Vocalist-guitarist Christopher Owens left the band he cofounded, lo-fi-leaning indie-rock critical darlings Girls, this past July. After citing personal reasons, he tweeted, “I need to do this in order to progress.” Now his vision is starting to make a bit more sense. Today, he announced the release of his first solo LP, Lysandre – “named for a girl he met whilst in France for a festival performance,” according to his website — which is essentially a concept album about Girls’ first tour, dating back to 2008.
Today he’s shared the opening two Lysandre tracks, which you can listen to below. The first is “Lysandre’s Theme,” a flute-driven folky, almost psychedelic interlude that introduces the hushed tones of “Here We Go.” From there, Owens sings over acoustic guitar and piano about flying to New York City and ruminating broken hearts. Musically, it has more in common with the more orchestrated tracks on Girls’ last album, 2011’s Father, Son, Holy Ghost, than the staticky guitar-melting garage pop of the album he was touring during the time he’s singing about. To tie the concept together, Owens told The Fader he never left the key of A for the record.
As for the actual concept, Owens said that it was all from his personal perspective. “This is some of what I was feeling,” he told The Fader. “A little window into my soul.” “Lysandre’s Theme” dates back to August 8, 2008 (though he doesn’t specify whether he wrote it at 8 o’clock), shortly after the titular “girl” stayed with him in San Francisco. He conceptualized the story and started writing the music in January 2009, so this must have been weighing on him for a while. The pair tried to make it work but (spoiler alert) they broke up in 2010. “After leaving Girls and deciding to try to work in an even more personal manner than I had before — not as a member of a band — this seemed perfect,” Owens continued, where he goes into deeper detail about the album’s concept. “It’s my story and it should be told like this. Personally.”
Lysandre arrives January 15 via Fat Possum. Stream “Lysandre’s Theme” and “Here We Go” below: