The Low Anthem, Live Session #57

by oz on October 13, 2009

the low anthem

Watching The Low Anthem perform in studio was like entering a transcendent reality. They stopped in on Sunday morning, the final day of Lollapalooza and a morning that greeted most of HearYa with paralyzing hangovers. Somehow we each managed to put down a 32 oz Gatorade and a couple Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits prior to the band’s arrival, which provided just enough energy to load in gear that included a pump organ, clarinet, crotales, upright bass, alto horn, a couple guitars and a few harmonicas. Several of these instruments were completely foreign to me, which only added to the mystical allure of The Low Anthem.

We hustled around to get the cameras in place while The Low Anthem warmed up, singing familiar lines “Oh my god, the water’s all around us. Oh my god, it’s all around” from the song “Charlie Darwin.” Everyone in the studio stopped in their tracks to listen. Those sorrowful lyrics floated around a room that was custom built for sound and I knew immediately that this session would be special. And it was.

The session starts with “Ticket Taker,” featuring Ben Miller on acoustic guitar, Jeff Prystowsky on upright bass and Jocie Adams on clarinet. Ben remains on lead vocals, but that’s the only constant. Each band member seems equally comfortable with any instrument in their arsenal. “Charlie Darwin” follows with Jocie moving over to the crotales, an instrument that amazes me. Then, one of my favorite tracks from What The Crow Brings emerges in “This God Damn House.” Ben starts off with his alto horn while Jeff gets the feet moving on the pump organ. We were all taken by surprise when Ben stepped away from the mic to grab his cell phone. We started switching cameras from him, assuming he had pressing business that required an urgent text message. But then he grabbed a second phone and lifted them up as he whistled to create a spectral sound to finish the song.

The band brings a focused energy and intensity to their craft and Ben comes across like a quiet perfectionist that wants each note to sound just right. The Low Anthem return from touring abroad to bring their music stateside alongside Blind Pilot. Check out their MySpace page for dates.

Exclusive: The Low Anthem – Ticket Taker (Watch the video)

Exclusive: The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin (Watch the video)

Exclusive: The Low Anthem – This God Damn House (Watch the video)

Exclusive: The Low Anthem – Cigarettes and Whiskey

Download The Low Anthem Live Session as a zip file.

Video: The Low Anthem – This God Damn House

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody October 15, 2009 at 4:49 am

The first time Shirk played Charlie Darwin for me, I joked that I thought I had seen Jesus. Great stuff.

Shirk October 15, 2009 at 8:13 am

The first time I heard Charlie Darwin on their album I couldn’t help but pick up the guitar and strum and sing along for a good 4 or 5 times. It’s really a powerful tune. I’m happy that we got a live in-studio version down that we, and more importantly the band, are happy with. Ben, Jocie and Jeff are an amazing combo and I love the music that they are making. They are masters of restraint and it lets their music breath so well.

The night before this session I saw them play at the Hideout’s Lollapalooza afterparty with Joe Pug. Even after two long days at Lolla, I could hardly sleep and kept going over their setup in my head trying to decide how I was going to set the mics up and get everything right. Now that it’s all said and done I’m thinking that I could have put a Fisher-Price microphone up in the middle of the room and these guys would have sounded amazing.

Agnes October 18, 2009 at 1:59 am

I’ve been hanging out for this one guys! Thanks for sharing.

Sarahbeth October 23, 2009 at 6:41 am

You can check out RELEVANT’s Q & A with The Low anthem here:

AD November 9, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Zip file appears to be corrupt – will only download 11.5 MB of 30 MB. Perhaps it is a problem on my end but I don’t think so..

oz November 9, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I just tested and it’s working fine for me.

Shirk November 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

I just downloaded The Low Anthem session to test. Works fine here on Safari and Firefox.

Kerry Mulder August 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Loving it. Keep up the good work.

mixiox March 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Just stumbled across this browsing the sessions at random – and was stunned! Listening to it I delved deep into the music and didn’t notice anything around me. This didn’t happen to me for some years now. Thank you guys.

Woody March 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

We just did another with The Low Anthem so you’ll be feeling that way again real soon.

shirk March 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Boeing 737 is sounding and looking awesome thanks to the video work of my pal Justin Edwards. Love and Altar is pretty killer as well. Very excited to share this one with you all!

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