The Low Countries About Blog Live Visual

Cosmic news, ‘Brian Cox’s Locks’ piped out of the PA system at the Commonwealth Games this morning - lovely stuff.

Myspace (huh?) findings RE ‘wino’

Currently spell-checking my recently retrieved (and thought lost) Myspace blogs. This is the first entry - an online review of an 8 -track CD I put out there at the time from the (now defunct) Student Guru website, based in Leeds (which becomes apparent..). It’s nice i.e. glowing and compares us to Dylan, Beatles  etc. Whatever

wino review

2/8/2006 7:10:00 AM

2/8/2006 7:07:00 AM

A six track EP by Nigel Parrington of The High Ones fame sees him taking a trip through The Low Countries (his home is in Belgium now) on this release.

Opening track ‘Drown’ gives the indication of a strong blues/country feel to the band. This song has a real laid back and lazy feel to it, with a languid sounding slide guitar that adds to the overall effect of the song.  I suppose the best way I could describe the style of this song is Bob Dylan circa ‘Bringing It All Back Home, or for a more recent reference, Gomez.

It’s a refreshing change to hear a song like ‘Drown’ and gives the band something to help them stand out from the crowd.

Although the rest of the EP takes a slight change of direction in that the country and blues influences are toned down a bit, the remaining tracks are nevertheless just as strong as the opener. For a good local indication of The Low Countries sound, check out bands such as Steer and Last Night’s TV. 

One thing I really like about this band is that they actually write some damn fine love songs, and that’s a real rarity in this day and age. How often do we hear an indie band writing a good old fashioned love song, or a pop act singing anything but twee and corny sentiments?  Both ‘Putty’ and ‘Hole In My Heart’ show that this band can pen a good heart-felt lyric in the classic love song tradition. My particular favourite, and stand out track on this EP, is ‘Putty’. The lyrics are simple, to the point, and effective. ¦ “I’m putty in your hands”..what more can you add to that? Coupled with a delicate backing, it works wonderfully.

'A Journey' shows a nice, dare I say, jovial, side to the band.  This is a great camp fire type of song with carefree lyrics and country tinged guitar.  It reminds me of 'The Two Of Us' from The Beatles' Let It Be. Final track, 'Low Country' is the bands song of drinking and regret.  It brings a nice twist to the traditional love song, as a song of drunken reasoning, ‘We’re two wrongs trying to make a right’.  Like the ever popular with drunks, 'Show Me The Way To Go Home', it stays just the right side of maudlin, and as with the rest of this EP, it shows that The Low Countries can beautifully capture the right sentiment for any emotion that they wish to portray.

There are so many local bands that deserve the bigger audience, and like so many others, I’m not sure that the current national interest in Leeds indie scene will benefit The Low Countries, as they have more depth than the NME are currently looking for. That said, once the interest has moved onto another city, the quality bands like The Low Countries, Steer, Last Night’s TV, Silverlode, etc will still be here, and I’m sure that they’ll get their chance to shine.  Tough it out, hang on in there, and big things await you!

Gary Williams



'wino' artwork
(by Jonas)'wino' artwork (by Jonas)
Found this rather nice pic (by Joanne Levey) from our Invisible Ray album launch last October - full on band type stuff. Ruddy great. We must do it again sometime…

Found this rather nice pic (by Joanne Levey) from our Invisible Ray album launch last October - full on band type stuff. Ruddy great. We must do it again sometime…

Some kind words from a dog with good ears

When are we going, when are we going??
 #gentsefeesten

'A Prize Every Time - The Greatest Bits' can be ordered here http://bit.ly/VcQueM
8/22 tracks are streaming on our enclosed Soundcloud page.

Out September 8th 2014 on Nub Country Records

Twenty two of the finest Low Country songs hand-lovingly remastered, re-packaged and regurgitated for your aural delight (do not ingest). May contain nuts.
For a limited-edition signed CD copy of the 22 track album, get in touch! Only £10 and available now, free P & P (EU only!). Thank you.

We’re now officially verified on Facebook - accept no imitations! Look out for the wobbly black arrow. https://www.facebook.com/thelowcountries

We’re now officially verified on Facebook - accept no imitations! Look out for the wobbly black arrow. https://www.facebook.com/thelowcountries

It was twenty years ago this month I went to Belgium for the first time to visit a pen-pal I’d met the year before (slaving on a Slovakian railroad - don’t ask).  Her name was Els and from that magical Summer trip our love sparked a flame that’s still burning bright twenty years later.

We did indeed busk on the Meir, spend our meagre earnings drinking in the Muziekdoos on the Schelde, meet Tinne and Jessy (great friends of Els, both shaven headed…?) for the first time, miss the last bus, hitch a lift home, doss at a Youth Camp in Gent and discover mosquitos bite in Belgium, get happily amazingly drunk with several Americans, dance in the streets, get locked out, clamber over walls, play guitar, listen to music, drink some more, eat frite, cycle to ‘Lobster Lake’, lay in the sun, play silly word games, swing on the rope swing, swim in the cool lake, catch a crayfish. Then Els had to leave for a Scout Leader Camp, so we parted at the bus stop, hugging, hearts pounding.

