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 (nineteen 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 (nineteen 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 (nineteen years ago) link

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

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

three weeks pass...
Dud.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 13 March 2001 01:00 (nineteen 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 (eighteen 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 (eighteen 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 (eighteen 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 (eighteen 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 (eighteen 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 (eighteen 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 (seventeen years ago) link

Calssically dud?

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

the live footage is indeed superb.

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

Maybe the sequel will be even lower

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

Low & Lowerer, with new bass player Jim Carrey

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

ultimately characterless and forgettable

lol. Heard Drums and Guns?

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

it hadn't been released back then

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

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

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

"subtly"

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

Some good discussion on this thread, methinks.

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

I'll third that. Best band going today.

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

"thought" = though

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

C'mon was the one I was least impressed with when it came out but I listened to it the other day and I don't know what my problem was really

Colonel Poo, Saturday, 18 May 2019 19:44 (one year ago) link

I think The Curtain Hits the Cast is my favorite. It's the one that I return to the most.

but except for IW, any album is fine imo. (IW sounds like a Wilco record, other than a track or two is kind of useless to me tbh)

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Sunday, 19 May 2019 21:28 (one year ago) link

one interesting thing is that i was obsessed with Low when I was around 19/20, had Lifetime and all the records, etc.... but then TGD came out and i HATED it. like couldn't believe how bad it was.

almost ten years passed by until i listened to it again, and i think that i was more than a little too attached to what i'd come to expect from them. now i think it rates higher than the rest of the records from that time period except D&G.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Sunday, 19 May 2019 21:31 (one year ago) link

I started listening to them with Secret Name, an incredible album, but thought Things We Lost in the Fire was their peak. Then I was unexpectedly floored by The Great Destroyer. Now think Double Negative is their real peak

Dan S, Sunday, 19 May 2019 23:49 (one year ago) link

one interesting thing is that i was obsessed with Low when I was around 19/20, had Lifetime and all the records, etc.... but then TGD came out and i HATED it. like couldn't believe how bad it was.

almost ten years passed by until i listened to it again, and i think that i was more than a little too attached to what i'd come to expect from them. now i think it rates higher than the rest of the records from that time period except D&G.

― blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Sunday, May 19, 2019 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I had a similar experience. I went from being total obsessive completist--every 7", every comp appearance--to being lukewarm on Trust and really not into TGD. Wasn't swayed by D&G at first but came around to it. But altogether probably 8 years went by where I didn't listen to very much Low, they became relegated to a past version of myself. And somewhere between D&G and C'mon I dove back into the early stuff and gave the later albums a new try... now I'm back to being obsessive fan again.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Monday, 20 May 2019 16:37 (one year ago) link

the first time i saw them live was in 2002 and the opener tom liwa who used to be my favourite german songwriter announced them as the best band in the world and i thought he was exaggerating a little but finally i have come to the conclusion that he was probably right, for the last couple of years they have been my fave live band in the world. they have got the capability to create a spiritual atmosphere of total silence and attentiveness like few other bands. i have seen them four times but they never played the song which made me discover them though i asked for it once. their awesome cover of transmission.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 20 May 2019 21:35 (one year ago) link

four weeks pass...

For the curious, here's the Japanese bonus track for Double Negative, "It's All Been Done" (not a BNL cover)

https://wetransfer.com/downloads/a54e5fdcb22da36762c6f2a7fd37ce5020190619124804/5f6be5594d1d83bd92aa4a5f4ec28ba720190619124804/e23590

Simon H., Wednesday, 19 June 2019 12:50 (eleven months ago) link

Listened to Drums and Guns next after the recommendations here, and wow. It's compelling in a very different way from Double Negative. Last three tracks in particular are stunning. At this point, I'm gonna eventually listen to all their albums but next up is Ones and Sixes because a) Spotify has it (some of the other Low albums are missing) and b) Brad's taste rarely steers wrong

Vinnie, Sunday, 30 June 2019 15:30 (eleven months ago) link

yesterdays glastonbury set for those who can access it:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p07df5f6/glastonbury-low-live-at-glastonbury

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Sunday, 30 June 2019 17:25 (eleven months ago) link

shivers. low are extraordinary. amazing footage!

