The Low Anthem

Patrick Watson @ 9:30 Club - 5/27/15

Patrick Watson @ 9:30 Club - 5/27/15

Sometimes it’s the happy accidents that make being a music fan oh-so-exciting.

Back in 2012, one such accident was going to see Great Lake Swimmers open for the reasonably hyped Patrick Watson – the show was actually broadcast/archived on NPR – without knowing a thing about the man, his music, or what was about to happen.  And what happened was revelatory, awe inspiring -- in short, MAGIC. The eschewing of traditional lighting in favor of a more personal approach – tiny tealight-like devices were mounted on guitars, fingers, wherever they could be fit – amplified the angelic weirdness of Watson’s music, pitching the audience into an almost dream-state euphoria, where magic and whimsy and wonder were all real and happening right now in front of you.

That show set a bar, not just for what Patrick Watson, the band (the band is the man is the band…it’s metaphysically weird but just roll with it) was capable of, but legitimately, what we should expect from ALL live shows going forward from this melodious singularity. So to say expectations were high for Watson and his band’s most recent stop in Washington, D.C. would be putting it lightly. Throw in the fact that their new album, Love Songs For Robots, is one of the best releases of 2015 to date (we reviewed it on the podcast here), and really, there’s no way for anything to live up to the hype.

And yet…Patrick Watson found a way.


Win Stuff! 2 tickets to see The Low Anthem at the 9:30 Club on 9/15/11!

[CONTEST CLOSED]


Sad that you didn't win tickets to see David Wax Museum? It's alright because the giveaways keep on coming!

This time we're giving away a pair of tickets to see The Low Anthem at the 9:30 Club the very next night!

Hailing from Providence, RI, the bands 2008 album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin gained a ton of attention, especially from the NPR crowd. They followed it up this year with Smart Flesh, an album that we happen to think is one of this years very best.

An interesting thing about Smart Flesh, is that  the band moved their gear into an abandoned pasta sauce factory to record it. It was an unconventional move to be sure, but the resulting record ended up sounding like just about nothing else out there. Odd maybe, but was a move that apparently paid off.

Check out their video for the album's opener, "Ghost Woman Blues" to see the factory, and the band, in action.

Like it? Love it? Get to the freaking point already, man?

Alright, fine. You've got two days to enter to win tickets to the show this Thursday. All you have to do is answer us a simple question in the comments section below, leave a valid email address that we can contact you at, and you are IN!

Your burning question is:

"What's your favorite type of pasta sauce, and what type of music does it go best with" 

Contest ends at midnight tomorrow and the winner will be announced/notified on Wednesday morning.

GOOD LUCK!

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Best Of 2011 (so far)

We are now officially half way through the year folks, and it's turning out to be a pretty damn good one for music. Stylistically, the releases this year have been all over the place, but each and every one that we're going to talk about over the next two days are great, if not special in their own right. Don't believe me? check out the list of just the runner ups:

 

  • Gillian Welch – The Harrow and the Harvest
  • Other Lives - Tamer Animals
  • Peter Bjorn and John - Gimme Some
  • Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
  • Generationals – Actor-Caster
  • Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
  • Cass McCombs – Wit’s End
  • Jill Scott -  The Light of the Sun
  • Cults - Cults 

 

See what I mean? Impressive right? And some of those won't be staying out of the top 10 before the year is over. So now that you've seen what didn't make it,  let's get on with what did, shall we?


The Low Anthem @ The 9:30 Club 4.2.11 (DC)

Refined. Talented. Elegant. All words that should be used to describe the sound of The Low Anthem, who performed this past Friday at the 9:30 Club. In the opening slot for Iron and Wine, the group’s set was cut far too short. But making the best of the time that they did have, the band managed to work a quiet magic on the crowd with their unique brand of ethereal Americana.

Over the course of about 40 minutes, Ben Knox Miller, the band's chief vocalist, led the group through a set that leaned heavily on their latest album, Smart Flesh (read our review here) while still finding time to dig back deeper into songs from their earlier releases. Miller’s voice, which comes across as uniquely off on the band’s recordings, was surprisingly strong on hushed tracks like Matter of Time and To the Ghosts Who Write History Books. In fact, all the voices in the band are strong. These guys can really sing, and when they came together in the middle of the stage for the songs Ghost Woman Blues and Love and Altar, the band proved that those gorgeous harmonies that you hear on record have nothing to do with studio magic.


Reviews: The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh

Every day for the past few weeks I’ve listened to this album at least once. Some days I listen to it twice. When that’s not enough I’ve just put it on and let it go, endlessly repeating till I’ve got my fill. To say I love this album is an understatement. I’m obsessed with it, and I don’t know how I got to this point.

The band, based out of Rhode Island, was just barely on my radar before this. Their 2009 release Oh My God, Charlie Darwin didn’t really resonate with me when it was released, so I really didn’t pay much attention to what they were doing for the next year or so. Why I would be interested in a new release by band whose last release I found to be cold, sterile and for the most part boring doesn’t really make sense to me. Maybe it was just morbid curiosity, or maybe it was just because I try to listen to every “major” release that’s coming down the pipe. It could have been anything, but maybe, just maybe it was something else. Maybe I was drawn to this record. Maybe this is a record that so needs to be heard that it reaches out with its own planet sized gravitational pull and swallows up any and all who come within its reach.