Often merely considered Alan Sparhawk’s loud project—a flip-side answer to his day job as co-leader of slow-core legends Low—Retribution Gospel Choir has built a reputation for plowing through two- or three-minute pop gems with abandon, involving some amount of experimentation on singer-guitarist Sparhawk’s end. His work in this side project isn’t incredibly different from what Low’s been doing these days, as that band’s expanded into larger sounds and electronics. But compared to Low’s first four or five records, Retribution Gospel Choir may as well be black metal. The band’s new record, its second, simply titled “2,” follows its self-titled debut casually, with ease, as Sparhawk focuses on his strengths as a solo vocalist. “Hide It Away,” the record’s first track, loud, pulsing and intense, is the best song he’s written in a long time. Back in the mid-nineties, when I was obsessed with Low and its gorgeous minimalism, I never could’ve imagined growing bored with the band, but its last few records, “Drums and Guns” and “The Great Destroyer,” just didn’t do it for me. I’m grateful Retribution Gospel Choir exists. (Tom Lynch)
February 19 at Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, (773)227-4433, at 10pm. $10.