Sunday, December 13, 2009
So Sick It Hurts: Low Red Land - "Dog's Hymns" and "Weight of Nations"
Ok, truth be told, this was just going to be a So Sick about Low Red Land's brain-flooring and practically pitch-perfect "Dog's Hymns"... but as I was refreshing my memory of the brilliance that is that record, I was reminded of the stepping stone brilliance that paved its way: their previous monstrous effort, "Weight of Nations". Perplexed with how to approach this gnarcolumn, not wanting to sacrifice any opportunity to turn any of you loyal Bellions onto ridiculously talented and masterful artists you might not have came across yet, I decided to make this So Sick more just about the band itself, since I'm including both their full-lengths, which to my knowledge is pretty much their discography. I promise to keep that a one-time occurrence, since we probably don't want this to evolve into just a mere gushing over a rad band, but rather keep it about an over-the-top sick record you need to own, like, yesterday.
So anywho, where do I begin? Fuckin Low fuckin Red Land... Fuck... I will go out on a limb and say "Dog's Hymns" is probably one of the few records that I would truly refer to as a "cinematic triumph". No joke in the slightest. Each track after track just paint and evoke such vivid, and often haunting, representations of our most basic of feelings: be it despair, triumph, regret, optimism, loss, camaraderie, rage, nostalgia, sadness, etc. It baffles me how this band can capture more raw, gritty, aggressive emotion in one verse than some brutal bands can in an entire album, let alone their entire career. But this isn't even the clincher -- They can do it in a song that is most assuredly the opposite of brutal. Hell, they can even do it with just a fuckin banjo. And if you can make a banjo stir up such visceral feelings that can make a brain feel like it's on autopilot, lost in a movie scene directed by the accompanying tragic/inspiring lyrics, you win.
But don't get me wrong, these guys are not some sad-sack piece of shit weepy band... They construct every turn of their musical landscape with fucking teeth. They deliver those kinds of sentiments that can hit you in the gut like that first time you saw your tough as nails father accidently let a little of the waterworks show through his stonefaced exterior, to only choke it back down again into forgotten existence. Shit, I have never heard so many songs one after another that would be the quintessential soundtrack behind every shot in a movie where a character stands lips pursed staring off into space... I'm looking at you Gus Van Sant... And I haven't even begun to talk about the songs where the singers fucking YELL. These cats have shredded throats can peel paint off a '74 Dodge. The range of the tunes are seriously fucking batty. I dunno, I could totally be in the minority with these claims, so you'll just have to pick up these two records and decide for yourself. But seriously heed this call, cuz I really doubt you'll be disappointed in the slightest.
Low Red Land - "Dog's Hymn" (live @ Monkeywrench Books SXSW '08)
Low Red Land - "Dreams That Heroes Dream"