Premiere of The Low Anthem's "Ghost Woman Blues
The Low Anthem's album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, was a stunningly beautiful record. It was self-released in 2008 and more widely issued by Nonesuch Records the following year.
On Feb. 22, The Low Anthem will release Smart Flesh, which it recorded in an abandoned pasta-sauce factory in Central Falls, R.I. It's the atmosphere of this abandoned warehouse, captured by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes), with additional mixing by Jesse Lauter, gives this music a uniquely open sound.
Filmmaker Robert Houllahan, produced this video with the band. Given the stark look of the video, we asked Houllahan how he filmed this new song "Ghost Woman Blues":
"They don't make 'em like they used to" is a common phrase in our digital age. Sometimes they do, though. When it came to making a film for The Low Anthem, I felt that old cameras and real film was the only way to go.
I photographed TLA at their Pasta Sauce recording studio in the winter of '09-'10 with two film motion-picture cameras: a 16mm French-made Aaton, which comes from the factory with a walnut hand grip, and a Chicago-built Bell & Howell Eyemo 35mm movie camera, which was in WWII. This camera makes such a nice sound that it ended up being played for one track on the album.
I used Kodak Plus-X B&W film stock in 16mm and 35mm — this is a beautiful low ASA film, which is loved for its smoothness and contrast. Unfortunately, Kodak decided that it had to pare down its B&W film-stock offerings from two to one, and Plus-X was discontinued just months after we were done shooting. Filmmakers the world over were saddened by this loss, and a campaign to have Kodak bring the film stock back had more than 40,000 signatures.
I, too, felt the loss of this film type, and while saddened, I am happy to know that the last film project I used Plus-X on was for The Low Anthem. I also know that these indelible B&W images will keep for hundreds of years, and maybe some future generation will find the film lost in an attic and be able to see how it was done back then.
The Low Anthem is also offering the song "Ghost Woman Blues," from Smart Flesh, as a free download beginning today on the band's website.