That Summer I wrote a song about it - Forever In A Day. It was always for Els. X

theeggaward2013:

x
Ralph’s an equal opportunities Jack Russel and having just covered Scottish Indie folk/blues band Have Mercy Las Vegas decided to stick with the genre in order to bring you news of the latest (and apparently final) album release by The Low Countries

The Invisible Ray blasts out eleven eclectic and melodious tunes that cover the gamut of human emotions.  Sci-fi paranoia, Tony Hancock’s demons, prescription pills, Inspector Morse and A&R people – these are just some of the subjects covered by the album.


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I had a feeling on reading the press bumph that a sense of almost despair was in the quote by singer songwriter Nigel Parrington (who is the mainstay of ‘the band’ along with Els D’hooge) when he wistfully writes regarding ‘The Invisible Ray’ - “Two years in the making and destined to enjoy immense worldwide indifference” - so inquisitive by nature (it’s a Jack Russell thing) I had a quick word with Nigel who was most forthright.





image"Yeah, it’s true. When I was young and full of piss and vinegar I took it all very seriously and ‘making it’ was my goal. Now I’m older and have just got an allotment so there’s no time."

I essentially feel all ‘songed out’. Some songs took years to finish on this album (though one or two splurged out) as I worked hard on getting them good knowing most people don’t give a shit - i.e. ‘the invisible ray’ has washed us away. It’s hard to get noticed and it’s not for want of trying.




imageI took the decision to stop last year after meeting an ex-A&R man (Polydor etc) by chance at an open mic. He said - ‘I don’t want to blow smoke up your ass but you’re a great songwriter. Have you ever considered sending out stuff?’ 

I should have said - ‘have you ever considered listening to stuff you’re sent?’ - but I didn’t. I just laughed and thought of the many years lugging sacks of demos, CDs and tapes to the PO, the covering letters, the eager wait…etc etc.




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We made a Flemish EP this year, and for the first time in years I spent money on a tangible CD, video, ads etc and I mailed the relevant people CDs, Twittered, FB’d andcontacted blogs. This is an /English guy singing in Flemish! 

Our friends in Belgium LOVED the song but didn’t get ONE response. I got more reaction from English people who didn’t even understand it! So you see it’s very disheartening. You can’t beat the ray it feels.



imageI’m gonna spend time writing about my musical experiences (behind every song a story!) and pushing the back catalogue.  If a song comes then we’ll capture it and set it free.  I’d also like to record some stuff with my old friend Mark Lee. We had a great band called The High Ones together and we’re both up for making a new EP sometime in the near future.

So as Nigel’s musical story takes a slight detour let’s take a look at ‘The Invisible Ray’ - not so much a swansong, more the planting of a new seed in his musical allotment.





The Invisible Ray - one Jack Russell’s view




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First track on the album is the lyrically sombre yet compulsive ’Everyone’s Mental’ which displays clever, incisive songwriting overlaid on some very stylish guitar work.  ’The One Who Got Away’ on the other hand leans on acoustic simplicity to deliver its sad, wistful message.

Shades of The Daintees (and the same quality of songwriting as Martin Stephenson) with ‘Saved’, ‘Summer Doesn’t Know Me’ and ‘Sun Street.  I’m half way through the album and struggling to see how they’ve not found greater recognition for past works and could ‘The Invisible Ray’ be a seminal album?


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The folkier ‘Hummingbird’ with it’s delicate piano and vocals is a delight and it leads into the more Americana-esque, folky and whimsical (“I hadn’t cried since Inspector Morse died”) ‘All Things To All People’.

'Kite' is upbeat, catchy with a poppier (single?) feel and has musical hints of Stuart Murdoch's God Help The Girl project, whilst ‘Demons Have At Thee’ reverts back to the acoustic folk vibe.  




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I don’t know if already knowing the background story to this being the last album influenced my perception of the track ‘The Invisible Ray’ but it has a rueful feel to it and seems to sum up the passing of The Low Countries.

Finishing off with (the ironically titled?) ‘Long Story Short’ and it’s a poignant finish to not only the album but also the life of the band.  Let’s hope that (as hinted) he’ll be moving on to projects new in the future, and I for one will be watching and listening with interest from now on.




TOUR DATES

Oct 19, 2013
STOREY INSTITUTE (NICE BAR)
Lancaster,GB
Dec 20, 2013
STOREY INSTITUTE (SPOTLIGHT CLUB)
Lancaster,GB

CONTACTS

DISCOGRAPHY

imageHypericum Perforatum
imageThe Failing Of The Strains
imagea brown cafe at 3am
imageSummer’s Last Hurrah
imageDeirdre & Michael




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Hoor Je Mij?


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A few choice tracks now streaming:

Visit The Low Countries in 2014 and take in 22 historical gems dating from 2007 - 2013.
A wino-strength beer then back on the bus.
A prize every time.
Out September 8th 2014 on Nub Country Records

Order here itunes.apple.com/gb/album/prize-e…test/id875511602
Or get in touch for a limited-edition signed CD - only £10 (free P & P) !

Twenty two of the finest Low Country songs hand-lovingly remastered, re-packaged and regurgitated for your aural delight (do not ingest). May contain nuts.