Photo: Norman Wong.
Back in the beginning of the early aughts, a band by name of Alice in Videoland surfaced. Its unique blend of rocker-chick meets deep-Euro-house knocked down the doors of traditional pop and set the sound and look for the burgeoning Internet subculture.
Fast forward to today where the electroclash genre has evolved into more sub-genres than one can count on two hands and feet, and girls like Karen O and Beth Ditto have become icons of bad-gal pop. That's where Lowell comes in. The Calgary-born singer has shaped her sound around a delicate balance between disco ball pop and hard-edge rock. Her newest release, I Killed Sara V., reads like one massive artist statement for Lowell. Going from the basement raunch of "Cloud 69" to the fantastical sounds of "The Bells" to the mellowed-out "Palm Trees," Lowell creates the most succinct portrait of that one alt girl you wish you could be but never had the gall to commit to.
She has a cheeky ability to come off as innocent, but there's this knowing sense that she's crossing two fingers behind her back thinking back to some recent debauchery. "I'll let you know that I can be unfaithful, but I like to tell you when I'm going to stray," she croons on "88." Girl's got some nerve, and it's damn near infectious. I Killed Sara V. is a glittering collection of dance tracks and basement jams (think: Oh Land meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). This is one underground pop party we wouldn't mind getting all sweaty at — with or without Sara V. there.