Listen/purchase: Andy Low by TORCHE

October 7, 2014
by Bryne Yancey

If it seems like we’ve been collectively waiting a while for the new Torche record, maybe it’s because we aren’t used to things like this taking this long in this day and age. With little deviation, the music news cycle has conditioned us to expect an album announcement, song premiere, pre-order, maybe another song premiere, and album stream, in that order, and in the span of no more than eight weeks or so. It’s typical, safe and predictable, three things that don’t exactly work as descriptors for the modern pioneers of sludge-pop. We’ve known that Torche’s new album will be out, uh, eventually via Relapse since at least February; in a March interview with Rolling Stone, bassist Jonathan Nuñez intimated that the album was, save a few overdubs, essentially finished. But here we are, seven months later, and there’s been nary a peep since.

Maybe we should’ve expected this, though: Between EPs, 7-inches, demo collections and other ephemera, Torche have at least released at least something new almost every year since 2005 (2006 and, up until this week, 2014, had been the exceptions). Combine their discography with a heavy touring schedule and no one would ever excuse the band of simply being inactive. But they seem to really take their time on their full-lengths, with a three-year gap between 2005’s Torche and 2008’s Meanderthal, and then a four-year gap between that and 2012’s Harmonicraft. Maybe the elaborate artwork takes that time; maybe the band are still tinkering with the songs; maybe the label is waiting for a less busy time to release the album. All I know is, I need more Torche in my life yesterday.

Luckily, Robotic Empire—the band’s original home—just dropped a new compilation titled Blood Mixtape as a name-your-price download and the leadoff track is a new one from Torche. “Andy Low” is a lost track from 2010’s Songs For Singles and certainly wouldn’t have sounded out of place on that EP: It’s sweeping, deceptively melodic yet crushingly heavy (especially the percussion) and ultimately, far catchier than music this aggressive has any right to me. The band renamed it “Andy Low” after Robotic Empire’s founder, someone who they credit as a catalyst for their existence and success. Who knew heavy metal could be so warm and fuzzy?