Low: Classic or classic?

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Self explanatory, I'd have thought. I'm listening to the new Low album, 'Things we lost in the fire': it's fantastic, of course. Have I lost all sense of perspective on these things, or can anyone seriously doubt the greatness and majesty of Low?

alex thomson, Saturday, 17 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

rabid low fans: dud or dud? or rather, low fans: wowed by gap commercials or hopeful mormons?

ethan padgett, Saturday, 17 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

*yawn* blandly pleasant but ultimately characterless and forgettable. occasionally catchy. ever wonder if they're just too lazy to play fast?

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 17 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classic, but I have my doubts about the new album.

Josh, Saturday, 17 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

sundar - i downloaded a mp3 medley were thewy playee misfits covers really fast...so the answer on the lazy question is no...-)

Jens, Saturday, 17 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Hey, I like 'em -- even crashed on my apartment floor once back in 1994. Got the new album today but have not yet had a chance to give it an ear.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 18 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Christian rock sucks, dude.

I think they're alright, I think their obvious dedication to their sound and art is fairly admirable, but the resulting records don't move me (the Christmas one is quite nice).

In some of the praise of them there's an undertow of virtues-of- simplicity stuff, and I can see why - when I listen to Low the word that often comes to mind is 'quaint'. You feel a little better for owning a Low record, I suppose, like a piece of handmade furniture or something. They're not classic.

Tom, Monday, 19 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Undertow? The whole damn point to their first three albums is the virtue of simplicity - simplicity at one possible extreme.

Josh, Monday, 19 February 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Dud.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 13 March 2001 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
Josh, could you discuss (even partially) the change in Low from "Curtain Hits the Cast"-era to "Thing We Lost in the Fire"- era, either on this thread or on your blog. I only own "I Could Live in Hope" and I can't discern any noticeable change of aesthetics in the band in later records from reading reviews. It seems the majority of record reviewers don't delve into the band's records at any deeper level than "Here's another Low record from the frigid plains of Duluth, Minnesota and it's slow and depressing again. Suprise!" If your answer is "Just listen to the darn albums!", then I'll accept that.

Mitch Lastnamewithheld, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Here you go. Listen to the damn albums, too - I think "Hope," "Curtain," and "Things" in sequence make the case a lot more convincing.

Josh, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

And here's my response -- more of an addendum of sorts, really, since I pretty much agree widdim.

Phil, Friday, 20 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Thanks, guys. I have the feeling I should purchase "Curtain Hits.." sometime in the near future.

Mitch Lastnamewithheld, Saturday, 21 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I think they are holy and beutiful. So simple and elegant . Low key really like a shaker cupboard.

anthony, Saturday, 21 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

not quite classic, but have been close in the past. long division, curtain, secret name, deadpilot, all have some truly beautiful songs, but don't gel as albums - too many mediocre songs as well, they all get the cdprogram treatment from me, this is probably what prevents them from achieving the classic status. i still haven't played the new one yet, just haven't been in the right mood for it.

gareth, Sunday, 22 July 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
pinefox, I am shocked!

ha I never said on this thread that 'the curtain hits the cast' is one of my few most favorite albums ever.

Josh, Monday, 1 July 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Calssically dud?

Julio Desouza, Monday, 1 July 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

i watched that low documentary on cable last nite. maaaaaaaan, was that boring. not even two members of napalm death could pep things up. HOW IRONIC LOW DUDE THEY ARE IN NAPALM DEATH AND YOU ARE IN LOW AND YOU ARE IN THE SAME BUILDING WHAT ARE THE ODDS. on the other hand, it made me want to listen to low records. i do like low. and watching low live from my couch is, if you ask me, the best friggin' place on earth to watch low live.

scott seward, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

hahah, interesting post. a boring documentary that made you wanna listen to the records. i can see that. good documentary i guess, rather slow, i own it but have only watched it once, so far.

