Jana Hunter has been mingling subdued folk music and spacey psychedelia since her days in Houston's Matty & Mossy, her late-'90s band that reminded some music scribes at the time of Smog and Cat Power. A few years later, she and friend Devendra Banhart were in the middle of indie-rock's infatuation with "freak-folk." Hunter moved to Baltimore around 2007 and started Lower Dens shortly after that; it wouldn't be quite right to call it an abrupt break with her past, but this band is a different animal altogether. The quartet's second album, last month's Nootropics (Ribbon Music), occasionally approaches pop ("Candy," the Can-ish "Brains") but is overall a forlorn soundscape where Hunter's chilly echo-chamber vocals float above faint guitar and down-tempo electronics. It's both soothing and a little threatening. Lower Dens has visited several times for festivals (Free Press Summer Fest 2011, KTRU's Outdoor Show this past April) and one-off gigs, but Monday marks the band's first national headlining tour stop in Hunter's former hometown. See an interview with her this Friday on our Rocks Off music blog (blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks).
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