Low Water
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Low Water

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Who Said That Life Is Over?"

“'Who Said That Life Is Over?' defies its Williamsburg roots as the hottest
anti-hipster record this year. Honest, working man’s poetry-style lyrics are married via singable, catchy melodies
to good, old-fashioned laid-back rock and roll. With perfectly imperfect
instrumentation and raspy, earnest vocals, each of Low Water’s expertly-written indie-pop songs rocks, and rocks honestly. Oh - and definitely check this one out on headphones - its the best (and only) way
to catch all the wicked-cool recording nuances. Beautiful. Just beautiful.”
-- Kevin Keating, Origivation Magazine
- Origivation Magazine

"From Boogie Man Smash comes rising Low Water"


Based out of Brooklyn, N.Y., Low Water's singer/guitarist John Leitera has fond memories of Youngstown, and in particular its intimate Cedar's Lounge.

"I love playing Cedar's," said the New Castle, Pa., native, calling from his home in New York City. "It's one of my favorite places to play. I think it's a great bar. I have a lot of history there. I used to be in another band, Boogie Man Smash, and played Cedar's all of the time. It's kind of a home base in a way. Actually, I'm wearing a Cedar's T-shirt right now."

While unable to confirm the T-shirt is indeed of the Cedar's variety, Leitera does come across as earnest and honest, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

As for his Low Water outfit, these are exciting times with all the songs written for its next studio album "Who Said That Life Is Over?" A follow-up to 2004's "Hard Words in a Speakeasy," the new project is due out later this year and marks somewhat of a departure for the trio.

About the new music

"I think it's a lot more raw, a lot more rock 'n' roll — so to speak — and a little bit harder," Leitera said. "Also, we're not trying to make a record that's going to appeal to anybody but ourselves."

With a brief three-date tour, including a show Saturday at Cedar's, it's a unique time for Low Water, which is ostensibly road testing its new material before entering a recording studio later this month. Expected tracks from the new disc include "Wyoming" and "I've Got to Be Strong for My Baby."

While Low Water is oft compared to Wilco and The Replacements, Leitera likes to think the threesome is heading into a different stylistic realm, falling somewhere between Frank Black and Television. He hopes to prove that to local fans at the Cedar's Lounge show.

"It's a really good opportunity to see a band that's actually working while they're on stage," Leitera said. "These songs are going to be like a work in progress because they're going to change every time we play them, so it's not real common that you get to hear a record before it's done." - The Youngstown Vindicator

"Low Water rising"

If skipping town in a cross-country skid from Brooklyn to San Fransisco with a mobile photo booth in tow doesn’t sound like fun to you, then you need to get out more. Specifically, you need to get out more with Low Water, the latest band to earn Culturespill’s distinction of “Best Band You’ve Never Heard Of.� Fresh off of filming the video for their new single, “Sister, Leave Me,� for which they dragged a photo booth across the country and implored the nearest bystander to step inside and sing on camera, they’re taking it to the streets with an upcoming third release called Twisting the Neck of the Swan; and judging from how effortlessly their music stands up to the hype, they just might bank with this one.

Continuing their breezy brand of simple and stripped down pop rock that marries Spoon and The Long Winters in a musical brew they can call their own, “Sister, Leave Me� plays like a reliable follow-through on the trio’s established glories, a back-to-basics rock ‘n roll that awakens you to just how desperate you’ve been for a band that’s not afraid to sound this real. Think Hot Hot Heat without the adolescent frenzy. Cowboy Junkies with balls. A long-overdue musical retort to Wilco’s 1995 debut, AM. In other words, think a really fucking good band you need to hear NOW.

