Retribution Gospel Choir is an indie-rock trio from Duluth, Minnesota. It’s a side project of Low frontman Alan Sparhawk. Low bassist Steve Garrington joins the band along with drummer Eric Pollard. The band formed in 2007 and they’ve released three albums, including a brand new one just a few weeks ago.
While Low is known for its downtempo sad bastard “slowcore” style, Retribution Gospel Choir is a much harder and louder thing.
It bears mentioning that Low has a brand new album, which officially drops today, and was produced by Jeff Tweedy. It’s quite good. I pre-ordered a physical copy and ended up getting it a week early, so I’ve had the chance to spend some time with it. I’ve liked every album of theirs, but I still think that nothing compares to their 2001 album Things We Lost in The Fire. This isn’t really about Low, though.
The self-titled debut Retribution Gospel Choir record was produced by Mark Kozelek and released on Kozelek’s Caldo Verde Records. 2, and the brand new 3 are both on Sub Pop Records.
If I’m honest, 2 is one of those albums that I liked a lot when I first got it, and then it faded away. The other day at work, I gave it a spin, and I fell in love again. The one that stood out the most was today’s song.
“Poor Man’s Daughter” by Retribution Gospel Choir
My suggestion is to play this very loud.
One of the things that I like about it is how enormous the song is. To me, it’s reminiscent of the big rock bands of the early 1970s. I’m not really a fan of that era, but I totally respect those bands. In the middle bit, everything is so crazily loud, and Sparhawk’s guitar solo is completely on fire. Oh, sure, it’s a bit noodle-y. Maybe even wanky. Still, though, it’s pretty awe-inspiring. And when that comes to a conclusion, the song is punctuated by an acoustic guitar bit. There’s something that’s pretty awesome about that juxtaposition.
Obviously, also the drumming is much bigger and more power-based than what we’re used to when we hear Sparhawk singing. In Low, Mimi Parker plays a very minimal kit while standing upright. In this band, Eric Pollard plays a much more traditional loud rock style of drums. And he’s playing holy hell out of them on this song.
For extra credit, watch this outdoor live performance of the song: