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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

*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 (twenty years ago) link

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

Josh, Saturday, 17 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Dud.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 13 March 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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

Mitch Lastnamewithheld, Saturday, 21 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (twenty years ago) link

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 (nineteen years ago) link

Calssically dud?

Julio Desouza, Monday, 1 July 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

the live footage is indeed superb.

stephen, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:33 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

Maybe the sequel will be even lower

StanM, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:52 (thirteen years ago) link

Low & Lowerer, with new bass player Jim Carrey

StanM, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 20:53 (thirteen years ago) link

ultimately characterless and forgettable

lol. Heard Drums and Guns?

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 9 January 2008 22:20 (thirteen years ago) link

it hadn't been released back then

electricsound, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 22:27 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

mookieproof, Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:00 (thirteen years ago) link

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

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:14 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 03:53 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

"subtly"

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:28 (thirteen years ago) link

Some good discussion on this thread, methinks.

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:41 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

I'll third that. Best band going today.

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 19:37 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

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

akm, Sunday, 22 June 2008 20:06 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

"thought" = though

Pillbox, Sunday, 22 June 2008 20:15 (thirteen years ago) link

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 (thirteen years ago) link

Haven't given in to temptation yet--but very encouraged to hear it sounds like Low is staying at the weirder end of their spectrum. I love weird Low.

Soundslike, Thursday, 8 July 2021 02:10 (three weeks ago) link

When the RIAA knock down my door and ask why I did it, I'll point them to Josh in Chicago's last post

Vinnie, Thursday, 8 July 2021 02:18 (three weeks ago) link

it's the good sort of sequel, where they're continuing what they were doing on Double Negative but not just repeating themselves

Double Negative was really submerged in a sea of noise but this time they're sailing on top of it more

ufo, Thursday, 8 July 2021 02:37 (three weeks ago) link

the opening track is everything I ever wanted from them

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Thursday, 8 July 2021 03:55 (three weeks ago) link

unsurprisingly this is good as hell. "more" is like their "velocity girl" or some shit, wonderful little nugget that adds a lot to the album in two minutes. I have a hard time imagining anyone who liked DN being disappointed with this.

intern at pelican brief consulting (Simon H.), Thursday, 8 July 2021 16:30 (three weeks ago) link

I've gotten so much enjoyment out of this band for close to 30 years and rarely had to pay for a thing (legally), but goddammit I just bought a t-shirt.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:29 (three weeks ago) link

i saw them as part of a festival so it was a one-off (i think) so there wasn't any merch

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:37 (three weeks ago) link

I bought a ticket for a Low show in May '22 - these crazy times, still

StanM, Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:41 (three weeks ago) link

I followed Josh in Chicago's good example and bought a shirt. This album goes from "pretty dang good!" to "this is unreal" right after Days Like These.

yeah but how, Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:42 (three weeks ago) link

I was like, "well I can hold out a few more weeks...." not realizing it's still two more months! Damn, this is going to be a rough wait.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:52 (three weeks ago) link

double negative was a distant transmission from another planet and on this one it's actually happening there, if that makes any sense

ufo, Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:03 (three weeks ago) link

A friend said "they went from disintegrating to evaporating" and I think that's on the same level, ufo. Makes sense to me.

yeah but how, Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:10 (three weeks ago) link

Low definitely put out some of the weirdest merch in the past - the fridge magnet lyrics tin is special but why I have a Low pillowcase is anyone's guess...

Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:11 (three weeks ago) link

is the artwork a 3d/hologram type thing? their site seems to suggest so: https://www.chairkickers.com/

StanM, Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:13 (three weeks ago) link

The new one and the last one, without trying to be hyperbolic, they sound like someone waking up one morning and just somehow knowing a new language, and then immediately trying to do something with that new language. Or, I dunno, discovering a new tuning, or finding a new color. Totally in line with everything else they've done but done totally different than everything else they've made. I also love the idea of music (like these last two albums) that are literally impossible to replicate live. Perform, sure, and they were amazing on the last tour. But the music as recorded, however clearly fussed over ... I don't know, I think it's fascinating that they had to write these songs, with lyrics and melodies, then record them, blow them up, bend them out of shape, destroy them and rebuild them in the studio, and then, live, they have to do it all over again, finding their way back to each song's roots and melodies, because the sonic stuff of the recent is exclusively a product of studio experiments.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 18:27 (three weeks ago) link


Low definitely put out some of the weirdest merch in the past - the fridge magnet lyrics tin is special but why I have a Low pillowcase is anyone's guess...

― Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Thursday, July 8, 2021 bookmarkflaglink

I love my Double Negative dishtowel.

Also one of my favorite band t-shirts ever was from a real early Low show - I think it was around the time of Curtain Hits the Cast. It was basically the Jaws movie poster - a blue t-shirt with the shark rising out of the water, teeth bared, and in big bold orange letters, LOW.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Thursday, 8 July 2021 19:12 (three weeks ago) link

bj burton is a fucking genius and is the sound of RIGHT NOW.

maelin, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:21 (three weeks ago) link

the cover art thing is called spectral decoding. bright eyes did it with cassadaga

maelin, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:23 (three weeks ago) link

cool, thanks!

StanM, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:24 (three weeks ago) link

I don't really know much about Burton and was surprised how pop-oriented much of his production work is. But I did find this crazy accurate interview quote from a couple of years back:

... bands you’re highly motivated to work with because of their back catalogue?

“Have you heard of the band Low? They’ve never written a bad song. They put out an acoustic album and I had this vision of pushing them to make the most beautiful, distorted, post-apocalyptic record – the sort of thing you’d find 2,000 years ago if you dug the earth up. We made that record and it’s one of the favourite albums I’ve ever made.”

It looks like he posted a bunch to this thread about the making of Double Negative:

https://gearspace.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/1261587-lows-double-negative-sound-awesome-production-info.html

This is a good summation:

I got a lot of **** from mastering engineers, so I ended up mastering it myself...those guys are so scared. but if it sounds good, and the soul is there, then it will translate. no rules

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:33 (three weeks ago) link

From that interview I learned that Alan uses a lot of Red Panda's Particle pedal, which, when you hear this ...yeah:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXUfj6y4NO0

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:35 (three weeks ago) link

I don't really know much about Burton and was surprised how pop-oriented much of his production work is.

apart from his work with Low, he's probably best known for being part of Bon Iver's inner circle, co-writing & playing a ton of stuff on their last two albums & occasionally being a touring member

his work on last year's Charli album was fantastic & full of the noise he's known for with Low. the Japanese House album was also excellent

i wanna hear him work with Lambchop next, he'd be really well aligned with their direction the last few albums

ufo, Friday, 9 July 2021 03:42 (three weeks ago) link

This is pretty great, taking some of the strands of Double Negative and running with them. it has a distinctly different mood but with mostly the same toolbox. "Hey" is the big standout to me so far, it's beautiful

Vinnie, Friday, 9 July 2021 09:57 (three weeks ago) link

Also yeah, between Charli, Japanese House, and Low, I've loved every Burton production that I've heard

Vinnie, Friday, 9 July 2021 11:02 (three weeks ago) link

I'd forgotten all about Charli XCX, I'll have to check that out. Looks like Burton has produced a ton of stuff I've never even heard of. The Empress Of, Kacy Hill, Banks, Francis and the Lights ... I can only imagine that some of these things sound cool, too, but the problem is that they're not Low, so odds are they are nowhere near as good as Low.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 July 2021 12:48 (three weeks ago) link

(burton also produced the upcoming kacey musgraves record)

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Friday, 9 July 2021 12:51 (three weeks ago) link

!! Now that gets my attention.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 July 2021 13:01 (three weeks ago) link

oooh

I hope the closer on this one portends the sound of the next one the way "disarray" sort of ended up doing. I am ready for an all-doomy-bangers Low album with Burton on board.

intern at pelican brief consulting (Simon H.), Friday, 9 July 2021 13:04 (three weeks ago) link