We’re admittedly stretching the rules for these guys, though, because all sorts of people are hearing about them these days. The Pittsburgh Gazette: “Gritty post-Replacements rock with style and substance.� Amplifier Magazine: “Bridging modern Americana with rock ‘n roll out of the garage.� The Davis Enterprise: “Elevated above your average Emo rock . . . tasteful guitar playing, subtle humor, and masterful and clever wordplay.� Origivation Magazine: “Beautiful. Just beautiful.� Hell, they even got their own spot on NPR’s All Songs Considered recently. You don’t get much bigger than that. Er, OK, maybe you do–but they’ll get there too. And in a big damned hurry. For a band that vows to “write . . . solid unpretentious songs that reflect where we’re from,� it’s no wonder some people find nothing more to say other than “beautiful, just beautiful� in futile attempts at putting into words the miracle this band puts to tape, reduced to the inarticulate wonder of a drooling infant (I’m raising my hand.) The flawless pop-rock gem “House in the City,� a tune you can check out on the band’s myspace page, opens with a meaty and irresistible crunch of guitar. By the time Johnny Leitera’s laid-back vocals transport the song to some Sunday afternoon on a backwoods porch with a fatty and a can of moonshine, the song locates an unlikely bridge between punk and alt-country under a hard rain of influence that never obscures the band’s vision. Collapsing into a lo-fidelity jam worthy of the Black Keys–though not quite that low-fi–a syrupy burst of synth sweetens the tune on its way to a sparkling and vaguely grungy close.

Yet no single flourish of the band’s deceptively nuanced sound clutches you by the throat to throng you in their desperate genius; they’re that rare young band that knows how to let the music speak for itself, delighting in an unassuming restraint they ride through every song with the unwavering confidence that drives a great Neil Young album (most of their material offers a composite of Comes A Time and Zuma.) As far as Johnny’s concerned, though, Low Water are “a rock band of the same mold as The Kinks.� While we’re always leery of bands with the balls to boast a resemblance to The Kinks, whom we at Culturespill believe is the greatest band to ever grace a rock ‘n roll stage, the comparison isn’t entirely hyperbolic.

They may not be producing work of such lyrical mastery as “Waterloo Sunset� or “Shangri-La,� but they do write songs of enough quality for one to suspect that these guys have read almost as much as they’ve played. In a musical climate dominated by teeny-bopping Emo-bots who swoon over a Ben Gibbard lyric only out of ignorance of the covering cherubs of songwriting that paved his path forty years ago, that’s a welcome change of pace. And Johnny’s homage to those aging angels of rock is clearly more substantive than boastful, as he acknowledges an ambition not just to return to the sound of The Kinks, but also to embody the literate ethos they brought to rock ‘n roll. “I wanted to convey the blue-collar, working class aspect of the band,� he says of their name, “Low Water is a slang term from the ’40s for not having any money. It’s amazing how that’s proven to be appropriate,� he elaborates. Amazing indeed–both in song and in spirit–how closely this band comes to encompassing the hard-nosed paradox of indifference and empathy that rock ‘n roll was founded on. - Culturespill.com

"Bands to Watch: Brooklyn's Low Water"

Brooklyn band Low Water is an unsigned, indie rock band whose music conveys a sincerity and depth that is increasingly rare in an industry that too often relies on cookie cutter formulas, gimmicks and overly polished productions. Low Water's music has rightfully won resounding praise among radio stations, music publications and blogs, as well as national media such as PBS and NPR.

Their new, self-released album, Twisting The Neck of The Swan, proves this is no run-of-the-mill Brooklyn indie rock band. Low Water deliver high caliber, soulful, melodic pop rock music that is refreshingly authentic, free flowing and memorable. Their moody, crisp songs are easily accessible to anyone who appreciates well crafted and honest rock and pop.

Low Water's Twisting The Neck of The Swan is full of poetic lyrics, bright guitar riffs, pop experimentation and awesome vocal ranges that all pull together nicely on song after song. The opening track, "Voodoo Taxi," is melodic, catchy pop rock tune that people are probably going to play more than a couple of times.

One of the album's stand out tracks is the dreamy, folk pop of "She Shined Down," one of the most Wilco-sounding (in a good way) songs in recent memory. Featuring story-telling lyrics, uplifting harmonies and perfectly time melodies and percussion, "She Shined Down" gradually progresses into a full-on band jam that last for about a minute until the song's triumphant end.

A common MO, if you will, throughout Low Water's music, is how so often there are changes in tempo and style at different points within the same composition. And yet, every time, at every turn, it is done masterfully and somehow remains cogent and luring.

