The song came out of nowhere: seven minutes of shimmering guitar, luxurious drumroll, gauzy atmosphere, and melancholic singing. Against the odds in these quick-fix digital days, “Loveless” surfaced on YouTube in September 2016 and went viral. More remarkable still, nobody knew anything about the L.A. band that produced it: Rather than cultivating a social media presence, giving interviews, or releasing a music video, Lo Moon stayed silent, letting their craftsmanship stand on its own.
“We were lucky to let that song do the work; the music was the only thing that mattered,” says singer and songwriter Matt Lowell, a Long Island transplant. Bassist and keyboardist Crisanta Baker, who hails from Denver, and guitarist Sam Stewart, a Brit and the son of Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, join Lowell on stage. Working out of the garage-studio at Lowell’s house in Atwater Village, the three create a wistful, synthy sound—a mix of the xx’s cool and Rhye’s romanticism—that had them touring across the U.S. and Europe last fall with shoegaze legends Ride, indie giants Phoenix, and dream-pop act London Grammar.
The most remarkable thing of all? They’ve shared only three songs up to now. That changes on February 23, when they drop their highly anticipated debut LP, coproduced by Chris Walla (ex-Death Cab for Cutie) on Columbia Records and featuring cameos by two members of the War on Drugs. While the album cuts aren’t “Loveless”-length, “The Right Thing” and “Wonderful Life” also seed bright bursts of beat, keys, or strum within big, roiling soundscapes. The ten-song set seems to trace the arc of a specific relationship. “Actually, many specific relationships,” Lowell laughs.
He had no intention of rushing it. Case in point: Lowell began composing his breakout hit six years ago as a studio assistant in New York. “I’d written so many terrible songs,” he says. “But then ‘Loveless’ happened, and it felt like the beacon. I moved to L.A. to put a band together around this song.”
That was back in 2014. When Baker heard the demo, she was moved to air-drumming. The first time they held a session with Stewart, it morphed into a three- hour art-rock jam. The sound came nearly fully formed, and in a rare turn, a major label bit before Lo Moon had any fans—before “Loveless” even dropped. With an endorsement like that, this is one relationship Lowell should have no problem maintaining.
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