Sometimes the things you remember are really odd. For example, I remember that I bought this album (Low’s Things We Lost in the Fire) in 2001 shortly after moving to Ann Arbor, at Matt Braddish’s amazing record store (that I would come to work at in a few years), Underground Sounds. I was there with Ali (who would work at Underground--when it really WAS underground--first and actually help me get the job) and maybe one other person? Liz B.? Ali and I had had recently had a long conversation about Low and how seeing them live had changed her life. She showed me her ticket from the show, which was hand-designed and printed. I can still kind of remember how it looked. I was intrigued and decided to pick up this album, along with Get Lost by The Magnetic Fields (that one came on a year-old tip from a friend’s cousin).
I remember that when I got back to East Quad, I immediately put on the Fields disc and freaked out about it, particularly the opening track, “You and Me and the Moon.” I ran down the hallway to Liz’s room, where many friends were gathered, and insisted that they all “LISTEN TO THIS LIKE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OH MY GOD IT’S SO GOOD.” We blasted it and danced.
Conversely, I can’t remember when I first listened to my other purchase from that day, but certainly when I did, I did not run out and demand to share it with everyone I knew. Low is a sad, troubled band that produces introspective, honest and haunting music best enjoyed in the company of oneself and one’s headphones. As the end of the summer turned to the dead of the winter, my life proceeded to descend into the gray haze of Michigan cold, much-too-drunken evenings and lesbian drama. Sweeping and dramatic, these songs were a lovely soundtrack to events that now appear to be some petty pratfalls of youth (but were then heavy, heartbreaking, tortured times…you get the picture).
I hadn’t thought of this band for a while, but David Martin happened to play this song (with the lovely harmonies and percussion contributions of The VE family) as a cover at The 50 last weekend. It made me want to break out this album again and appreciate that time period from a new vantage point. After all, the leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping. Luckily, I haven’t had a winter quite like that one in a great deal time.
When they found your body,
Giant Xs on your eyes.
With your half of the ransom,
You bought some sweet, sweet, sweet
And gave them to the night.