Low: Classic or classic?

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The first album I got at the time was "Long Division" and I found it quite dull. Then I heard their version of "Transmission" (on the Joy Division cover album "A Means to an End") and was stunned. Just by slowing it down, they added something to the song. Listening to their cover was like watching a flower open up to the sun in the morning in real-time. I also loved that making a song slower also usually makes it longer which is perfect if you love the song. Yesterday I listened to their first album "I Could Live in Hope" for the first time and was totally overwhelmed. A perfect album for last night when the storm and rain hit hard outside. So warm and cosy, like a warm blanket to cover yourself with and hide from the tough world around.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 1 July 2021 13:44 (four months ago) link

Low has done some beautiful covers with Transmission near or at the top of the list. Great description Alex. Starting with a very different song I also love their cover of the Bee Gee's I Started A Joke. Has some of Mimi's best vocals.

that's not my post, Thursday, 1 July 2021 14:36 (four months ago) link

Agreed that their covers are often sublime, my favorite is this one, which just absolutely transforms a sort of frenetic, post-punk Soul Coughing track into something that sends shivers up my spine. They have a way of bringing out the most haunting and strange parts of a song's lyrics— even the way Alan sings "sluggin' down fruit juice" feels profoundly sad and desperate.


heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Thursday, 1 July 2021 14:52 (four months ago) link

If Low ever hits a writer's block patch--thry *really* need to do a full-on covers record. Few modern acts make a cove their own like Low.

Another fall-back option that would surely pay dividends: an all-string-quartet or small chamber ensemble type album.

Or they could do like The Knife did and re-record older songs in their current style--hearing old songs filtered through the fuzz/glitching angels sound of 'Double Negative' was awesome on the 2019 tour.

Soundslike, Thursday, 1 July 2021 21:16 (four months ago) link

Yeah, Low and Afghan Whigs are pretty much the best bands for covers.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 1 July 2021 21:31 (four months ago) link

That is a great cover, ttitt. I don't know the original but I am sure that it will disappoint me. Maybe that is the lackmus test for a great cover. That song really sounds so much like a Low original that it hurts. What Soundslike said.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 2 July 2021 15:20 (four months ago) link

Haha the original will certainly disappoint you but you ought to hear it just to see what Low did with it.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 2 July 2021 15:40 (four months ago) link

i didn't expect it but i really liked the original. post-punk a decade later. vibrant, melodic & a little dissonant at the same time, great stuff.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 5 July 2021 19:54 (four months ago) link

the album has l34ked but I'm waiting :-)

StanM, Wednesday, 7 July 2021 08:55 (four months ago) link

i'm less than 2 minutes in and it's sure lived up to bj saying it will be the first time you've heard a guitar

ufo, Wednesday, 7 July 2021 09:28 (four months ago) link

they sure did it again

ufo, Wednesday, 7 July 2021 10:20 (four months ago) link


Love it! Great backup singin’! https://t.co/4qhUEgOvQO

— LOW (@lowtheband) July 3, 2021

StanM, Wednesday, 7 July 2021 16:59 (four months ago) link

Holy shit at this album, like Depeche Mode meets Neil Young meets Autechre. I love it, my family will hate it!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 01:15 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months ago) link

the opening track is everything I ever wanted from them

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

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

StanM, Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:41 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months ago) link

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

maelin, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:21 (four months ago) link

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

maelin, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:23 (four months ago) link

cool, thanks!

StanM, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:24 (four months 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:


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 (four months ago) link

From that interview I learned that Alan uses a lot of Red Panda's Particle pedal, which, when you hear this ...yeah:

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 21:35 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months ago) link

(burton also produced the upcoming kacey musgraves record)

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

!! Now that gets my attention.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 July 2021 13:01 (four months ago) link


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 (four months ago) link

(burton also produced the upcoming kacey musgraves record)


diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 9 July 2021 16:01 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months 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 (four months ago) link

OMFG at "Hey".

Tim F, Saturday, 10 July 2021 01:00 (four months ago) link

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

vinyljunkie, Saturday, 10 July 2021 19:11 (four months ago) link

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