Uncommon music criticized by the common man. (Or, exercises in futility masquerading as critical thought.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

So, Low has a new album coming out. It's called The Great Destroyer and, if the reviews (such as this one) are accurate, I'm guessing this will be one of those albums that will cause indie nerds (I say that as a term of endearment, by the by) the world over to get into heated slapfights.

You see, much is made about Low's religion and location (Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk are Mormom; the band is from Duluth, MN) when critiquing Low's music, given its occasional hymn-like qualities and less than sunny tempos. Words like glacial, funereal, or wintry often find their way into reviews as a means to convey the spartan solemnity of their songs. That they have been lumped into that nebulous subgenre of indie rock called "sadcore" or "slowcore" only adds to their reputation as 5 bpm playing mopesters. Of course, this is a very limiting description that has been unfairly perpetuated by lazy rock-hacks and fails to capture the entirety of Low's music. But, it is also these same qualities that many people love about Low's music in the first place.

Consequently, I fear that an album such as (I assume) The Great Destroyer will be, with its faster tempos, feedback squeals, and more traditional rock arrangements, will cause long time fans to cry foul or sell-out. Moving to uber-indie Sub Pop will not help matters, nor will the production credit of one Dave "Big Boom" Fridmann, who has a knack for making mere pop songs sound like over-the-top epics (for good or bad, depending on the band/song). And lord help them if one of their songs catch fire on the radio or MTV. It could be a backlash fiasco of "She Don't Use Jelly" proportions.

Personally, I'm probably going to pick up the album soon after it comes out, because a) I'm a Low fan and have been waiting for the new album b) I'm interested in seeing if early reviews are accurate or exaggerated and c) I'm not put off by artists who change directions in their style. Hell, I'm one of the few lost souls walking this earth who found more than a few redeeming songs on Ride's Carnival of Light, where they went from shoegaze stormbringers to almost Byrds-ian popsmiths. (Tarantula, on the other hand, was unqualified garbage.) Of course, I may wait until I see them at The Black Cat on February 7th to buy it, depending on how much it sells in stores around these parts.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The eleven worst songs of 2004.

I did not write this. But I kinda sorta wish I did. Sometimes bile for the sake of bile is gold. I leave it to you to decide if this is one of those times.

(Ugh...have the tv on as I write this...Rick James is barely cold and Papa John's is using "Give It To Me Baby" in a TV spot. I'm not against musicians selling their songs for commercial purposes, even if I find it tacky. And lord knows that Rick was milking that Chappelle thing for all its worth when he was alive, so it probably wouldn't be beneath him to sell a song to an ad campaign. But this struck me as a tad unfortunate. Now, if Papa John's started closing their front door transactions with "We're Papa John's, bitch!", then I might feel better about it...)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Okay, sorry, that was the comic in me. Seriously, give that article a read. It's a very good look at Hip Hop at 30 and it's increasing (ir)relevance, depending on how you look at it.