Excellent double-header this week at the Bataclan with two great American bands from the last twenty years.
From Duluth, MN and based on core-married-couple-with-two-kids Alan Sparhawk on guitar and Mimi Parker on drums, Low has been doing beautiful and very very very slow music since 1993. Slow does not mean not intense as there is a kind of church music meets Nirvana in their art, which explains why this has been such an interesting band for years. Their new LP is called “C’mon” (2011) and is a great place to start with if you have never heard of them. A few interesting facts about Low:
– two of their songs have been covered by Robert Plant in his latest LP “Band of Holy Joy”. The Led Zeppelin singer says he has been a fan for many years;
– Mimi and Alan are very spiritual people. Their Christmas LP is probably the only decent piece of music you will be able to play to your family at Xmas time (trust me…)
– When in need of noise, Alan is the leader of the trio band Retribution Gospel Choir whose excellent last LP “2”(2010) is highly recommended
Mercury Rev is a band of many lives. They began as a bunch of guys playing a kind of psychedelic music making two LP’s before larger-than-life singer David Baker left them. After an intermediary nice unsuccessful LP, remaining core members Jonathan Donahue, Grasshopper and Dave Fridmann (soon to become a highly demanded producer) literally tried a last chance record mixing American rock traditions with Ennio Morricone atmosphere. Instead of being a nice farewell record, “Deserter’s Songs” (1998) was to be their road to success record highly plebiscited by general public and rock critics, finishing for instance the year 1998 as album of the year in New Musical Express. They went on making good and not so good records after that, sometimes with too much grandiloquence to my mind but “Deserter’s Songs” is without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest LP’s if you want to hear strange and beautiful music (9.5/10).
As is quite trendy now, they are on the road to play “Deserter’s Songs” in its glorious entirety and they played a fantastic show in Paris, Jonathan being quite a photogenic frontman!