Have you ever headed to a show and glossed over the opening act? Or maybe you didn’t know there was going to be an opener. Yet when that first (or second) act of the night hits the stage, you’re absolutely blown away with their performance.
That moment for me was back in March of this year; a friend and I had scored tickets to see Cayucas, an indie pop/surf band at The Garrison in Toronto. We made our way inside, as the venue was slowly beginning to fill up. A few minutes later, the lights dimmed and out walked the opening act, fronted by a girl wearing sparkly red eye makeup and what looked to be a long red silk bathrobe. As the band started playing we were fascinated by the stage presence of this blonde songstress and her tight backing band. The opener was none other than Toronto up and comer Lowell, who proceeded to win over the audience with her set and leave us wanting more.
Lowell at Arts and Crafts Field Trip 2014
Fast forward to September 16, and after a summer of touring Lowell has released her first full length on local label Arts & Crafts. Since 2012, she’s been building her sound with two releases; a 5 song EP and a collaboration with European super group Apparatjik (featuring members of Coldplay and A-ha). With a voice similar to Grimes and Lykke Li, she compliments her impressive range with hard to ignore lyrical content. Using past experiences, Lowell writes about prominent social issues such as misogyny, sexual abuse, and gender roles.
Cloud 69 is the first single and Track 2 on We Loved Her Dearly; it combines Lowell’s ferocious chorus with urgent percussion. This song also introduces the listener to the much employed vocal layering found on the album; well placed “oos,” “heys,” and “ahs” that mix with the instrumentation of the songs. Not only is this catchy, but it gives Lowell’s music a sense of urgency and buildup that adds to the appealing beats.
Next is the song Summertime, somewhat of a comedown from the “dynamite “of Cloud 69. This song showcases some pretty solid keys and an upper range vocal melody that carries throughout. Speaking of keys; the next song is one of the standouts, The Bells. Starting off with jangling keys reminiscent of bells (go figure) and complimented with a synth, a beat kicks in laying the foundation for the song. Lowell then sings about these very things; the bells and the beat, weaving the melody in between them. If there was any doubt about Lowell’s pop music sentiments, this song confirms them and keeps it interesting from beginning to end. I personally think this is the most accessible and radio friendly song on the album (in a good way).
Another standout on the album is Palm Trees, a relationship type song that picks up with a cool guitar hook about half way through. Palm Trees is followed by two songs revolve that around Lowell’s former life as a ‘dancer’. I Killed Sara V. about her leaving that past behind, singing “so long Sara V” (her former stage name) and I Love You Money, capturing the high that easy money gives but also the problems it can create.
I Love You Money
But wait, there’s more! Lowell hits hard again with Track 10: LGBT, a personal message to the world (disguised as a catchy pop song) to accept people and let them be happy. Truthfully, this is what sums up We Loved Her Dearly; Lowell doesn’t necessarily preach to you but she gets in your head and makes you think.
Lowell has ambitions to eventually be a huge star like Madonna or Kanye West; she’s also been recognized by Rolling Stone and other big name publications. If she continues influence the masses with great music accompanied by an electric live show, anything is possible.
Stream We Loved Her Dearly from Soundcloud here: