Honeycomb, Bedbug by Lowertown album review by Leslie Chu. The duo's debut for Dirty Hit Records, drops on December 11th

Dirty Hit Records

7

Lowertown

Honeycomb, Bedbug

Fresh out of Atlanta, Georgia are Lowertown, the duo of Olivia Osby and Avsha Weinberg. They’re high school friends, but saying so makes them sound like much older friends than they are: they’re both quite fresh from graduating. But since doing so, they’ve already released an album, last year’s Friends. They’ve also signed to the 1979’s label Dirty Hit for their latest EP, the six-song Honeycomb, Bedbug.

Produced by Weinberg, Honeycomb, Bedbug is as cosmic and cold as it is heartfelt and warm. Lowertown value simplicity, though they shine with webs of guitar.

Wintry chords open the first track, “Best Person You Know.” Osby’s voice comes crashing in like Karen O on a Show Your Bones cut. Osby puts on a proud face in spite of her confused emotions over falling out with a toxic friend. “Do you believe in God or anything at all? What morals do you stand by? Have your standards started to fall?” she asks, questioning his principles and beliefs. “Best Person You Know” would have wrapped up at the two-and-a-half-minute mark, but that’s where the song really gets interesting. Over the final two minutes, the song decays into a brief flurry of unaccompanied guitar notes. The tiny storm then sucks in drums and a more textured mix of acoustic and smoky, pedal-fed guitars.

On “Praise That Shitty House,” an off-kilter guitar melody offsets Osby’s sweet vocals. Delicate guitars weave over light drums in front of a canopy of ambient guitar. The song harkens back to Modest Mouse‘s navel-gazing early work. In contrast, the crisp, clear, sharp guitar work on “Selfish Salesman” calls to mind Pavement.

Osby finds herself disoriented on “Alone Again.” The shimmering song feels like staring out from a pier rocked by inclement weather. “Do you still exist, or were you here at all? / It’s been so long, I can’t remember the things I used to be familiar with.” Sung in a spoken, if not mumbled, voice, she gets little lost in the sound mix.

I’d say Osby and Weinberg’s age shows in the inspiration behind “Tourist Trap” – the cyclical malaise of doing nothing but trudging between school and home – but for many people, such drudgery doesn’t end at adulthood. Her melancholy seeps through her half-spoken vocals.

I’d say Osby and Weinberg’s age shows in the inspiration behind “Tourist Trap” – the cyclical malaise of doing nothing but trudging between school and home – but for many people, such drudgery doesn’t end at adulthood. Her melancholy seeps through her half-spoken vocals.

The thoughtful songs Honeycomb, Bedbug contain a bedroom intimacy. But whether Lowertown decide to write something grander in musical scope or deeper in emotional depth, it’s clear they have the ability.