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items tagged with Alan Sparhawk

Jumping Off a Cliff and Landing on Your Feet: Retribution Gospel Choir, December 31 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-12-22 11:47:16

Retribution Gospel Choir. Photo by Chelsea Morgan.When I interviewed Alan Sparhawk in 2007, the singer/songwriter/guitarist touched on the idea of a “golden moment ... when you’re sort of just struggling with some instrument and you sort of have just figured it out, and you are just figuring out the first possible ideas and melodies on it; it’s really exciting.”

He was talking specifically about Low’s Drums & Guns, in which the Minnesota trio (featuring Sparhawk, his wife Mimi Parker on drums, and bassist Matt Livingston – who has since left the band) experimented with instruments they weren’t comfortable playing.

In an interview last week promoting Retribution Gospel Choir’s December 31 performance at RIBCO (supporting the Meat Puppets), that concept re-emerged in slightly different form. He cast it as freedom – but it’s critical to understand that it isn’t a natural state of being but the result of work and getting rid of ego. “Those are everything,” he said. “‘There was a moment where I was not in the way.’”


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Low: Letting Go
Written By: Administrator
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2007-06-06 09:38:58

Low The lyrics that open Low's Drums & Guns are as forceful as singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk is tentative.

"Pretty People," over a stark wave of fuzz, sets the tone for the record: "All the soldiers / They're all gonna die / All the little babies / They're all gonna die / All the poets / And all the liars / And all you pretty people / You're all gonna die."

It's a grim assessment, and the mood doesn't abate for the Minnesota band, known for its minimalist, slow songs and the often-haunting vocal interplay between Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker. (The two are married.) Low's 2005 album, The Great Destroyer, was louder, faster, and more accessible than anything the band had done, but Drums & Guns is a return to glacial pacing, with an experimental sound and a preoccupation with violence.


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