It’s a New Year and the ebbs and flows of artistic creativity is something I find interesting. It seems like as we reflect on the year prior (in whatever way you do that, trying to avoid my tendencies of “bah-humbug” ranting); there is a lot of inspiration that comes from it. Hence, January also seems to be fertile ground for a outpouring of new releases. This is a fantastic phenomenon for me. Just days into the New Year, I have come across a lot of releases I am super excited about. Case in point, Norwich-based band The Lowtones, and their latest single slated for release 01-16-2023, titled “Radio.” The Lowtones aren’t necessarily “new, new” as #LT1KF has covered their debut EP “Front Row Empty” in April of 2022 and their debut single “Breaking Out” in December of 2021, but they are kind of new to me in terms of music discovery. I wrote about lead singer Oliver Mavilio’s solo work earlier in 2022 and was super smitten by it. It’s been a favorite of my Bandcamp collection over the past few months. So, when I got hold of the press release for The Lowtones and made the connection that this was Mavilio’s band, suffice it to say I was pretty stoked to give it a listen. It does not disappoint! A bit of a spoiler alert is that when this thing drops it’s going right into my monthly Podcast’s Top 10, that’s how much I enjoyed it. Punchy drums, driving bassline, dynamic guitarwork beautifully blending fuzz and reverb, and Mavilio’s distinctive lyricism and vocal delivery, it all sounds killer. This track was recorded, mixed, and produced at Brass Monkey Studio in North Norfolk by Tom Joy.
As with the story of many bands recently, the formation of The Lowtones came about during the time of lockdown in 2020. The band’s lineup consists of:
- Jack Abbott – guitars/bass
- Tim Cary – guitars/bass
- George Abbott – Drums
- Oliver ‘Mav’ Mavilio – Vocals
Jack and George are brothers who mutually knew Mavilio since High School. Tim a mutual friend through George by way playing football. Subsequent to studies in Brighton, Mavilio found himself back in Norfolk at the beginning of 2020. He reached out to his old friends about jamming once again, to which they involved Tim and thus The Lowtones were born. Their sound reminds me of a classic post-punk, new wave aesthetic from the 1980s, but of course revamped and modernized thanks to the evolution of that era, technology, etc. In this particular track the first two artists that come to mind in a way of influence are The Cure and The Clash. The guitars are edgier than what I’d expect on average in that genre, so I lean towards saying that I am also reminded of Killing Joke in a way as well. It’s funny, there are a few artists I have come across in the last year or so that do such a great job of revamping that sound and taking it to the next level. Admittedly, I didn’t have the appreciation for it that I do today. Better said, I had the appreciation but didn’t revel in it the way I do these days. I totally love hearing the new takes and revisiting those old classics with new ears. I blame artists like The Lowtones and The Star Crumbles for refining my palate and awakening me to post-punk and new wave in such a new way. Aside from the aforementioned artists, The Lowtones are also a good recommendation for fans of Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Damned etc.
Lyrically, the song is a bit stark, as you might expect if you are familiar with their previous work and/or Mavilio’s. They speak to hardships, sorrow, and other introspective headspaces. Regarding what the lyrics are about when it comes to “Radio,” Mavilio says:
“This is a stalemate of intrusive thoughts, and the battle against a self-critical inner narrative. From The Start – Is a song about accepting the harsh truth of becoming an out-of-favour option, seeking closure.“
Over the last year, The Lowtones have played at Wildpaths Festival, a sold-out show on the BBC Introducing stage, and even crossed the Atlantic to play Chelsea Music Hall in New York (but still yet to play London, they are quick to remind you). With this new single coming out, once again January 16th, and the band teasing more to come in the very near future (four songs recorded so far); 2023 is looking to be an exciting time to keep up with The Lowtones.
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