Low Archive

The Monday Set – Low – Richmond – February 19, 2001

Alley Katz
Richmond, VA
February 19, 2001

Back in the days before handy portable digital audio recorders, the enterprising fan was often at a loss when wanting to preserve some memory of a beloved band’s live show (especially when such shows were legendary, and didn’t often happen near said enterprising fan’s place of residence).  What to do?

Well, occasionally, unscrupulous sound-board guys, lubricated with the modern-day finski (a $20 bill — inflation) could be prevailed upon to provide a copy of the show.  In this case, the board was outfitted with a CD-recorder.  The fine fellow manning the board in this case forgot to finalize the disc at the end, and he didn’t put the track markers in the right place, providing infinite frustration until another recorder could be found to produce a usable copy.  Ah, the early-2000’s!

Anyway, here you have a soundboard recording of Low around the time of the release of Things We Lost in the Fire.  I’ll be honest: while I fixed the track markers, I didn’t EQ or normalize this at all.  Parts are incredibly quiet, and others are incredibly loud.  That’s Low, and god bless them for it.  Download Audacity and play with it yourself if you want something different.

Oh, and I requested “Soon.”  Expletives can’t express how great this song is.  Alan Sparhawk is screaming his lungs out around 5:15, just nowhere near the mike.  This came right after his extended efforts to get the disco ball hanging from the ceiling to start spinning.

Track listing:
1. Embrace
2. Dinosaur Act
3. Venus
4. Two-Step
5. Starfire
6. Disco-Ball Banter
7. Soon
8. Over the Ocean
9. Closer
10. In Metal
11. Missouri
12. The Plan
13. Lust

Download: Low – Richmond – 2/19/01 – 245 MB

Sample: Soon


Avalanche: Best of the Decade

Top 20 Releases of 2000-2009

These might not be the most important or groundbreaking releases per se but these are simply the records that have become stalwarts in my music heavy rotation that purr along with classics from the 80s and 90s.

1. Dean and Britta – L’ Avventura (2002)
2. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours (2008)
3. Cinerama – This is Cinerama (2000)
4. Modest Mouse – Moon Over Antartica (2000)
5. Lungfish – Love is Love (2003)
6. Ian Brown – Music of the Spheres (2002)
7. Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit (2006)
8. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Etiquette (2006)
9. Tindersticks – Hungry Saw (2009)
10. The Natural History – The Natural History EP (2002)
11. Low – Trust (2002)
12. The Legends – Facts and Figures (2007)
13. Jeremy Jay – Slow Dance (2009)
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)
15. Child Ballads – Cheekbone Hollows EP (2008)
16. The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)
17. Calla – Scavengers (2000)
18. Blonde Redhead – Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000)
19. The Kills – Midnight Boom (2008)
20. Ladytron – Velocifer (2008)

Top 20 Concerts of Decade

These are the shows that most emblazoned on my retinas for whatever reason. For instance, The Modest Mouse show was soon after 911 and featured huge projections of buildings collapsing in reverse while MM performed songs from the epic celestial themed “Moon over Antarctica”.

Here is my top 20 best shows, and whenever there is any supporting evidence, I link to it. Enjoy.

1. Lungfish – Southpaw, NY, NY (2005)
2. Laibach – The Town Hall, NY, NY (2007)
3. Flin Flon – Luna Lounge, NY, NY (2002)
4. Fever Ray – Webster Hall, NY, NV (2009)
6. Final CBGB shows (New York Dolls, Vandals, Dead Boys, Offspring, Circle Jerks, etc) – CBGBs, NY, NY (2005)
7. The 3 Terrors (The Magnetic Fields) – various, NY, NY (1999 – 2005)
8. The Tindersticks – Brooklyn Masonic Temple, NY, NY (2009)
9. Dean and Britta (performing Galaxy 500), The Zipper Room, NY, NY (2008)
10. The Child Ballads – Knitting Factory, NY, NY (2007)
12. Freeheat – Brownies, NY, NY (2002)
13. Wire – South Street Seaport, NY, NY (2007)
15. Siouxsie – Irving Plaza, NY, NY (2008)
16. FischerSpooner/Peaches – Terminal 5, NY, NY (2003)
18. MAKE UP – THE COOLER, NY, NY (2000)
19. 7 Seconds – Webster Hall, New York City, NY (2009)
20. Suicide – Europa, Brooklyn, NY (2008)

Low – Trust (Live)

The recent My Bloody Valentine post should have come with this disclaimer: “MBV show disappoints due to a Low induced high.”

My dismissive review of the My Bloody Valentine show (posted last week) can be attributed, in part, to MBV performing on the heels of a mammoth good show by Low the day before. As I watched MBV lazily strum over (suspected) canned tape loops to two capacity sold out shows, I couldn’t help but note that Low are the more deserving of such adulation. Compared to Low, MBV’s washes of punishing noise assault, however executed, seemed downright trivial.

Low have quietly become one of the most consistently great bands of the last 20 years. Like MBV they are a micro-genre flag planter; MBV with Shoe-Gaze and Low, with my all-time favorite named genre, Slow-Core. Low, however, have proven so inimitable that they have unwittingly crowded out any aspiring heir-apparent. Sadly, there looks to be no one to assume the crown when they move on.

In my opinion the greatness and importance of Low can not be overstated. The album Secret Name is firmly perched in my all-time favorite albums, but what really impresses about Low is that they are unabashedly religious. Their Christian faith is a fundamental element to much of their songwriting but with no negative side-effects. Sure, religion has provided the impetus for many of the world’s greatest pieces of art but finding a contemporary example of religious infused art that isn’t wretched is damn hard to find. Little exaggeration is needed to state that the absolute worst music committed to record has come via recent Christian evangelical clumsy dabblings in popular music. These hatchet attempts to connect with the youth have been successful only in the unintended result of proving religion has long lost its ability to inspire and as such accelerating its own welcomed obsolescence. Low, on the other hand, against all odds, have knocked out a string of great records and sublime live shows that make a convincing case for religious inspiration. If there is a congregation that effectively conveys the humbling spiritual beauty that comes with attending a Low show, consider me a convert. If they swing through your town be sure to attend and don’t be afraid to drink the Kool-Aid.

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Download: Low – Trust (Live)