stephen, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

the live footage is indeed superb.

stephen, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

that's the Low In Europe thing, right? I've got that DVD too, should really watch it again too

StanM, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

they should have set up the most boring people alive premise even more than they did. they sould have called the doc: HOW LOW CAN YOU GO:THE DIRTY DULUTH 3 LAY WASTE TO EUROPE! with girls gone wild cover art.

scott seward, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

Maybe the sequel will be even lower

StanM, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:52 (ten years ago) Permalink

Low & Lowerer, with new bass player Jim Carrey

StanM, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:53 (ten years ago) Permalink

ultimately characterless and forgettable

lol. Heard Drums and Guns?

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 9 January 2008 22:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

it hadn't been released back then

electricsound, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 22:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

i have "low in europe" and only got halfway through it. hmm. and as you all know, i adore them.

vvv tickled to see the original post -- it was alex who got me into low, some ... fucking hell, 12 years ago now. christ.

grimly fiendish, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 22:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

which album do I listen to right now if I've never heard any of them before? quick!

Preview of the Matrix 12, Sunday, 27 January 2008 23:44 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think The Great Destroyer is very accessible, so that may be a good entry point. But I guess Things We Lost In The Fire might be a more representative disc.

A handful of songs on the new disc (called Drums and Guns) are also an excellent introduction to the band. Try, for example, this killer (no pun intended) version of Murderer, from a live, in-studio performance last year.

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 27 January 2008 23:48 (ten years ago) Permalink

Things We Lost in the Fire is a great introduction. I'd also recommend Secret Name, which was my intro, also very good.

stephen, Monday, 28 January 2008 20:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

Things We Lost in the Fire, definitely. Worked for me at least, from the first chord change.

Z S, Monday, 28 January 2008 20:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Anyone see that film about Low that's now showing on Pitchfork.tv? It's called You Might Need A Murderer. I didn't know how troubled Alan Spearhawk was. Semi-boring film, but a totally compelling band.

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 22 June 2008 01:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

Oh it's on Pitchfork.tv? Sweet, I saw it in the local record store today and passed on it ($20 brand new) but i'll totally watch it for free. One of my all time favorite bands, love these guys.

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 01:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

npr interview with the sparhawks a while ago that touched on his issues

mookieproof, Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

Catch it now, Stephen. It's the "One Week Only" feature on Pitchfork.tv.

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:14 (ten years ago) Permalink

That NPR interview is fascinating. Sparhawk dances around his problems some, but this is the first time I've heard he was suicidal.

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

Thanks Daniel, I'll be sure to check it out Sunday morning when i get up :D

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 03:53 (ten years ago) Permalink

Retribution Gospel Choir (Alan's new, catchier, LOUD, rock band) played a sparsely attended show in Montreal on Friday that was fucking amazing. PLayed their hearts out for we seated folk, left my ears so happily ringing. Was sad to see him loading up the van alone in the street afterward (last time I saw Low it was at ATP with another 1000 people). If Retribution Gospel Choir come to chez toi, go go go. terrific.

sean gramophone, Sunday, 22 June 2008 16:52 (ten years ago) Permalink

Low have subtley crept, over the course of about ten years, into the position of being my favorite existing band.

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

"subtly"

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

Some good discussion on this thread, methinks.

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

Retribution Gospel Choir (Alan's new, catchier, LOUD, rock band) played a sparsely attended show in Montreal on Friday that was fucking amazing.

ARGH I was on the list for this but couldn't go, damn you, job.

Simon H., Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:44 (ten years ago) Permalink

I've seen them 7-8 times since 1997 and have observed as the venue/audience size has grown in tandem with the expanse of the band's dynamic (louder choruses, distortion pedals and such). The songs from their last few records are perfectly suited to the mid-size theatres they play these days. But my favorite gigs were one in the mid-to-late 90's, when they would come through the Ann Arbor/Detroit area quite regularly and play at little hole-in-the-wall spots: The (small) audience would generally sit on the floor and remain dead silent until the band finished playing (save for the occasional applause). There was a communal reverence, churchlike almost, unlike anything else I've experienced at rock gigs (even a "seated" Yo La Tengo show from their And Then Nothing.. tour, in which the band/venue provided the audience with folding chairs, didn't come close). It was a beautiful thing to be a part of, really.

