MP3 Low Rise - Did You Sleep Beneath The Stars Last Night
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12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, POP: California Pop
"Indie rock's current state is a lot of bands trying to be cool, but whatever happened to trying to be great?" asks James Spath, lead singer of San Francisco's Low Rise. "Nobody's brave enough to start out where The Cure or U2 did-trying to matter. But we want to matter. We don't do irony very well."
Low Rise writes hooky, guitar-driven pop songs fueled by emotional authenticity. The kind of songs you wish you heard on Alternative Radio in between Coldplay and Weezer. Within Low Rise songs are opposing elements that have every reason to clash, and somehow don't. If a glammed-out 70's Ziggy Stardust guitar riff happens to work itself into the same song as a breakbeat loop, so be it. "And if we feel like going all Badfinger on the harmonies, we can do that too," James adds.
Seeing Low Rise live, the first thing you're struck by is James' layered, cinematic voice, charged with desire to engage the audience. Jason Spath's voice joins his brother's in expansive harmonies, and Ian Jones' guitar pulls and pushes unpredictable counter melodies along the way. Colin Christian's bass lines sound like Paul McCartney remixed by the Chemical Brothers and weave melodically around Skott Bennett's driving no-waste rhythms. All the energy comes through on Low Rise's debut CD, Did You Sleep Beneath The Stars Last Night.
The CD is structured like a movie. It opens with a bang, starting with an us-against-them battle-cry ("We Are The Greatest"), and keeps the energy high and the plot in motion. Throughout it tells a story punctuated with action sequences, like the upbeat "Cliff" and "4am". But you've also got your car chases, love scenes, and fistfights along the way.
"The Accident" is the heart of Stars. Lyrically, it touches the familiar themes of loss, sorrow, drugs, and doubt, but the arrangement is uplifting. "It's always been a crowd-pleaser, so we pulled out all the stops when we recorded it. I've never heard a better vocal performance out of James," says Skott. With a moving string arrangement and some understated beats and synth loops, the song has a little of everything-exactly what makes Low Rise's sound unique.
"Home" is a stomping glam anthem that wouldn't be denied a spot on Stars. "We were done with the CD" explains James. "But 'Home' wrote itself in one practice, and we had to run back and record it. You can hear how much fun we were having in the studio. When I was a kid and just getting the idea of being a musician, I would seek out moments like those on my favorite records as a kind of road map. And that's why I'm doing this- the idea that someone out there might hear us and do something stupid and noble like starting a rock band."
Low Rise started as a mutual admiration society. Bass player Colin Christian was a dedicated fan of Blueland, James' and Skott's former band. Blueland released two nationally distributed records on PopMafia. After Blueland disbanded in 1999, Skott sat in for a few shows with lead guitarist Ian Jones' band, Charmer. It wasn't long before the four ended up together as Low Rise, writing songs and booking their first show. "We only had five songs, and we had no business playing so soon," James remembers, "but my brother was in town from New York and I wanted him to see us." Jason was so impressed by Low Rise that he ripped up his return ticket and stayed in San Francisco to complete the lineup.
Did You Sleep Beneath The Stars Last Night is the sound of a band reaching for greatness in an era of music defined by reduced expectations and ironic detachment. "You don't form a rock band because you're humble!" explains James. "We make no secret that we want to reach as many people as we can. There's a whole anti-success culture that has sprung up in the San Francisco scene over the past few years that rewards bands for not trying, and it's complete bullmake. You know what? It's OK to believe in your music, it's OK to think you're in a great band. I think Low Rise is a great band. I think we can matter. We made a record that's going to connect with a lot of people-and to us, that's the point."
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