now that'll put you to sleep
must be that north country
four border lines
1.2 from me and a converted 2.4 from allmusic
website - http://chairkickers.com/
from the album - Plastic Cup
released Mar 19th, 2013
Bio - from allmusic
Formed in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1993, Low were perhaps the slowest of the so-called "slowcore"
bands -- delicate, austere, and hypnotic, the trio's music rarely rose above a whisper,
divining its dramatic tension in the unsettling open spaces created by the absence of sound.
Initially comprised of the husband-and-wife team of guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk and
drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker along with bassist John Nichols, Low began as an experimental
reaction to the predominance of grunge. Shimmy Disc producer Kramer soon invited the group to
record at his Noise N.J. studios, and the resulting demos earned them a deal with the Vernon
After reentering the studio with Kramer, Low emerged with their 1994 debut, I Could Live in
Hope, a beautiful set spotlighting the trio's hauntingly minimal aesthetic -- even Parker's
drum set consisted of only a snare and a hi-hat. Nichols exited the group prior to 1995's
lovely Long Division, recorded with new bassist Zak Sally. A subsequent appearance on the Joy
Division tribute A Means to an End was later expanded into the following year's Transmission
EP, a five-track set also featuring a rendition of Supreme Dicks' "Jack Smith." With new
producer Steve Fisk behind the boards, Low returned later in 1996 with The Curtain Hits the
Cast. The Songs for a Dead Pilot EP followed in 1997 and marked Low's debut with their new
label, Kranky, for whom they also released the critically acclaimed Secret Name in 1999. The
late '90s also saw them issue Owl (Low Remixes) and the Christmas mini-album, which featured a
cover of "Little Drummer Boy" that became a minor hit when it was featured in The Gap's holiday
season commercials in 2000.
The band's brilliant Things We Lost in the Fire arrived on Kranky in 2001, with the darker,
more subdued Trust coming the following year. Two years later, the B-sides/rare tracks
collection A Lifetime of Temporary Relief appeared on Low's own Chairkickers Music imprint. For
their seventh full-length album, 2005's The Great Destroyer, Low moved to Sub Pop, where they
remained for 2007's politically charged Drums and Guns and 2011's C'mon, the latter of which
marked the debut of bassist Steve Garrington. In 2013, Low's 20th anniversary year, the group
released The Invisible Way, which featured production from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.
Album Review - from allmusic
An institution of slowcore, one of indie rock's more bittersweet subsets, Low began making huge
and haunted sounds out of the most minimal means in the early '90s. The Invisible Way finds the
trio 20 years into its craft and returning to parts of its roots while at the same time
branching into new sounds. The most noticeable shifts in the band's sound come with the
production of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, working with the band for the first time here. While much of
Low's work clung to a formula of reverb and echo that their earliest records took to extremes,
the 11 songs here are roomy but not obscured by cavernous sounds. Instead, tracks like "Holy
Ghost" and "Amethyst" glow with an earthy sheen, finding their spaciousness more in subtle
touches of acoustic instruments and perfectly placed accents of guitar than post-production
techniques. The songwriting here harks back somewhat to the understated pastoral majesty of
early Low records like Long Division and The Curtain Hits the Cast, with the band creating
mysterious and lush beauty by slowing down and lingering over long, thoughtful chord changes
and glimmering harmonies. Following more aggressive sidesteps in the band's discography like
2005's The Great Destroyer and 2007's bleak and cacophonous Drums and Guns, the return to
basics is refreshing, and the even more naked production is a perfect complement to the songs.
Drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker sings lead on an unprecedented five songs on this album. Her
layered harmonies, pristine but never brittle, make songs like "So Blue" and "Four Score" stand
out, at once familiar to Low's melancholic grandeur but with a new confidence not heard before.
Parker's sure-footed vocals anchor the Yo La Tengo-channeling upbeat push of standout track
"Just Make It Stop," delivering desperate lines over hopeful melodic chord shifts.
Guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk continues his part of the band's evolution as well, offering
quizzical and sometimes meandering lyrics for tracks like "Plastic Cup" and "Clarence White,"
both of which are epic in contrast to the single-line couplets that defined earlier Low albums.
With its brilliant production values and carefully curated arrangements, The Invisible Way
shows a band decades into making music but still in a very real state of evolution. While not
quite a career-definitive statement, much like the aforementioned Yo La Tengo, Wilco, Belle &
Sebastian, or any of the early-'90s bands still exploring their sound, Low give us a definitive
chapter for where they are presently, and present it with more clarity and joy than we've heard
from them in some time.
1. Plastic Cup
3. So Blue
4. Holy Ghost
6. Clarence White
7. Four Score
8. Just Make It Stop
10. On My Own
11. To Our Knees