Sometimes one of the indications of a great band is in their ability to create a long song that is actually engaging and enjoyable all the way through. In the case of the song "Charge," the band took a shot at an 11 minute experiment of Beatlesque pop rock, and pulled it off with amazing results.

The song brilliantly shifts from cheerful pop melodies and old school guitar jams to dreamy choruses and 70's AM radio harmonies. There are a few points in the song when, if you're not watching the player, you might think the song is finished, and like a pleasant surprise, it continues on. There are not many songs this long that are keepers, but in my book, "Charge" is one of them.

Even though the band gives the impression that they've been making rock music for a long time, band members, John Leitera (guitar and vocals), Dave Rubin (guitar), Joe Burch (drums) and Turner Stough (bass) only released their debut album five years ago.

Low Water's 2004 self-released debut, Hard Words In A Speakeasy, was followed up in 2007 by the release of Who Said That Life Is Over?, featuring, among other impressive songs, the infectious pop tune, "House In The City," and the catchy, garage rocker "Brooklyn."

Some of Low Water's biggest musical influences, according to Rubin, are Elvis Costello, The Kinks, George Jones, Spoon, and clearly, Wilco and The Replacements. The amazing thing about that is that you can clearly hear those influences in their music with such compelling, yet original, results.

Rubin also cited Abbey Road (The Beatles), Marquee Moon (Television), #4 (You Am I) and Horsepower (The Phoenix Foundation) among the band's favorite albums.

All things considered, Low Water is clearly one of the best unsigned bands in Brooklyn at the moment, and easily deserving of a "band to watch" declaration.
- Indierockcafe.com

""It's only rock and roll""

“One listen to Hard Words should be enough to convince anyone that liking Low Water's brand of rock is nothing to hide. The songs are tight, the melodies are catchy, and the riffs are firmly rooted in a classic, dirty blues tradition. The album is a killer, start to finish; a full rack of meaty cuts with that vinyl-era sound that never really goes out of fashion.It is a remarkably confident debut. It's got variety and heart, and it's not afraid to rock out.”

- Jason Meininger - West Coast Performer

"Low Water"

"Gritty post-Replacements rock with style and substance..."Reputation" brings a nervous post-punk energy to exactly the kind of descending riff the Kinks were all about that sunny afternoon on Dead End Street. And when they slow it down a bit and mellow out on a poppier song like "Strange New Element," they're even better, giving lead vocalist/songwriter Johnny Leitera all the room he needs to wrap his best Westerbergian pout around the story of a man who "invented the something that led to the else/When his books got too heavy, he discovered a shelf." Great lyrics, better vocals, with some nice guitar noise to distract you while the melody invades your brain and sets up shop."

- Ed Masley - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Low water - Hard Words in a Speakeasy"

“Hard Words in a Speakeasy reads like a handbook for bridging modern Americana with rock n'roll out of the garage. There are very few predictable twists and turns and each song stands on it's own as a snapshot of unique, unfettered songcraft. Honest, unpretentious rock is a precious comodity; Low Water is the real deal, and Hard Words delivers the goods with uncomprimising simplicity and homage to the spirit of rock and roll.”

- Jeff Shelton - Amplifier Magazine

"Low Water - (review)"

"Brit influences like XTC and The Beatles sneak into the mix, but Low Water's Hard Words in a Speakeasy is a melodic, American Rock album. The poppy "Sad Eyes" is anything but sad. It's got a rhythmically bouncy melody and captures the band at its best. Rumor has it that this formerly local trio has headed to New York, who now get to experience the band's catchy songs for themselves."

-Seamus Williams - MESH Magazine

"Low Water"

"Their laid-back rock, full of slow guitar riffs and supported by John Leitera's rough vocals is a perfect prelude to the last long weekend of summer."
- S. Davis, The Deli
- The Deli

"Literate, rootsy trio Low Water"

An ex-Pittsburgher living in Brooklyn, John Leitera has an eye for detail and a taste for black humor and non sequitur. Or so I can't help but gather from Who Said That Life Is Over?, the latest album from Low Water, the literate, rootsy trio comprised of Leitera, bassist Dave Rubin (Blogurt, anyone?) and drummer Joe Burch.

