Retribution Gospel Choir is the dark, heavy Minnesota trio of Low guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk and new Low bassist Steve Garrington (who recently replaced Matt Livingston in both bands) with drummer/vocalist Eric Pollard. Imagine Low, minus Mimi Parker, doing dynamic, moody, muscular, and spare stoner rock. Yes, we said “stoner rock.” (For the record, Mimi sings on one track, “Breaker,” but otherwise it’s the guys.) The 10-song collection’s a soulful, uptempo, aggressive surprise. It’s also really good. We asked Sparhawk about “Somebody’s Someone,” this week’s swaggering, riff-heavy Drop.
Is this song based on a real person or is it a fictional construct? Maybe you can discuss the character some. Why is it surprising/worth noting that she’s “somebody’s someone”?
It’s sort of a fictional construct, but it is directed to a friend of mine who has a problem with moving in on girls that are having a rough and confusing time. Everyone has a righteous path to love in life, and people who disrupt that are worth getting upset about. It’s not about ownership, it’s about the true path. Everything gets watered down the minute it leaves your lips.
The narrative’s pretty elliptical. Has anything been resolved by the final note, or is it more a momentary character sketch without epiphany?
It’s just a quick sketch of conflict. I think you can get away with a vague story with no ending — leave room for repetition and personal perspective. I’ve grown to have more faith in other people’s interpretations than my own.
Retribution Gospel Choir, produced by Mark Kozelek, is out 3/18 on Caldo Verde.