First Listen: DWNTWN "Cowboys EP"

DWNTWN are a new indie electro-pop duo from Los Angeles who have made some waves in recent weeks with a string of single releases in front of this week’s Cowboys EP, a four-track gem that highlights their dreamy pop sentimentality.  As with previously highlighted artists on this blog, Jamie Leffler and Robert Cepeda (DWNTWN) capitalize on the “day-time disco” feel emerging from southern California, infusing a dreampop haze over a laconic summery celebration.  Where artists like Goldroom and Poolside might opt for a laid-back soundtrack to the summer, however, DWNTWN is all pop, with hooks, chirps, and the cheerfully jubilant vocals of Leffler laid over the churning disco mix.

Early DWNTWN remixes and track previews highlighted a trancy club-ready sound, and it is to their credit that they scaled things back on the final release, opting to embrace the relaxed vibe of summer instead of latching on to the over-produced electro production so in vogue in downtown clubs.  The result is a quartet of songs that are both restrained and cathartic, invoking a nostalgiac sound much like m83’s Saturdays = Youth, a 2008 release that typified the pleasures of musical nostalgia.

The band had previously previewed “Hungry Hearts” and “Alamo Square” as single releases, but it’s the two new tracks on the EP that spark the most attention.  While “Believe Me” and “Hungry Hearts” are both capable of getting the poolside party started, DWNTWN also show off Leffler’s softer side with “Pioneer Square”, a lovely track that lends credence to the duo’s Facebook claim that “we’re kind of a folk band, but just happen to make electronic music.”  It’s a beautiful ballad, and hopefully a hint at what’s yet to come.

DWNTWN are also offering a free download of the whole EP via their very enjoyable tumblr below:


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