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Christmas


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Vinyl, October 26, 2010
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“While driving though Chicago, on tour, we stopped finally to visit Wilco at their studio, The Loft. They had invited us to come check it out several times over the years, but this would finally be the day. It’s a great place—a sea of instruments in a relaxed, open working environment. It’s cool, but what really converted us was hearing the new Mavis Staples tracks ... Read more in Amazon's Low Store

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (October 26, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kranky
  • ASIN: B0042L01S4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,444 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Vinyl LP pressing. the first time vinyl release for this classic Low holiday recording. Low's attention to musical detail combined with the heavenly vocal harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are perfectly attuned to both traditional carols like 'Silent Night' and more contemporary tunes such as 'Blue Christmas'. Christmas contains a selection of seasonal songs, including four originals by the band, mostly recorded at Low's 20 Below studio in Duluth, MN.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan J. Casey on October 30, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I declared this to be my favorite record of 1999, right above "The Soft Bulletin." I still stand by that choice (even if I do listen to The Flaming Lips more often). For a Low fan, it was a beautiful Christmas gift and an unexpected surprise. "Just Like Christmas" is one of their poppiest tunes, a totally great, uplifting Christmas anthem. Watching Alan's dad play the jingle bells on stage with them at First Avenue was a real joy.
If you celebrate Christmas or not, are into Low or not, I think I can still safely recommend it objectively as a great Christmas record. "Little Drummer Boy" is a song that usually bugs me (except maybe the David Bowie/Bing Crosby version) but Low gives it a spooky electronic buzz that I highly recommend experiencing late at night while surrounded by christmas lights. "Blue Christmas" gets a more traditional, but no less gorgeous treatment. Mimi's voice wraps around Alan's guitar with a sensuality that nicely balances the Christian/family vibe present on most of the rest of the songs. The original songs here are mostly more ponderous, "Long Way Around The Sea" has a funereal touch that seems a bit more suited to Easter. But then that's Low.
For a generally cynical person, this record makes me all melty and happy. The aural equivalent of coming in from the snow and sitting in front of a fire. I'll probably buy it for my parents this year. Maybe not everyone will love it as much as I do, but it's hard to imagine anyone not enjoying at least one of the songs on here. Love it, hug it, take it home.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Glasgow on December 19, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I am so glad that Low did this Christmas album, no matter what pseudo-intellectuals like Lolitapop say, it is a wonderful album, full of Low's perspectives on these songs, and even if you are not Christian, it is a wonderful album to add to your Low collection, they are just wonderful songs, done by wonderful people. And I think Woody Guthrie, who wasnt exactly religious, once said that it was a pleasure to sing the old religious songs, because they meant so much to so many people.......not just because of their message.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel O. Williams on December 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Low's Christmas album continues what is perhaps the most interesting mini-trend of this last brief gasp of Emo '99: an apparent religious reverence. A Christmas album provides a unique opportunity for a band to make a particular statement to its fanbase, and the Mormon duo of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker use it to more clearly imbue their already charged placidity with sobering religious devotion (and just a few jingly bells). One would suspect other indie bands have this tone of belief (Sunny Day Real Estate), but there are few (Pedro the Lion) that address ideas of God and Christian spirituality specifically and unambiguously. For some listeners, these topics are unpalateable and silly--if there were a Supersuckers or NOFX Christmas Album, I'm sure it would address their concerns more adequately--but for those with an ear and a heart for rimy icicle beauty, the Low Christmas Album celebrates the melancholy joy of the Winter Birth with splendid understatement. (N.B.: The serene, minimal cover art was done by John Porcellino. Those who have not seen his lovely comic book series King Cat, would do well to investigate further.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "charlesdexterrward" on December 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
And I mean that as a compliment. Extremely mellow and mind-bogglingly minimalist, Low stays in form with Christmas. Low performs Little Drummer Boy in such a way as only Low could envision it and make it sound not just nice, but actually cool. Sparhawk's vocals make the words sound as meaningful as I am sure they were intended to be. The sound of Drummer Boy is not indicative of the overall sound of the CD, as Drummer Boy features a Mazzy Star or possibly Slowdive-ish fuzzy drone and the rest of the songs are acoustic guitar-based, like most of Low's other works.
It's nearly Christmas as I write this, and I realized that I haven't listened to this CD since last winter. The title, cover art and some of the songs may be about Christmas, or just winter in general, but the music itself is inviting any time of year (something I will have to remember myself).
If you are a fan of Low, and you appreciate their sparse sound and the incredibly slow pace of their music, then you should like Christmas.
Other great songs include the cover Blue Christmas, Long Way Around the Sea and If You Were Born Today, which is as depressing a song as I have ever heard possibly outside Leonard Cohen or Arab Strap, but is unquestioningly beautiful.
By the way, to the reviewer from Shelton, I believe the lyric which you were wondering about was "by age eight." Like I said -- depressing, but beautiful.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By music lover on October 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Low understand the connection between joy and sadness. By performing some old well known tunes but slowing them down and simplifying them, (eg the acoustic guitar and harmonising vocals of Silent night) they take the sentimentality out of Christmas and give it back a sense of beauty and wonder. On other songs, Low work really hard on their sound which is full, deep and harmoniously sad in Long way around the sea and If you were born today, the songs are slow, making you wait for every note. My highlight is the guitar solo on Blue Christmas - how do they get away with it - the barest accompaniment ever and a sound that makes me want to hug the band and tell them it's going to be alright. It appeals to your patient side and makes you appreciate the passage of time, but is never boring. This record is a blessing for any Christian frustrated with nasty cheesy Christian rock, and for anyone who still has a sense of wonder, religious or not. and if you are an old cynic then you need to listen to Low to melt your heart. The record has never depressed me but it is not sweet either; i just think it makes the listener slow down for a valuable few minutes. i challenge anyone to listen to this record of an evening and not be moved by the almost unbearable beauty of it. A relief for anyone that thought that Christmas was just a cold time of the year. it turns out to involve Christ as well. Low express this better than any other band i've heard.
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