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 19:12 (ten years ago) Permalink

I totally get that. I'm sure you'd agree, though, that they deserve all the additional attention -- and higher audience attendance at shows -- that they now get. I'm with you: Low has become one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, band of the moment.

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 22 June 2008 19:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'll third that. Best band going today.

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 19:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

i saw RGC a few years back with Kozelek and they were alright but the drummer was really stiff; if it's the same guy I'm sure they've loosened up a bit. I'm assuming Kozelek isn't on this tour.

akm, Sunday, 22 June 2008 20:06 (ten years ago) Permalink

the best thing they played though was a crazy ass cover of "the carpet crawlers"

akm, Sunday, 22 June 2008 20:06 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'm sure you'd agree, though, that they deserve all the additional attention -- and higher audience attendance at shows

Yeah, it has actually been very rewarding to watch a humble little band like Low build and expand their aesthetic over the years, and at the same time gain popularity because of the sheer quality of their art. Even thought I have those fond memories of tiny quiet shows, I have no problem sharing Low with The World.

Strictly in terms of popularity, though, I know Low is bigger in Europe than The States, at least circa early-2000s. Was it that way in the mid-to-late 90's too? I'd been used to Low concerts being generally as described above. But then, in 2000, I moved to Dublin for college and twice saw Low in sold-out concerts at The Olympia, a fairly large theatre (fantastic shows both, one with cello!).

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 20:13 (ten years ago) Permalink

"thought" = though

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 20:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

stop all the clocks, quieten all the whisperings about low's republican tendencies:

low are playing an obama benefit somewhere.

they're also doing christmas shows in the uk, in november.

schlump, Thursday, 17 July 2008 11:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

whoa

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 15:02 (two months ago) Permalink

Very excited for this. I thought that Ones and Sixes was a great look for them (especially the colder parts like the first two tracks and "DJ") and am pleased that they seem to have travelled some distance further down that road.

"Quorum" really does sound like Autechre.

Tim F, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 17:52 (two months ago) Permalink

Going #fullBrad here but aoty. This is amazing.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:42 (two months ago) Permalink

I've listened to these 4-5 times and I'm just mad we have to wait three months for the rest

Simon H., Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:43 (two months ago) Permalink

For real.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:47 (two months ago) Permalink

Didn't see this coming at all. Awesome music.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 19:07 (two months ago) Permalink

There's video too, suitably glitchy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvEozu4Obfs

Jeff W, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 19:12 (two months ago) Permalink

Sub Pop is offering a pretty good deal for a bundle of their last 5 LPs.

Simon H., Tuesday, 12 June 2018 19:12 (two months ago) Permalink

holy shit these new songs are amazing. i'm so gutted that the local show for me (leeds, UK) is sold out... though i did see them in LA last year, and briefly met alan. he was sweet.

meaulnes, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 21:05 (two months ago) Permalink

wowowowowowow

excellent video too

obviously DLC (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 22:20 (two months ago) Permalink

when did they turn into Andy Stott?

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 22:30 (two months ago) Permalink

each of the three are so good in different ways. "dancing in blood" in particular raises goosebumps at times. if they hadn't done anything since trust/great destroyer times, then released this, it would sound like a portishead third kind of return. really refreshing to hear their voices and some of the same guitar tones in a new context

obviously DLC (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 22:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Wow. I'm surprised and amazed. These are utterly unexpected, but progress into something that is unmistakably them and really beautiful. Dancing In Blood gave me goosebumps too, then the latter stages of Fly hit and... just wow.

brain (krakow), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 23:19 (two months ago) Permalink

This is fucking fantastic. Exactly what I've been hoping for from them since 'Drums & Guns'. They're wonderful even when they're just doing what comes naturally, and sometimes amazing with it (i.e. 'Secret Name'). But they're always so exciting when they take the sweet simplicity of their elemental sound and just absolutely fuck with it (i.e. 'Bombscare' EP, 'Drums & Guns').

