I probably don’t need to tell you who Low is. They’ve been around for 20 years. They’ve made 10 proper albums including a new one this year. I reference them a lot, and I’ve written about them here. If you know me in real life, I’ve probably made you watch the spectacular video for “Try To Sleep” from a couple of years ago. The video, which is actually really depressing, features John “Uncle Jesse” Stamos and some gal who used to be a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model. Although the video for “Try to Sleep” isn’t why we’re here today, you really should go back and watch it again. And again.
The real reason we’re here is for the new video for “Plastic Cup”, from their new album. The video debuted today on National Public Radio’s “All Songs Considered”. Follow this link to watch the video.
The song is about drug tests, specifically the cup used in a piss test. It’s about how the cup will never decompose and future societies a thousand years from now might stumble upon a piss test cup and mistake it for some sort of holy grail.
The video… um. It’s about some balaclava-wearing giants playing around with a snow globe. Low is inside the snow globe. I don’t know what kind of existential point is trying to be made, but it’s an interesting video anyway.
I can’t say that The Invisible Way is my favorite Low record, but it’s really good. They don’t make bad records. If I was forced to choose a favorite, I would probably go with Drums and Guns (2007), but it would be a really tough call to make.
I can, however, say that “Plastic Cup” is one of my favorite Low songs. Every one of their albums has at least two songs that take my breath away,and this is one of them. It has everything that I love about Low. The super-low tempo, the wonderful co-ed vocal harmonies between the husband and wife duo of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, and a bit of smart-assedness. I mean, the song ends with the lyric
Maybe you should go and write your own damn song
And move on
The thing that really does it for me is a tiny thing that happens within the vocal harmony. Mimi’s part rises by a half octave or so at the end of alternating lines. Also, the way she does that tremolo thing absolutely drives me wild.
You should buy Low’s new album The Invisible Way directly from Sub Pop Records here.
I should also point out that Low will be playing at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival, which runs from September 5-7 in downtown Raleigh. 175 bands. 15 venues. Three nights, two days. The full schedule will be released in a couple of weeks, but you can glance at the full lineup. Later this summer, I’ll start highlighting some of the small print bands who will be playing. What we know is that Low is not one of the headliners. They’re playing Saturday night, but not in City Plaza. Spiritualized and The Breeders will be the headliners in City Plaza that night. Once that show is done at 10, I can hazard a guess that Low will be either at Lincoln Theatre, or in Memorial Hall, playing one of the coveted two-hour sets. No matter what, I’ll be there.