DWNTWN sounds like a fairly ordinary indie pop four-piece. A good indie pop four-piece, though; one that has two EPs under their belt and the Kitsune stamp of approval. The band’s formation in 2010 after a botched relationship between frontwoman Jamie Leffler and guitarist Robert Cepeda’s brother examples life’s inconsistencies. They added keyboardist / bassist Chris Sanchez and drummer Dan Vanchieri later. The Los Angeles band is set to release a third, self-titled EP on April 29th.
“Our process is trial and error, but mostly it’s try everything,” says Leffler. Theirs is a shimmery, soft-serve, light-surf, pure vanilla summer sound, similar to the likes of Seapony, and pr0files. DWNTWN adds the toppings on their upcoming EP: striped chocolate and caramel syrup vocals on lead single and duet, “Til Tomorrow”; macadamia nut bluegrass guitar on “Missing You”, a song written for Leffler’s late grandfather; and chocolate pastilles with “Skins”, where Leffler vies, “Tell me that you love me / tell me that you need me to stay.”
Vanchieri applies tambourine and timpani liberally to simple, focused beats, but it’s Cepeda’s songwriting talents that swirl folk-rooted melodies with arching synth harmonies. Perhaps the best moment on DWNTWN is “Blankets”, an infectious instrumental anthem that puts the cherry on top, or what have you. Like fast fashion, listeners will surely abuse the EP for a few months, potentially discard it or, more likely, forget it in the recesses of their music library. But DWNTWN‘s charm is in its vanilla timelessness: stumbled upon months or years later, it can still be worn and cherished.
DWNTWN is set to appear at Neck of the Woods in San Francisco this Friday, April 24th. (Tickets here.) We particularly enjoy their vaguely British cover of The 1975’s “Chocolate”, which you can grab below.