Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Well, my tried and tested has again come up trumps, the old my i-tunes library search model. This at least has the advantage of knowing the songs shown, rather than a pretence based on some song that just happens to have amethyst otherwise mentioned, culled from '100 Best Songs with Gemstones in Their Title', those lists forever propagated in the once venerable Rolling Stone magazine. OK, I had a false start with Jade: Wayne Shorter being perhaps too old school for this site, and Opal: Bicep, which is maybe too new. And Lapis Lazuli brought nothing forth, even though I swear it is in a lyric I can't quite grasp right now, perhaps a Jim Morrison. (Answers to me in comments, please, it is too hot a day for me to be researching.)

I really rather like Low, the husband and wife team from Duluth, famously Mormons. Although they have been around for yonks, it is probably only within the last 5 - 10 years I have become aware of them, in part through the promotion given them through the patronage of others. (Robert Plant is a prominent fan, including 2 of their songs on his 2010 album, 'Band of Joy', saying, at the time of this, possibly, given his back catalogue, unusual choice:

"It's great music; it's always been in the house playing away beside Jerry Lee Lewis and Howlin' Wolf, 
you know. There's room for everything." 

Often slow and sombre, with sparse and understated arrangements, they have a mesmerising vocalist in each of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Turner, otherwise guitar and drums respectively, but it is in duet harmony that the gem surely sparkles. I am sometimes minded of Richard and Linda Thompson's less cheerful moments in many of the arrangements, the voices melding both equivalently and equally melancholically. Bass duties have been provided by a variety of bassists over their 24 year recording history, but with Steve Garrington for the past 8. Keyboards, swathes of choral synthesised sound, are provided also by Garrington. As well as their own material they have also produced quite a selection of unlikely cover material, from Neil Young to the Smiths, Joy Division to the Trapp Family Singers(!). 'Amethyst' is from 2013's 'The Invisible Way', possibly my favourite of their output. Here is what UK online hipster resource, 'The Quietus' had to say about it.

I won't go on, the music says more than I possibly can. By way of a sign off, here is another song from the same album, 'Just Make It Stop', just to make me stop.

Amethyst, the song: here!

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