♫♪  The Lowered - Crayons Over Scalding Rocks

The ever-prolific Bridgetown Records snuck in a new batch of tapes before the end of 2014 populated with what the label’s journeyman head-honcho Kevin Greenspon calls “the underdogs” of the national DIY circuit he has incessantly patrolled for years now — acts, he believes, that have flown under the radar in spite of their clearly defined aesthetics and indefatigable work ethics. Crayons Over Scalding Rocks, the new tape by Ontario, CA outfit The Lowered, showcases a vision of ornately arranged singer-songwriter composition pitted somewhere between finger-style guitar complexity, the idiosyncratic croon of 60s-era Scott Walker, and the hush of shoegaze introspection.

Transfixing lead guitar lines frost the edges of the mix in busy melodic figures accenting the breathy vocals that reach us as confessions of acts we were not present to witness. Inventive production decisions cast instruments in different roles between songs, as drums alternate between back-of-the-mix accents, up-front agents of animation, or stuttering boom-bap breaks. The Lowered’s sophisticated arrangements lead us through clear upward trajectories of song structure and emotional intensity, shining in each sighed verse and minute burst of instrumental activity with another facet of crystalline rock/folk/pop expression.

• Bridgetown Records: http://www.bridgetownrecords.info

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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