Music

Lichens!

The Psychic Nature of Being Robert Lowe

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WAIT. ROB LOWE has a psychedelic project? The revered thespian who stole the show in Wayne's World and St. Elmo's Fire? Oh, hold on, this is Robert Lowe!

This (infinitely hipper) Lowe is part of a new breed of millennial art-rockers who—as they slip into their 30s and the tides of time and tinnitus start to take their toll—are transitioning from clattering noise-punk to smooth and glacial meditations. Lowe initially cut his teeth as the bass and coronet player for Midwest math-rockers the 90 Day Men. After three critically lauded albums that spanned everything from post-hardcore freakouts to glam-tinged synth-punk, the band went on hiatus, leaving Lowe to explore his long-nascent solo venture.

What emerged was Lichens, a project that debuted at Arthur magazine's Million Tongues Festival and has gone on to collaborate with nü-folk golden boys like Devendra Banhart and Castanets.

Lichens' debut, The Psychic Nature of Being, is a patient and ruminative affair indeed. The first two pieces, "Kirlian Auras" and "Shoreline Scoring," are a slow burn of wordless chants and ominous, warbling drones that hover serenely until they're slowly swallowed up by waves of acoustic guitar. (Imagine Ry Cooder and Popul Vuh melding minds in the astral plane). The third and most developed of this song triad is "You Are Excrement, You Can Turn Yourself into Gold," a nod to alchemical mysticism that conjures up images of Martian deserts and Alejandro Jodorowsky films. Each track is a single-take improvisation but, like Lichens' fungal namesake, Lowe's work flourishes with aural nooks and crannies that can be relished on multiple listenings.

So come out tonight and see Lowe do his thing with the likeminded folks of Cloudland Canyon, White Rainbow, Valet, and Acre. It will be much, much better than Rob Lowe's sax playing in St. Elmo's Fire. That's a promise.

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