Plastic Cup - Low

from the album The Invisible Way (2013)

If you enjoy intelligent music with original themes not commonly found in song, then you will really dig Plastic Cup by Low.

This slowcore gem leads off their latest album with a tale of a guy with dependancy issues being mandated to provide urine samples. We follow the plastic cup to a date in the very distant future, where it is unearthed by anthropologists who speculate on its significance. I find lines like "This must be the cup the king held every night" to be hilarious.

This theme is well suited to slowcore and the postulate that downtempo, minimal music can be as intense as punk rock.  Pulling this off requires talented songwriting, musicianship, and production. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker deliver the first two in spades. Same goes for the producer of this record, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.

My respect for Jeff Tweedy as a producer deepens with each new release.  His 2011 production of Mavis Staples' You Are Not Alone is one of my favorite albums in recent memory.  He has an uncommon ability to understand the essence of an artist's talent and craft the record to highlight these gifts.  He accomplishes this with encyclopedic mastery of tone and production that you find on everything he has contributed to since his days in Uncle Tupelo.

This song was recorded in Tweedy's Chicago loft.  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.

Click Here for a live version from an in-studio performance for WFUV radio

Click Here for a live version from SoundCloud.  Note that in the first verse the line "Now they make you piss into a plastic cup" has been replaced with "Now they make you talk into a plastic cup."  I hate censorship.