SXSW 2008 has ended
Wednesday, March 12 • 10:00pm - 10:30pm
The Low Lows

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Formed in Athens GA in 2006 by P. L. Noon, formerly of the critically lauded, commercially ignored NYC cinema-pop duo Parker And Lily (2001-2005). The Low Lows are named after that band's final 2004 release. The Low Low's debut album, Fire On The Bright Sky (2006), reduced the southern indie-rock of groups such as My Morning Jacket and Neil Young to a glacial pace, whilst bringing to the proceedings a gritty minimalist sensibility and penchant for guitar noise & drone more common to groups like the Velvet Underground & My Bloody Valentine. The Low Lows, in the beginning, seemed to embody certain formerly dormant aspects of Parker and Lily's strange late-phase sound. The implicit tension, not to say violence, that underlaid P&L's characteristically dense strata of organs and vibraphones, horns and strings, was, in the new band, made overt, fashioned into a weapon. In the interim between the bands, Noon's voice had somehow evolved radically from it's former breathy mumble into a high vibratoless wail evocative of Neil Young or Jim James, typically moving in slow-motion, at half-speed to the band. Several European tours & a host of festivals played under the auspices of London's Monotreme Records showcased explosive, muscular live shows. The fractured and fragmented drumming of Jeremy Wheatley & the rhythm guitar and sad baritone vocal harmonies of Daniel Rickard make each Low Lows' performance a study in extremes. Stark southern sweetness gives way unexpectedly to great storms of guitar noise, bright walls of country narcosis crumble into climactic, stomping feedback distortion. Pure melodic love songs abound, made all the sweeter by virtue of being hemmed in by such a stormy darkness. They are raw, loud & sloppy, electric & visceral. The BBC recently called their live set "absolutely beautiful... one of our favorite sessions of the year. Marvelous." In the first month of 2008, the Low Lows signed to Misra Records. Their sophomore album, Shining Violence, will be released in Europe on Monotreme Records in March, 2008, and on Misra Records in North America several months later. At first listen, the new record reveals a more feral, leaner balladry. Perhaps inevitably (considering their residence in small-town Georgia) primitive three-part harmony abounds, and steel guitar pervades most tracks, but these elements are incongruously trapped in an urban lo-fi noise-rock aesthetic like insects in amber. Noon's lyrics are stark though never bleak, and recount confessional love stories in a concentrated, reverberative, obliquely tragic prose, as if a Cormac McCarthy novel had been set to music. Songs like "Tigers" exalt small, everyday things with a potentially fatal intensity. While the bulk of the record fits with only a modicum of discomfort into the lo-fi indie-americana file-folder, alongside Band of Horses, Skygreen Leopards, Sparklehorse, Jason Molina and so on, the blasting drones & buried melodies of "Sparrows" and "Elizabeth Pier" evoke ghosts of the Velvets & Galaxie 500, and the ten-distortion-boxes-in-a-line guitar solos that punctuate almost all the songs reflect the true mechanics of the Low Lows, something distinctly meaner & more discontented than most of the current crop of longingly hopeful southern acts. A rousingly off-kilter back-porch version of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Modern Romance", and the fast Buck-Owens-on-smack two-step of "Five Ways I Didn't Die" are counterbalanced by the dense, urbane minimalism of "Raining In Eva"'s sad horns and the strange, airy epic of contentedness "Honey" that concludes the record. All of it resonates with a controlled tension, druggy slow burns, woozy layers of feedback trembling just out of earshot beneath a scratched, warm surface. The Low Lows are currently in the process of relocating to Austin, Texas, & are slated to play a month of European tours in April (covering Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, and the UK) and then a longer run of of US tours later in the Spring.

Wednesday March 12, 2008 10:00pm - 10:30pm
Friends 208 E 6th St

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