I've been listening intently for 22 years, and based on these three songs, this has the potential to be their best work yet, at least for ears like mine.

Soundslike, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:07 (two months ago) Permalink

Karl Malone, if you're digging this--the way you're referencing Trust/Great Destroyer as their last great work--did you hear 'Drums & Guns'? If not, you're in for a huge thrill.

Soundslike, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:08 (two months ago) Permalink

If somehow there are folks that don't know the 'Bombscare' EP, it's fantastic and maybe the most direct precursor to the sound of these new tracks, from 18 (!?! I'm old) years ago, and what firmly cemented my love of Low:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRoIbBbJx4U

Soundslike, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:13 (two months ago) Permalink

the bombscare EP is really good! thanks for posting that. it does have a very different sound from their other work around the turn of the century, but i dunno, these new tracks still sound like a different place altogether to me.

i listened to drums & guns exactly in full exactly once, but the last two tracks are the ones i always go back to.

obviously DLC (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 20:10 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

hasitleaked.com says it has - two and a half months early!?

StanM, Saturday, 30 June 2018 05:21 (one month ago) Permalink

that's a bummer

flamenco blorf (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 June 2018 05:23 (one month ago) Permalink

wtf? I remember Invisible Way leaked before it even had a cover or title.

Simon H., Saturday, 30 June 2018 11:30 (one month ago) Permalink

maybe a daft question how do records even leak anyway. is it always an advance press copy that some naughty journo has uploaded to soulseek?

meaulnes, Saturday, 30 June 2018 11:41 (one month ago) Permalink

Happens a bunch of different ways, lately I'm guessing the most common is people getting + redeeming download codes early and sharing

anyway I fully intend to buy this when I see them in September so I feel comfortable saying the record is bold and brilliant in all the ways the already-released tracks suggest

Simon H., Saturday, 30 June 2018 11:46 (one month ago) Permalink

I hope Prins Thomas or Koze or somebody gets their hands on "Disarray"

Simon H., Saturday, 30 June 2018 12:30 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah well looking forward to manchester cathedral show.

meaulnes, Saturday, 30 June 2018 12:48 (one month ago) Permalink

really love how "tempest" sounds like my speakers are being fed through a spiralizer

flamenco blorf (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 June 2018 13:38 (one month ago) Permalink

this is absolutely some portishead third shit

flamenco blorf (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 June 2018 13:42 (one month ago) Permalink

That's an excellent comparison I should definitely have thought of

Simon H., Saturday, 30 June 2018 13:46 (one month ago) Permalink

karl brought it up upthread, h/t karl

flamenco blorf (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 June 2018 13:49 (one month ago) Permalink

*gets to "the son, the sun"* these songs are all black holes vibrating at different frequencies

flamenco blorf (BradNelson), Saturday, 30 June 2018 13:50 (one month ago) Permalink

Whoa portishead third??? Curious

Y'all (Ross), Saturday, 30 June 2018 13:51 (one month ago) Permalink

it'd be a shame if "rome (always in the dark)" never gets used in a movie trailer

lowercase (eric), Sunday, 1 July 2018 16:02 (one month ago) Permalink

anyway this is gorgeous and weirdly feels like an intuitive endpoint, the way the rhythm of "always trying to work it out" pulls everything inward is just mesmerizing

lowercase (eric), Sunday, 1 July 2018 16:03 (one month ago) Permalink

This thing is so cohesive and flows so expertly that I got too annoyed with the leak's track gaps and had to mix it down to a single 49-minute file before I could let myself relisten