(burton also produced the upcoming kacey musgraves record)

whoa

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 9 July 2021 16:01 (three weeks ago) link

I'm having a hard time emotionally right now deliberating over whether to just listen to the leak already or not. Just tell me it's okay because I plan on buying the record when it's out, okay?

octobeard, Friday, 9 July 2021 16:42 (three weeks ago) link

relistening to double negative to whet my appetite since i'm still undecided on the leak. "always up" might be one of the most beautiful songs of all time

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 9 July 2021 17:32 (three weeks ago) link

any of y'all feeling guilty and weird about the leak spotify users by any chance? lmao

just listen to it and then buy it when it comes out!

maelin, Friday, 9 July 2021 18:06 (three weeks ago) link

i mean, i already bought the album. for me it's more about wanting to blast my ears out on the hifi with FLACs rather than the dodgy mp3 leak

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 9 July 2021 18:29 (three weeks ago) link

I wouldn't worry about that, this album sometimes sounds like your stereo has been pre-busted.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 July 2021 18:39 (three weeks ago) link

paradoxically it's my experience that noize and productions that are made to 'sound like shit' are the ones to suffer most from mp3 encoding. out of curiosity, i took a look at the spectrograms from double negative to see what kind of imperceptible musical info it was throwing away. here's a comparison of flac vs 320 cbr mp3 for tempest.

i don't want to derail the thread into a lossless vs lossy argument, just an interesting observation i wanted to share.

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 9 July 2021 20:14 (three weeks ago) link

OMFG at "Hey".

Tim F, Saturday, 10 July 2021 01:00 (three weeks ago) link

“Hey” >>> “Days Like These” 🔥🔥🔥🔥 Mind blown!!!

vinyljunkie, Saturday, 10 July 2021 19:11 (three weeks ago) link

wow i had no idea burton was working on the kacey musgraves album, that's super exciting

i found an interview where burton said he did some stuff with dj quik in 2019, which he described as his dream collaboration, really hope that sees the light of day

ufo, Sunday, 11 July 2021 13:44 (two weeks ago) link

i noticed something kinda weird. everytime i listen to the stuttering outro to white horses, it sounds like its at a different pitch..??? anyone else experiencing this? super fascinating illusion

maelin, Thursday, 15 July 2021 19:03 (two weeks ago) link

The notes slowly increase in pitch if that's what you mean. But as a whole the outro sounds the same each time I listen

Vinnie, Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:10 (two weeks ago) link

that outro sounds like a Lindstrom mix gearing up or something

intern at pelican brief consulting (Simon H.), Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:25 (two weeks ago) link

i just felt like every time i've had the record on they've resolved differently, maybe something to do with the harmonic interval, or maybe just my busted old ears.

maelin, Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:48 (two weeks ago) link

is that what variable bitrate means? :-D

StanM, Friday, 16 July 2021 04:34 (two weeks ago) link

SOMEWHERE OUT ON THE OCEAN...

20.07.21
7:00 PT | 9:00 CT | 15:00 BST pic.twitter.com/BAQSpG05oP

— Sub Pop Records (@subpop) July 19, 2021

StanM, Monday, 19 July 2021 16:25 (one week ago) link

ok ok - it's maybe not them but they retweeted it and they were going to release some more songs from the album during the Summer

StanM, Monday, 19 July 2021 16:26 (one week ago) link

so, the new bass player is Liz?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRZk5cqDxSF/

StanM, Monday, 19 July 2021 16:32 (one week ago) link

Right. Disappearing is coming out tomorrow and that tweet screenshot IS from the video.

StanM, Monday, 19 July 2021 16:41 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9JyjipKBJk

StanM, Tuesday, 20 July 2021 14:29 (one week ago) link

amazing video

i'm so excited for this album

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 20 July 2021 14:42 (one week ago) link

"Disappearing" was not a song that caught me much so far but it works great with those visuals

Vinnie, Wednesday, 21 July 2021 11:45 (one week ago) link


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