A few months back I headed over to First Avenue to see the [Current] Best Band in America, The Avett Brothers. I hadn't yet heard The Low Anthem, and really didn't know much about them beyond the buzz they were getting in certain dusty corners of the Internet. The audience was motley crew, at least 40% of whom were employees of a certain ubiquitous retail chain who were just there to get "crazy" and sing loudly and badly at each other about their January weddings. As the curtain lifted, the Rhode Island quartet slowly ambled on stage, looking more than a little like the waitstaff at an organic restaurant, and leaned into a gentle and layered rendition of To The Ghosts Who Write History Books. That's right. Rather than come out and vainly try to knock the audience back on their heels, The Low Anthem stuck to their gameplan and doled out one the most seductive, slow-burn sets I have heard in years. The audience thawed from indifferent, to confused ("Is that a saw?") to accepting, and by the time the band kicked into stomping The Horizon Is A Beltway, well, even the broad in front me stopped spilling her drink long enough to pay attention. The next day I tracked down Oh My God Charlie Darwin, and I've gotta say, as much as I enjoyed these guys (and gal) live, that's a record best experienced alone. Deceptively simple songs skillfully draped in unorthodox instrumentation. However, these numbers recorded at Laundromatinee benefit from the best of both worlds: the dynamic interplay of the live setting under controlled conditions.moreless
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