2005: The Year In Music (Loon State Edition)

As someone who’s lived almost all of his life in the Twin Cities, I’ve always been a big fan of Minnesota’s music scene, and one of the pleasures of being The A.V. Club’s Twin Cities editor is that I get to hear so much local music. As a sidebar to our national 2005: The Year In Music list, here’s my take on the best discs made by or (in one case) about Minnesotans this year.

1) Low, The Great Destroyer: Low’s musical identity is so closely tied to melancholy, introspective stillness that turning up the volume would seem to wreck what’s appealing about the band in the first place, but on The Great Destroyer, Duluth’s finest export after taconite pellets cranked up the fuzzbox and the amps without sacrificing a thing. Instead, the increased intensity—ominously rumbling keyboards under “Monkey,” a loud, distorted riff powering “Everybody’s Song”—lends Destroyer an epic quality that works hand in hand with the intimacy at the heart of a Low song.

Originally published Dec. 16, 2005 on avclub.com. Read the complete article.

Interview: Alan Sparhawk of Low

It’s been a tumultuous year for Duluth band Low, which jumped to a new label (Sub Pop), released one of its strongest—and definitely its loudest—albums (The Great Destroyer), and then went on an abrupt hiatus in May due to mental-health issues of leader Alan Sparhawk. Then, in October, longtime bassist Zak Sally announced he was leaving the trio. Low will return to the stage Dec. 9 at First Avenue for a special holiday show, and in January returns seriously to touring with a series of shows that take the band all across the U.S. and Canada. The A.V. Club caught up recently with Sparhawk to talk about all the changes.

Originally published Dec. 7, 2005 on avclub.com. Read the complete article.

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