What better way to kickstart your week than to give away free music, courtesy of L.A quartet DWNTWN.
The world of pop music is littered with stories of awkward beginnings, but in the case of Los Angeles synth pop outfit DWNTWN, the meeting of founding members Jamie Leffler and Robert Cepeda takes uncomfortable beginnings to a whole new level. “I was dating Robert’s brother,” explains Leffler. “And then when he and I broke up I pretty much immediately started a band with Robert.”
The band, which initially started as a heartbroken lark back in 2010, eventually became a full-time pursuit. They first made waves after appearing on two different Kitsune compilations—“See My Eyes” appeared on Kistune America and “Move Me” (a collab with Giraffage and Jhameel) on Kitsune America 2.
Eventually expanding from a duo to playing live as a four-piece—releasing a handful of singles and two excellent EPs (Cowboys and The Red Room) in the process—the band have grown from shy bedroom recordists and reluctant performers into a formidable pop outfit (logging time on the road with the likes of Capital Cities and Gold Fields). On the band’s new EP, the self-titled DWNTWN, their music comes into even sharper focus—heartfelt daydreams distilled into pitch-perfect 3-minute confections. The kind of music made for late-night makeouts, winsome self-reflection, or better yet—endless sun-filled drives with the top down.
The four songs on the DWNTWN EP—the follow up to 2012’s self-released The Red Room—represent a quantum leap forward for the band and present a lovely soft-focus statement of intent. The EP’s first single, “Til Tomorrow” is the sort of jangly, pop gem that wouldn’t sound out of place on an old Phoenix or St. Etienne record. Breezy but far from slight, the tracks on DWNTWN manage to weave music a much broader sonic palette. “Missing You,”—a song that addresses the passing of Leffler’s grandfather–is one of the only songs in recent memory to make the marriage of synths, handclaps, and a banjo sound like the most natural thing in the world. Elsewhere, tracks like “Skins” and “Blankets” employ the kind of seamless production and breathless vocals (not to mention heavenly synth-scapes that could have drifted off of a long-long Tangerine Dream single) that make DWNTWN a truly sanguine listening experience—feather light electro-pop melodies with just the right amount of emotional kick.