Be forewarned. Listening to this Emily Rodgers track takes some time. Not because you’ll not be immediately struck by Rodgers’ voice, but because the song sprawls over 7 minutes. In order for you to fully capture the emotion within, you’ll need to stay tuned til the end. Clearly, the voice is the star here, but I don’t think it could really shine as brightly without the various touches placed here and there; you’ll hear a slide guitar shifting towards the sunset, but a guitar with a different tone hits just after the 3.5 minute mark, building yet another layer. Oh, and Kramer (who recorded Low and Galaxie 500) did the recording of this new record, so you know it’s going to be great. The album is titled 2 years and will be released by Misra on June 10th.
I met up with Brian, our photographer just after 8 on Tuesday night, a little anxious and a little weary. Low, since the late 90s has been a consistent part of my listening experience, not to mention one that I’ve often had trouble explaining my fandom. But, if anything, I left the venue that night with an expression of gratitude, to the band and the many fans that filled the Parish; it was one of those musical encounters few will understand…but those that do will cherish.
Be it the cover or the song itself, everything about this track screams psychedelic nod. Lucky for Golden Daze the execution is pretty spot on, and has just enough of a hint of pop accessibility to push it into my stream of listening. There’s a steady drift to the track, coming in all directions from the vocals, guitar sound and the song’s overall pacing. Something pleasant breaks through the song in the end, begging you to play it again and again, which is always a positive sign for any listener. Look for the group’s debut self-titled album on February 19th via Autumn Tone.
Low has been around the game for years now and have put out more than their fair share of hits. With such a history, you’d think the well had run dry, but as evidenced by this jam “What Part Of Me”, the band is still capable of producing gems. This one is a short and sweet lo fi track worthy of being labeled a pop hit. Press play and enjoy.
Low will drop Ones and Sixes via Sub Pop on September 11th.
It appears that my offerings on this Tuesday are going to be a bit up the sad bastard stream, or the slow core or whatever other genre we can toss at the downtrodden tunes. This tune’s great; it was great the first time Low did it on Things We Lost in the Fire. Now, however, it’s being retouched up by rising star, Nothing. I love the fact that the song still captures the emotion of the original; it still sounds just as frail as it did originally, showing that the band is covering this for more than just kicks. It clearly has meaning to the group, as it does for me, so perhaps you’re one of those folks too who’ve always been attached to the craftsmanship of Low. Give this a listen and see how you feel.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Nothing-In-Metal-01-In-Metal.mp3]
Download: Nothing – In Metal [MP3]
Low has definitely been around for a while: since 1993 they have been crafting their signature slow core beats for the world to enjoy. Hailing from Duluth Minnesota, this three-part band certainly knows how to spin beautiful tales of whatever they fancy and if nine studio albums wasn’t testament enough to this, than this tenth should seal the deal.
To start things off, Low showcases their most distinctive quality right up front on “Try To Sleep.” Sounding distantly akin to that of some Mott the Hoople song, the album begins with the male/female harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. The light percussive tinkling in the background combined with the slow strumming of the thick guitars comes together to make for a killer groovy jam. Despite the predictability of this sort of sound, you can’t help but take comfort in the peaceful elegance that they create. They are able to drift from a grungier kind of sound to that of clear and compact, forming their own kind of musical genre. From the first to the second song you can see this transition fairly well. On “You See Everything,” Parker takes lead vocals, and her buttery voice just coats everything in a golden light of majesty. The song meanders its slow churning way along, with Parker putting her touch of sweetness upon the topmost layer.
For an album that doesn’t have a big change in tempo, it manages to stay interesting until the very end. “Nightingale,” the third to last track, leaps out as dark and formidable, but twists into a peaceful, but still somber lullaby-esque song. Sparhawk has this sour drawl-like quality to his voice that makes everything drenched in emotion; it’s easy to tell that this man puts a lot of himself into his music. His deep and powerful voice is similar to that of Matt Berninger from The National. Like Mr. Berninger, Sparhawk can convey maximum emotion with his minimalist style.