"I think I finally got what you meant when you said you'd like to go like Dizzy Gillespie went / In a comfortable bed with your own horns around you," Leitera rasps over the glorious Replacements fuzz of the album's second track, "Midas Hour." Indeed, evidences of Westerberg -- and such janglers as Big Star, Loaded-era Velvets, even Sloan -- are in abundance in the band's spare guitar-pop sound.

For a bunch of dudes apparently living in a loft in Williamsburg, it's a surprisingly un-worldly batch of songs -- unfashionable, unpretentious, yes, but not really "down-to-earth" or "realistic" either. (Presumably this is what one critic meant by "the hottest anti-hipster record this year.") Put it this way: In both sound and subject matter, Who Said That Life Is Over? conjures up the ghosts of wasted nights sitting around playing the sad songs on Exile on Main St. on a turntable, surrounded by empties and cigarette butts ... and the helpless (but not hopeless) feeling that life makes sense ... even if you're royally fucked tomorrow.

Somehow appropriate, then, that Low Water is playing a place that also neatly encapsulates that vibe -- Gooski's, of course -- with Brooklyn danceables Skidmore Fountain and the very literary locals, Workshop.
- Pittsburgh CityPaper


"The Taste You Know and Enjoy" (2011)
"Twisting The Neck Of The Swan" Self-released CD - (2009)
"Who Said That Life Is Over?" Self-released CD - (2006)
"Hard Words in a Speakeasy" Self-released CD - (2004)



Brooklyn's Low Water is currently celebrating the release of The Taste You Know and Enjoy, their fourth independently released recording, and as you can see from the above quotes, other people are jumping on the band's wagon.

Low Water has been named American Songwriter magazine's "Writer of the Week" as well as featured on NPR's "All Songs Considered", FUSE On Demand, HGTV, The American Forces Network, and two seasons of PBS's Roadtrip Nation. They have performed live on "The Alternate Side" at WFUV's studios and were in heavy rotation at that venerable New York City station as well as several other markets, all without the aid of a radio promotion company or record label.

The band has been known to collaborate with local artists including Stephanie Sleeper's modern dance troupe sleepdance, who did the choreography for the video for "Go" (as seen on FUSE). That song also features new-music ensemble Momenta Quartet, who played the score. The video for "Me and St. Hubert" from the latest record was done by visual artist and painter Millar Kelley who captures the heart of the song with animated still-photography. Ever independent (in the true sense of the word) all of the signs on the record covers (heavily influenced by early Hipgnosis design), sets (including a portable photobooth they took cross-country for the " Sister, Leave Me" video, which also premiered on FUSE), costumes, filming and editing have been done by the band. And they have balanced this serious work ethic with a sense of humor, as evidenced by their "alter-ego" bands on their myspace page, and the continuation of seven-syllable record titles (Hard Words in a Speakeasy, Who Said That Life is Over? Twisting the Neck of the Swan as well as the current The Taste You Know and Enjoy).

The band has found success blending intensely personal lyrics with a direct, non-polished sound that is rooted in equal parts pop and indie, with the sincerity of old-time country or a stack of Stax 45's. They can fit into any playlist that places musical integrity above current hipster fashion, and live they have been bringing more and more into the fold with their "beautiful music, and calm realness that just oozes from the members and the stage and into the space..." - loveourcity.com (New York).

Big things lie ahead for Low Water in 2011; currently in talks for future and more formal representaion, the band plans to tour as much as possible as long as the van holds out, continue to write and perform new material, and to focus on several new video projects in the near future. Stay tuned.

"Take a moment and forget the tight pants, chucks, and American Apparel posers... all anyone needs is just one listen to Low Water’s music, and all pretense will be forgotten. This band is not "anti-hipster", but perhaps "pre-hipster" -- a band that plays music without too much emphasis on what others think. They just happen to sound good while they do it..." - beatcrave.com (Los Angeles)