meaulnes, Monday, 1 July 2019 10:06 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

Alan, Mimi and Steve Garrington doing a Velvet Underground tribute show on the 50th anniversary of the Velvets only Minneapolis show, October 12, 1969 at the Labor Temple:

http://thehookmpls.com/event/the-velvets-50/

by the light of the burning Citroën, Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:50 (nine months ago) link

that sounds great. i wish i could go but 5000 miles or something like that seems a bit too much.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:57 (nine months ago) link

I might actually go to this! I'll be in Chicago around that time.

octobeard, Friday, 16 August 2019 06:07 (nine months ago) link

two weeks pass...

got my ticket!

goole, Thursday, 5 September 2019 17:03 (eight months ago) link

Should have linked this earlier -- very good podcast episode/radio documentary on them from a month back:

https://www.thecurrent.org/feature/2019/08/07/the-current-rewind-low-duluth-sparhawk-parker

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 5 September 2019 18:21 (eight months ago) link

Cool

fremmes with neppavenettes (rip van wanko), Thursday, 5 September 2019 18:49 (eight months ago) link

haha the mentions of starfire in that podcast. that's neat. it put me back onto 'secret name'. low give me so much hope.

meaulnes, Friday, 6 September 2019 21:25 (eight months ago) link

how have i not heard the bombscare EP until now! what!

meaulnes, Monday, 9 September 2019 10:50 (eight months ago) link

three weeks pass...

JUST IN: 'Bombscare EP' by Low & Spring Heel Jack

Low have just reissued their collaborative EP with left-field group Spring Heel Jack!

An underrated little record from the acclaimed slowcore group and their musical mates:@lowthebandhttps://t.co/ssGZJ2O6iD

— Norman Records (@normanrecords) October 3, 2019

Jeff W, Thursday, 3 October 2019 08:53 (eight months ago) link

haha, i must have summoned that. i'd better put the lottery on.

meaulnes, Thursday, 3 October 2019 09:56 (eight months ago) link

I believe soundslike summoned that one

It is my great honor to post on this messageboard! (Karl Malone), Thursday, 3 October 2019 14:14 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

The version of "Disarray" they played last night was like the best 10 minutes of live music I've ever heard.

geoffreyess, Sunday, 24 November 2019 17:17 (six months ago) link

I normally couldn't care about live recordings of non-improvised music. But I'd really love a high-quality recording of a show on the tours since 'Double Negative,' because they've applied the same magic decaying angel choir sounds to older songs and they all sound amazing and genuinely distinct from earlier incarnations.

Also--so glad to see 'Bombscare' is back and has a chance to be recognized. That was what shifted my sense of Low from "lovely band who soothe my soul" to "this band can and will do anything, going forward" and cemented them as my favorite "rock" band going.

Soundslike, Monday, 25 November 2019 02:03 (six months ago) link

There are a couple high quality concert videos of this material on YouTube.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Monday, 25 November 2019 02:09 (six months ago) link

I listened to Secret Name for the first time a coupla months ago... think this might be the year I finally become a fanatical Low completist

handsome boy modelling software (bernard snowy), Monday, 25 November 2019 02:26 (six months ago) link

I'm basically there too. I've listened to four of their albums now - The Great Destroyer and Ones and Sixes since my last post - and I feel like I'm 16 again: at that age, once I decided I loved a band, I listened to every second of every album attentively and obsessively. This decade, I've only given that level of attention to the 1975 and Low. To that end, I'm trying to go through their catalog slowly, but the urge is just to burn through everything. Crazy to think that I spent years seeing their name mentioned on ILM without bothering to listen

Vinnie, Monday, 25 November 2019 04:40 (six months ago) link

when i saw them this summer they made a mind-blowing version of 'do you know how to waltz'.
a live recording of this tour would be amazing, indeed.

