "Lower Dens: Twin-Hand Movement review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Colly, Joe (1 May 2012). "Lower Dens: Nootropics review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Interview: Lower Dens". 7digital. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Donnelly, Ben. "Dusted Reviews: Lower Dens - Twin-Hand Movement". Dusted Magazine. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Rittweger, Peter. "Interview: Lower Dens". Free Williamsburg. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Coplan, Chris. "Interview: Jana Hunter (of Lower Dens)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Rachel, T. Cole. "Progress Report: Lower Dens". Stereogum. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Hermes, Will. "Nootropics". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Patel, Puja. "Lower Dens, 'Nootropics'". Spin. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Hilleary, Mike (February 21, 2013). "Yo La Tengo Announce North American Tour Supporting Fade". Under the Radar. 
  12. ^ Boast, Carris. "Lower Dens release charity split 7″". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 

External links[edit]