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by Ian King

6 Jul 2015


“I mean, Kill the Lights, it’s pretty depressing sometimes, I think.”
—Brian Girgus, Skyscraper, Summer 1999

”Girl you’re a king”

After six unsparing tracks, Kill the Lights theoretically could have ended in any number of ways: perhaps with a short ending piece to ease the listener back into a more emotionally stable place, or even something with a bit of uplift to offer a sliver of hope at the close of such a draining song cycle. What lowercase went with, of course, was an exorcism even longer and more violent than the one that came just before it (“Rare Anger”); one so idiosyncratic and genuinely messed up that it can even be a little bit frightening.

by Ian King

29 Jun 2015


“You stand atop the spires / To see your vigil fires/Burn so far away / On a saffron mezzanine”

Skyscraper: …is it mainly a personal thing—for you to write songs as a personal experience?

Brian Girgus: Yeah, it’s weird, see sometimes I wonder if a lot of the things Imaad is singing about, he’ll say things in a song and I’m just like ‘’oh that’s weird, I know exactly what incident he is talking about right now”, and then other times he will just kind of paint these pictures of things that are potentials in his head or things that could happen or things that he had some dream about or something. What was the exact thing you asked me again?

Skyscraper, Summer 1999

“You were a statue liar / Your schisms did conspire / The crumbled stones remain / Covered with bloody stains”

The back half of Kill the Lights is one of the more visceral album sides in any genre. Admittedly, “visceral” is one of those adjectives that get brought out a little too often in attempts to describe passionate records. For clarity’s sake, let’s double check Merriam-Webster’s definition: “coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason”. When people writing about music use the word “visceral”, they are, more often than not, probably thinking of the first half of its definition, and not intending to demean the artist by suggesting they were neglecting logic and/or reason.

by Ian King

22 Jun 2015


“When someone comes up and goes, ‘oh man, that was fucking great, you guys rocked’, you are just like, ‘oh, thanks a lot, that is really nice.’ But then this friend of mine… in San Francisco, I remember a couple years ago—this is totally one of the nicest compliments that anyone has ever said – he was like, ‘oh my god, you guys were playing and it was so confusing, I felt like I was walking around in circles smoking cigarettes the whole time.’
—Brian Girgus, Skyscraper, Summer 1999

The chances that Girgus’ friend was specifically talking about “Stairways”, the short instrumental track on Kill the Lights, are admittedly slim, but all the same, that is as apt a way as any to describe the mood of the song. It is also probably not a bad way to explain how a lot of lowercase’s music makes you feel.

by Ian King

15 Jun 2015


“I can’t obsess / Over you anymore / I can’t confess / That I love you”

Let’s get the definition of “Neurasthenia” out of the way: “an ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance.” A serious case of “the sads”, then.

by Ian King

9 Jun 2015


”Fill me innocently / When I have caved completely / With your talk of chances / The ones you never take.”

The third song on Kill the Lights, “Severance Denied”, fixates on spiritual and literal malnourishment. With the harrowing specter of “Slightly Dazed” still very much present, almost unwilling to recede, the thought of going through something like it all over again is off-putting. It would seem that the band felt much the same way, and as such, “Severance Denied” brings the tempo and the mood up a bit—although here, “up” is a very relative term.

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