While C’mon does not falter in its strength, it does get a bit heavy after a while. It’s not too heavy that it would deter from further listening, rather, it grows on you. Low leaves with the feeling that this album was a long-term work that this band really strived to perfect. For a group that has been around for so long, this is true evidence of their talent and longevity and it is another great edition to their ever growing catalog of albums.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Try-to-Sleep-1.mp3]
Download: Low – Try to Sleep [MP3]
C’mon is out now on Sub Pop.
This tune has been all over since Friday, but it’s precisely the type of track that’s drawn me to Low for the past decade or so, which means I have to post it right? You’ll find the following tune on the band’s upcoming album, C’mon Baby, which Sub Pop is putting out on April 12th. While their last few records have demonstrated an edgier band, one that is much more forceful, long time fans will surely find this record a return to form, if one is to even say the band has fallen off form (they haven’t!). On this track you’ll find Mimi softly singing you into submission, as the band takes a much quieter approach to the orchestration and arrangements; this is the sort of stuff that will make you fall in love with Low, surely.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Low-Especially-Me.mp3]
Download: Low – Especially Me [MP3]
Indie veteran band Low are ready to release their first new album of new material since their underrated effort from 2007 Drums and Guns. The band’s new album is entitled C’Mon and features this new single “Try to Sleep”. It’s of course a slow burner from the group that helped invent the term “slow burner”. You can pick up a copy of the new record on April 12th via the always bad ass Sub Pop Records.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Try-to-Sleep-1.mp3]
Download: Low – Try to Sleep [MP3]
If you’ve been following closely along the careerpath of Low, you might have noticed that around 2005 the band turned it up a bit with The Great Destroyer, then forging further ahead with Drums & Guns. Why does the diveregence of a great minimalist band such as Low matter here? Well, this is Alan Sparhawks band, and the only difference between this and Low is the absence of his wife Mimi in exchange for drummer Eric Pollard. All this leads to one thing, 2, the second proper Retribution Gospel Choir album, is a further illustration that despite the solitude of old Low records, Alan seems to have always wanted to rock.
“Hide It Away” builds from the minute you press play on your stereo, with Pollard’s drums lying in the background, providing a steady, if not powerful, backbone for the song. Of course, Sparhawk’s vocals soar in the foreground, with just the faintest hint of waivering.
If you didn’t believe he had this need for rock building in him for a long time, just check the forty second long “68 Comeback,” which begins with a bit of an homage to Black Sabbath (Paranoid?). This jumps right into the arena rocking moment that is “Workin Hard.” The chugging guitars and stomping drum sound all feel as if this was destined to fill out a large arena, yet somehow Sparhawk makes it feel rather intimate; a specialty he places here and there in his entire catalogue.
Still, you can feel the presence of his past workings throughout the record. Take “Poor Man’s Daughter,” for instance; it’s a song that feels an awful lot like 90s College Radio Rock, yet there is a certain depth that all Low records have that is present here too. There are also little mini-suites like the previously mentioned “68 Comeback” that show the group using ambient moments to influence to overall atmosphere of the record.
Personally, “White Wolf” is definitely a favorite number on 2. It sort of begins with a J. Mascis type riff, which brings back the whole classic alternative rock appeal that is present here, and when the chorus kicks in you just can’t help but feel elated. It gets straight to the point, and just hits you all the way through. Then it ends. This remains one of the most pleasant things about this album; the brevity of the songs allows for ultimate enjoyment. A lof of current guitar albums get a bit too over-indulgent (I’m looking at you metalheads), choosing to hear themselve, and their “chops,” more than craft the perfect song. Here, there is no such thing (if you get rid of one song, but don’t because it’s good). It makes for a precise rock album, one that fulfills without wasting too much time.
Alan Sparhawk has always been able to craft great songs, and this time he shows that he can do so by turning up the amps, and cranking out the energy. If you love Low, as I do, then you’ll surely find that 2 and Retribution Gospel Choir are perfectly suited for you.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/06-White-Wolf-1.mp3]
Download: Retribution Gospel Choir – White Wolf [MP3]
Alan Sparhawk(Low) and his side/solo project Retribution Gospel Choir plan to release a new sophomore album in 2010 called simply 2. Prior to that LP, check out this sweet new jam “Hide it Away” and decide if you’ll be picking this one up next year. We probably will be. 2 is available January 26th on Sub Pop Records.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/6177.mp3]
Download: Retribution Gospel Choir – Hide it Away [MP3]