Nourry, Monday, 25 November 2019 14:37 (six months ago) link

nothing from the last couple of Months here yet https://archive.org/search.php?query=collection%3ALowMusic&sort=-publicdate

StanM, Monday, 25 November 2019 15:14 (six months ago) link

someone on this thread once challenged me for not playing low LPs all the way through, since i said i felt like some of their records wane a bit in the second half. but i came round. they were right. giving patience and open ears to low really lets you feel their full power. i think god speaks through their music quite a bit.

meaulnes, Wednesday, 27 November 2019 14:17 (six months ago) link

nice of god to speak somewhere for once

has anyone ever tried to listen to drums and guns from a set of speakers that mirrors the mix, with one speaker on the far left of the room, the other on the far right? that's the one i've always been unable to get through. it sounds awful on headphones (to me at least), and the stereo separation on my normal set up just comes out sounding weird. i can imagine it sounding really good if the speakers were far enough apart that it was possible to walk around a bit in the combined sound field.

Peaceful Warrior I Poser (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 27 November 2019 16:16 (six months ago) link

It sounds great in the car

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 27 November 2019 16:51 (six months ago) link

'Drums & Guns' is top 3 Low for me, and I love the hard panning for its unsettling effect that suits the music.

Soundslike, Wednesday, 27 November 2019 21:32 (six months ago) link

^agree.

that's not my post, Thursday, 28 November 2019 02:21 (six months ago) link

three months pass...

enjoying this cover

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa8Ky20UYaU&

that's not my post, Wednesday, 11 March 2020 05:14 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

As per normal, we are coming in late like a northern Minnesota farmer. Mimi and Alan are probably doing an INSTAGRAM LIVE set for you tomorrow at around 1 or 2 central standard US. That should be evening for UK/Europe and middle of the night for Tokyo. More details to come. 💜

— LOW (@lowtheband) April 2, 2020

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Thursday, 2 April 2020 18:16 (two months ago) link

Oh my, yes. This, I need.

Soundslike, Friday, 3 April 2020 00:25 (two months ago) link

Confirmed time - and weekly performances!

(21:00 in UK today) pic.twitter.com/IeArsUQIlk

— LOW (@lowtheband) April 3, 2020

Non, je ned raggette rien (onimo), Friday, 3 April 2020 07:52 (two months ago) link

I wonder if they will change things up at all, tonally. I love Low, but don't know if I want to love Low right now, necessarily.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 3 April 2020 12:48 (two months ago) link

it would be extremely funny if they chose this occasion to pivot to baggy funtime jams

brechtian social distancing (Simon H.), Friday, 3 April 2020 12:56 (two months ago) link

Well, I assume they will sound like Low. But I dunno, maybe different covers? And their banter is usually funny. Just wondering if it will be the usual hour of "we're all going to die."

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 3 April 2020 13:30 (two months ago) link

if it's going to be weekly then there's plenty of scope

koogs, Friday, 3 April 2020 15:31 (two months ago) link

That was a lot of fun, really. New song, impromptu "Star Spangled Banner," "Murderer". Just good people.

Soundslike, Friday, 3 April 2020 21:29 (two months ago) link

Tuned in just before they started “When I Go Deaf”. Actually lifted me to hear and see them play that and “Murderer” this evening, two songs I really love, and the new song sounded really good too.

michaellambert, Friday, 3 April 2020 23:30 (two months ago) link

did they post a link to the show?

that's not my post, Saturday, 4 April 2020 01:37 (one month ago) link

If you go to their Instagram profile and click on the profile picture then select “watch live video” you’ll be able to watch it back.

michaellambert, Saturday, 4 April 2020 10:14 (one month ago) link

“When I Go Deaf” into “The Star Spangled Banner” got me misty-eyed.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Saturday, 4 April 2020 17:07 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Could anyone please share "It's All Been Done"? Someone posted a link here but it's expired now. It's such a shame the song wasn't made available for download. It's only featured in the Japanese release of Double Negative. Many thanks in advance.

johngreen74, Thursday, 23 April 2020 21:43 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

over on twitter lowtheband joined tim's listening party to talk about their first album. pics, memories, etc

that's not my post, Thursday, 7 May 2020 21:51 (three weeks ago) link

three weeks pass...

they played their IG live set today with no talking in honor of george floyd, which ended with an absolutely blistering performance of 'breaker.' totally wrecked me.

donna rouge, Friday, 29 May 2020 20:45 (five days ago) link

They couldn't but end with "Breaker".

Soundslike, Friday, 29 May 2020 22:57 (five days ago) link


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