Monday, December 12, 2005

No Hits 12.12.05

Long Way Around the Sea - Low

I can't think of too many rock bands from whom I tolerate an original Christmas song, let alone like it. But Low has always been in a category of its own. I guess it's the undeniable chemistry between husband/wife vocalists Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker or their simple, but never simplistic, arrangements. In "Long Way Around the Sea," from Low's 1999 EP Christmas (US, UK), they play to their strengths with skeletal acoustic guitar and organ, perfectly dovetailing harmonies and a glacial pace that makes you walk that long, uncertain journey--step by ponderous step. This is Low at their heart-stopping best.

And you might remember "Little Drummer Boy" from its starring role in a Gap commercial a couple years ago. (Okay, snark aside, it's a beautiful version):

Little Drummer Boy - Low

Though Sub Pop released Low's most recent record The Great Destroyer (US, UK), the band runs their own label, Chairkicker's Union. As you might expect, these folks have great taste. One of the best surprises on the roster is a roots rock outfit called The Winter Blanket (apropos for many Northern climes right now, no?). The band describes their sound as "Townes Van Zandt and Gillian Welch playing with Crazy Horse." Fair enough. But I also think they owe some debt to Low. And they contributed a fascinating cover of Low's "Drag" to tribute album We Could Live in Hope (US, UK). But for the title and lyrics, you'd never know it was the same song:

Drag - The Winter Blanket

Drag - Low

Why I Act This Way - The Winter Blanket

Darkness Failed You - The Winter Blanket

The Winter Blanket's last album is Prescription Perils (available on iTunes and by mail order at Fractured Discs). They expect to release a new LP in the spring. Also, the band has posted their version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on their MySpace page.


Blogger -tr0y- said...

love Low! have to get that Sub Pop release still... good post today--didnt expect it at all!!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

That Low Christmas record is fantastic.

5:02 PM  

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