Legendary Canadian rock group Lowest of the Low is back with a vengeance. Freshly signed to MapleMusic Recordings in Canada, the group has finished work on their first studio album in 10 years. Entitled Sordid Fiction, the CD is slated for release on September 21st of this year.
The album was produced by Canadian rock legend Ian Blurton (The Weakerthans, From Fiction, C’mon) at Chemical Sound in Toronto and mixed by Seattle uber-producer Adam Kasper (Nirvana, The Tragically Hip, Foo Fighters).
Under the management of international powerhouse Key Music Group, whose other clients include The Pixies, Inspiral Carpets, fellow canucks The Marble Index (and, until his untimely demise, the late Clash front man Joe Strummer), the Low are set to tour both North America and the U.K. through the fall, beginning in September.
Lowest of the Low is identified as one of the groups responsible for Toronto’s independent music explosion of the early ’90s. They quickly established themselves as one of Canada’s finest bands, blending literate, astute lyrics with a sound that effortlessly ranged from folk to punk. All too soon it came to an end, however, as the band called it quits shortly after the release of their sophomore album Hallucigenia.
For six years, between 1994 and 2000, the Low was gone but definitely not forgotten. CD sales continued at a steady pace as a new generation of music fans discovered the band, and the landmark 1991 debut album, Shakespeare My Butt landed solidly at #6 on Chart Magazine’s list of the Top Canadian Albums of All Time.
When the band decided to get together and play a few reunion shows, there was an absolutely enormous audience waiting for them. The success of these few shows led to two cross-Canada tours, and a live album called Nothing Short of a Bullet, released in 2002. Further accolades included the 102.1 The Edge/Now Magazine Hall of Fame award, Ron Hawkins being voted Toronto’s Favourite Songwriter in the Now Magazine readers’ poll, and their being rated as the best band at the 2002 NXNE festival by ChartAttack.
In the wake of their successful comeback, original members Ron Hawkins (vocals/guitar/piano), Stephen Stanley (vocals/guitar) and David Alexander (drums) added to their ranks longtime collaborator Lawrence Nichols (harmonica, keyboards, vocals, guitar) and bassist Dylan Parker to begin the process of moving forward with new music.
Ian Blurton was brought on board to handle production duties, and the site chosen was the venerable Chemical Sound in downtown Toronto. Ron, Lawrence and Dylan had worked with Ian and Chemical engineer Rudy Rempel on various projects in the past and Stephen had also recorded his solo album at the studio, so the choice of venue and personnel was a natural one.
The songs on Sordid Fiction will resonate strongly with those familiar with the band. Tremendous force, melody and raw wit are displayed in abundance, and as always the lyrics serve as bullet-points for the state of the world, filled with salient, autobiographical observations on life, love and ill-timed comeuppances. And drinking. The first single “…And Then the Riot” recounts a semi-apocalyptic dream that morphs into a call-to-arms for the culturally disenfranchised. “The Last Recidivist” is a barnburning personal manifesto. The gentle, elegiac “Winter Sleepers” gives voice to a love of life that is filtered through the trials and adversity the world brings to bear on us all. Politics, expressed anecdotally, shimmers just under the surface in “Everywhere and Nowhere”. This is vintage Low stuff. Those who get it really get it. As always, others will undoubtedly be happy to drink along.
This new CD marks the re-emergence of one of Canada’s finest bands as a forward-moving musical entity. Lowest of the Low is back.
"like a shudder from the ocean floor "a sudden stutter in the status quo" first the wave and then the undertow…"
- Ron Hawkins, And Then the Riot