Words by Ricky
I was grooving to the new Santigold album. Catchy digital beats, radio-friendly pop melodies, off the wall lyrics. ARGHHHHH I’M SO TRENDY! Then a link to the new Low Man EP greeted my (unwanted) Facebook timeline. “One quick listen and then return to some ‘gold“, I thought. The opening riff on “Migraine” roped me in, so I cracked open a leftover Tecate from the fridge. My fridge soon lost another cheap can of beer to rock n’roll … and then another. I’m now hungover … THANKS A-FUCK A LOT, LOW MAN.
This EP takes place in a world where burly-chested, truck-driving hooligans gulp beers, blankly seduce women (without their wives knowing, of course), and blast the loudest rock songs imaginable (Paul Ryan’s iPod playlist apparently). Oddly enough I didn’t just describe the band. The band members seem like regular guys, so don’t expect many fist fights at their shows. They’re sonically a hybrid of Queens of the Stone Age and Pissed Jeans with some Sabbath riffage sprinkled in. Fuck, their vocals even match that recognizable Josh Hommes timbre. The EP credits guitarist Luke Rifugiato (a Pittsburgh name if I ever heard one), bassist Jeremy Zerbe, and drummer Derek Krystek (they all share vocals), but they’ve gigged around Pittsburgh with a different lineup (there’s usually four of them).
The self-titled EP doesn’t seek the approval of an artsy or cutting edge fan base. Those craving mean guitars, booming drums, and aggro vocals will dig this though. I already mentioned first track “Migraine.” It hints at the five-song ruckus ahead by fomenting the listener with sharp rhythms and very dude-like lyrics. “Golden Dawn” froths to the lyrical brim with religious symbolism, but it’s more mystical (Zepplin) than wannabe-cool, Christian-y rock (Chevelle anyone?). The EP shoots its load midway through with the year’s most uplifting prostitution anthem “Pay the Bills.” I’m a sucker for group lyrics done well, which barely ever happens—but it happens here. The intense finale “Roll the River Down” reminds me of the great stoner punk bands of our day (with a killer guitar solo courtesy of Rifugiato).
It’s party music. Also, in the most complimentary way, I’d say the lyrics are kind of stupid. Don’t pass judgment on me—that’s far from an insult. At its core, rock n’ roll is wonderfully stupid. Remember the 70’s? Nah, neither do I (I was far from being conceived). I’ve seen pictures, though … pictures of rock gods decked in leather pants with girly long hair, eyeliner, and constipated singing expressions. They look stupid (and kind of like drag queens). Poor punk rockers with skin-tight patched-up pieces of fabric (you COULD call them pants) and giant belts littered with spikes or studs? STUPID. Live bands that destroy their equipment by crashing into their innocent drummer’s drum set? Joyously stupid! Hell, I used the term “prostitution anthem” earlier in the review … STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, but that’s all why I adore rock music. It’s dumb, childish, and it allows you to act however you want … and if the performer knows how to write a good song, that’s a bonus. Anyways, this EP taps into that spirit, and introduces Low Man via some good songs (for fans of these guys, also check out locals like Secret Tombs, Carousel, and Kim Phuc (R.I.P.)).
These songs would fit nicely on the Gooski’s jukebox IF Gooski’s was a motorcycle bar. So if you’re bored tonight, why not party with Low Man? Just a warning: your fridge may end up empty tomorrow, so plan ahead. Oh, and they next play at the Mr. Roboto Project on September 17th.
Rock ‘n fucking roll. Having seen these dudes play live, I totally agree with this. Be sure to listen to the EP stream above, and check out Low Man at the Mr. Roboto Project on September 17, with Pile and Old Accusers. They’re celebrating the release of this CD, so show up and party!