The way the clouds part just long enough for "Dancing And Fire" to peek through relatively unobstructed is *kisses fingers*

Simon H., Sunday, 1 July 2018 16:11 (one month ago) Permalink

i am so excited to hear the rest! glad to hear that the other songs are just as engaging

Karl Malone, Sunday, 1 July 2018 16:16 (one month ago) Permalink

trying to decide whether this is samey and overproduced or genius

meaulnes, Wednesday, 4 July 2018 21:50 (one month ago) Permalink

low is at their best writing pop songs imo

rip van wanko, Wednesday, 4 July 2018 22:34 (one month ago) Permalink

Not even trying to defend them when I say that complaining that a Low album is "samey" is wild to me, nearly every Low album is them "trying on" a couple sonic ideas and flexing them to various extremes for 40-60 minutes

Simon H., Wednesday, 4 July 2018 22:51 (one month ago) Permalink

haha yeah fair shout actually simon, my gripe is completely moot. i think it's maybe why, even though i love them to bits, i almost never make it through a full play of their LPs. the second halves are often a drag.

meaulnes, Wednesday, 4 July 2018 22:54 (one month ago) Permalink

obv I find that personally heretical but I get it. this Low shit, it ain't for everybody. it's a motherfuckin vibe

Simon H., Wednesday, 4 July 2018 23:24 (one month ago) Permalink

i know the last album i heard from low was ten years ago, but i wasn't expecting this at all. i'm mesmerized.

Nourry, Thursday, 5 July 2018 09:31 (one month ago) Permalink

also the master is disgustingly loud, what's up with that? guess it's bathed in distortion anyway.

meaulnes, Thursday, 5 July 2018 10:34 (one month ago) Permalink

also xxp simon -- i was more fussed about the overproduction than the sameyness really. i love alan's guitar tone, and think low have done distortion and production perfectly to date. the distortion on this is the kind of distortion that grows old quickly to my ears. sounds very digital and full of odd harmonics. im sure its intentional. i dunno. its almost annoying, i just want to hear the songs that are hiding behind it.

meaulnes, Thursday, 5 July 2018 10:40 (one month ago) Permalink

even though the new record is destined to become one of my favourites - there is the same tension with albums like "drums and guns" where deliberate production choices set that particular song in concrete - and more power to the band for doing that. but the live versions of these new songs necessarily break them open in quite different ways, i genuinely can't wait to hear them again later in the year.

luckily theyre bootleg-friendly: https://archive.org/details/LowMusic - so i can have the jaunty "breaker" as well as the doomy live version on hand.

matt h, Thursday, 5 July 2018 11:26 (one month ago) Permalink

wow, yeah...hard to tell if this is supposed all sound like this or whether they did something to it to mark the leaks. at least one song is pretty unlistenable to me. but there is beauty in it.

akm, Saturday, 7 July 2018 16:20 (one month ago) Permalink

p meticulous marking then!

lowercase (eric), Saturday, 7 July 2018 16:25 (one month ago) Permalink

it's not marking, since the officially released singles are of the same production. matt h is otm tho -- hearing them live will shed some light.

meaulnes, Monday, 9 July 2018 20:23 (one month ago) Permalink

listening to their first couple of LPs today. man, i wish kramer was still producing records.

meaulnes, Monday, 9 July 2018 20:24 (one month ago) Permalink

OK im decided. the use of compression on this LP in accordance with its dynamic range is fucking phenomenal.

meaulnes, Monday, 9 July 2018 21:18 (one month ago) Permalink

I noticed that too - the quiet parts are *actually* quiet and not just in comparison to the walls of noise

Simon H., Monday, 9 July 2018 21:42 (one month ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7088HRmhNaE

wasted good silverware on ya.

meaulnes, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 12:14 (one month ago) Permalink


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