One chord – that’s all it takes. Play it long and hard, flip it over and pull it apart, drag it through the gravel and mud, and you’ve got rock ’n’ roll. This is its danger and mystery – its promise. The Archive believes in this. But they’re not trying to strip the music down, throw pieces of it away, or hollow anything out. They’re not trying to go back to anything. The band is after a new kind of psychedelia – an East Coast psychedelia – one dedicated to the notion that Appalachian folk music was the original one-chord rock ‘n’ roll, the first head trip. That you can turn the guitars loud, drench the room in reverb, and transform those Southern mountain melodies into something strange and wonderful – something barely recognizable. That the difference between Gillian Welch and U2 isn’t as great as we might have supposed.
“Great Low Down" was recorded in the spring and summer of 2011 in Manhattan’s Mavericks Studios with co-producer Bobby Lurie (The Billy Nayer Show), engineer Allen Farmelo (Talk Normal), and Tom Waits' longtime engineer/producer Karl Derfler. The record was mastered by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Bjork, Bonnie "Prince" Billy).