The Family of Shiva, The Great Destroyer by Sajnu
Low is coming into town early next week with Pedro the Lion. Although I have a vague idea about them (the kids like to sit and sleep at their shows), I don't think I've consciously ever really heard their early music and I certainly don't own their albums.
But after hearing "Monkey" from their new album, The Great Destroyer, I got interested, bought the new CD and am going to the show on Monday. There was a very dismissive review of this album in Pitchfork ("And maybe this is a death, and The Great Destroyer is Low themselves, orphaning their fans and their history for the sake of the group's creative edification.") Wow, God forbid. Others have blamed their noise-pop producer, Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) or their new label (Sub Pop) but given that the songs were written before they got to the producer and inked a deal with Poneman, that's probably not true. You can't deny that some of them are pretty poppy songs at heart, the Pitchfork reviewer is probably right that this is all their own doing. But so what? Does a band have to have a body of work that totally conforms to one aesthetic? I like the lush "Broadway", the folky "Death of a Salesman" and "Silver Rider". I even dig "California" (see below) which is described as their most pop song. I suppose just about every band who sticks around long enough gets to the point where they disappoint their fans by doing something different. You grow or die. And sometimes you grow AND die.
If anyone knows of any other "free and legals", please throw the link in the comments and I'll augment it. I'll withhold my final comment until after the show on Monday.
The Great Destroyer
Label: Sub Pop
From Low's hometown newspaper, the Duluth Superior:
The album title comes from a story Sparhawk wrote about two characters, The Great Destroyer and the Silver Rider. "The Destroyer wrecks everything no matter how hard he tries. In the story, he ends up killing the Silver Rider without knowing it was his twin brother," Sparhawk said of the story that's partially published in the liner notes.
Although about half the songs reference the struggle between the two characters, Sparhawk said he wasn't trying to write a concept album. The main thread through these songs is urgent tension, as opposed to earlier records that tended to tell stories after the fact."These songs feel more immediate, confused, like what's going on? I thought I understood this, but I don't," Sparhawk said. "It's about not having answers. It's about having a moment when you realize you're the problem."Tracks include the first single, "Monkey," on which the trio sings a harmonious, bile-filled threat to the monkeys on their backs: "Tonight you will be mine/tonight the monkey dies."With its juxtaposition of sunny melody and miserable lyrics, the pop-filled "California" is probably the closest thing to a radio hit that Low's ever done
Songs (hosted by Sub Pop)
Other full MP3s hosted by Epitonic
From Things We Lost in the Fire
From In The Fishtank with Dirty Three
(I had to update this and remove the "sample" MP3s that were up at Kranky + I'm having html "compose" mode problems again with Blogger)