Rania Woodard is a queer, black woman living in the south. North Florida isn't known for progressiveness, but that's where she and Brian Squillace formed LANNDS, a dreamy, psychedelic take on electro-pop that pushes back at the environment it's created in.
Rania grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, playing guitar in a Pentecostal church; playing street gigs with local blues guitarists in the summers; and writing pop-country songs on the side. Then she moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where she met North Carolina-born producer Brian Squillace. Inspired by her pop sensibility and emotional approach to songwriting, his trippy sonic palette, and their shared commitment to creating progressive art in the deep south, they offer up their third EP, "lotus."
For LANNDS, "lotus" represents a turning point. After the release of their first EP, they found initial success by featuring on Spotify's "Fresh Finds" and catching the attention of taste-maker blogs like Neon Gold and Line of Best Fit. Following their second EP in 2018, they toured supporting TENDER and played an official SXSW showcase. Afterwards, they spent a year working on a third release. But they scrapped the project after taking LSD together, concluding that they'd been weighed down by self-doubt. With "lotus" they eschewed all outside influence, pushing to make sounds that moved them and felt authentic.
The result is a pulsing, urgent work that captures raw emotion and embodies the DIY ethos of LANNDS -- all writing, recording, artwork, and video content is done by Rania and Brian. Reaffirming Rania's commitment to pushing boundaries and normalizing people of color in indie music, the album exists on its own plane, merging vocals that make you want to cry with a beat that makes you want to dance.
Claire Landsbaum - Vanity Fair