Tag: Low Ones and Sixes

New Video: Acclaimed JOVM Mainstays Low Release an Aching and Feverish Visual for “I Can Wait”

Founded back in 1993, the acclaimed Duluth-based indie act and JOVM mainstays  Low — married couple Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums) — are considered pioneers of slowcore, an indie rock sub-genre featuring slowed down tempos and minimalist-leaning arrangements. despite the fact that the band has gone through a series of lineup changes, they’ve been consistent in their disapproval of the term slowcore. And gradually, the band has managed to completely shrug off the sub-genre’s established strictures altogether.

2015’s B.J. Burton-produced Ones and Sixes began an ongoing series of uncompromising and challenging material. With the critical success of Ones and Sixes, the members of Low wanted to go further with Burton and his aesthetic, to see what someone, who as Sparhawk has described as a “hip-hop guy” could do to push their music in radically new directions. Unsurprisingly, working with Burton has resulted in a completely different creative process: Instead of obsessively writing, revising and rehearsing in Duluth, before heading to the studio, the band went to  Eau Claire, WI with rough ideas and sketches for one of the most collaborative writing sessions they’ve ever had with a producer. 

During the Double Negative sessions, they’d build pieces up, break them down and build them up again until each individual song found its purpose and force. Over the two year writing and recording sessions, the outside world slid deeper into madness and instability — and in some fashion Double Negative may be seen as a document of our peculiar moment: the material is at times loud, contentious, chaotic and jarring. Sparhawk’s and Parker’s gorgeous harmonies sometimes seem to be desperately fighting against the noise and chaos, other times hidden with it. 

As you’ll recall, the Duluth-based JOVM mainstay’s critically applauded, Grammy-nominated 13th album HEY WHAT was released last year. Continuing their ongoing collaboration with B.J. Burton, the album finds Sparhawk and Parker focusing on their craft, staying out of the fray and holding fast to their faith to find new ways to express the discord and delight of being a living human being, while turning the duality of existence into modern day hymns we can share. The album’s 10 songs are individually built by their own undeniable hooks — but they’re turbocharged by the vivid textures surrounding them. 

In the lead up to the album’s release and its release, I’ve managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

  • Days Like These,” a disorientating track featuring hushed passages with strummed guitar fighting for space between dense layers of noise and distortion that accrete and then fall apart. The entire affair is held together by Sparkhawk and Parker’s gorgeous and slightly Autotuned harmonies, serving as a lifeline from the shore, thrown out to the poor soul just about to drown in the breakers. At its core, “Days Like These” is a yearning plea for meaning and peace in a world that’s completely mad and doesn’t make much sense. 
  • Disappearing,” a meditative slow-burn centered around ebbing and waning feedback and distortion. Sparhawk’s and Parker’s yearning harmonies ride the uneasy crests and valleys of the song’s oceanic-like production. The song is an an aching meditation of loneliness, isolation and the unknown beyond all of this.
  • More,” a disorientating track featuring heavily distorted and scorching power chords paired with Parker’s gorgeous lead vocal turn, singing lyrics expressing frustration while yearning — and demanding — more in a world that’s grossly unfair and inequitable.  
  • White Horses,” which featured Sparhawk’s and Parke’rs gorgeous harmonies floating over scorching synth fuzz and feedback with bursts of shimmering strings peeking out of the fray. Much like its predecessors, “White Horses” balances the uneasy and abrasive with the breathtakingly gorgeous.

“I Can Wait,” HEY WHAT‘s fifth and latest single lyrically vacillates between patience, impatience, regret, shame and yearning in a way that captures the thoughts of someone who has been trapped within their heads. Sonically, the Duluth-based duo’s achingly yearning vocals uneasily float atop undulating synths and guitar feedback — before slowly fading out into droning feedback.

Directed by Manuel Aragon, the recently released visual for “I Can Wait” follows a collection of diverse, every day people as they try to go about their day-to-day lives but while haunted by their past mistakes and heartbreaks and longing. The end result is a brightly colored, collective fever dream that’s very human.

New Video: Low’s Scorching and Haunting “White Horses”

Founded back in 1993, the acclaimed Duluth-based indie act and JOVM mainstays  Low — married couple Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums) — are considered pioneers of slowcore, an indie rock sub-genre featuring slowed down tempos and minimalist-leaning arrangements. During their nearly 20 year run, the band has gone through a number of lineup changes; but one thing has been consistent — they’ve disapproved of the term slowcore. And gradually, the band has managed to shrug off the sub-genre’s strictures altogether.

2015’s B.J. Burton-produced Ones and Sixes began an ongoing series of uncompromising and challenging material. With the critical success of Ones and Sixes, the members of Low wanted to go further with Burton and his aesthetic, to see what someone, who as Sparhawk has described as a “hip-hop guy” could do to push their music in radically new directions. Working with Burton has resulted in a completely different creative process: Instead of obsessively writing, revising and rehearsing in Duluth, before heading to the studio, the band went to  Eau Claire, WI with rough ideas and sketches for one of the most collaborative writing sessions they’ve ever had with a producer. 

During the Double Negative sessions, they’d build pieces up, break them down and build them up again until each individual song found its purpose and force. Over the two year writing and recording sessions, the outside world slid deeper into madness and instability — and in some fashion Double Negative may be seen as a document of our peculiar moment: the material is at times loud, contentious, chaotic and jarring. Sparhawk’s and Parker’s gorgeous harmonies sometimes seem to be desperately fighting against the noise and chaos, other times hidden with it. 

The acclaimed Duluth-based JOVM mainstay’s 13th album HEY WHAT is out right now. Continuing their ongoing collaboration with B.J. Burton, the album finds Sparhawk and Parker focusing on their craft, staying out of the fray and holding fast to their faith to find new ways to express the discord and delight of being a living human being, to the turn the duality of existence into modern day hymns we can share. The album’s 10 songs are individually built by their own undeniable hooks — but they’re turbocharged by the vivid textures surrounding them.

Over the past few months, I’ve written about three of the album’s previously released singles:

  • Days Like These,” a disorientating track featuring hushed passages with strummed guitar fighting for space between dense layers of noise and distortion that accrete and then fall apart. The entire affair is held together by Sparkhawk and Parker’s gorgeous and slightly Autotuned harmonies, serving as a lifeline from the shore, thrown out to the poor soul just about to drown in the breakers. At its core, “Days Like These” is a yearning plea for meaning and peace in a world that’s completely mad and doesn’t make much sense. 
  • Disappearing,” a meditative slow-burn centered around ebbing and waning feedback and distortion. Sparhawk’s and Parker’s yearning harmonies ride the uneasy crests and valleys of the song’s oceanic-like production. The song is an an aching meditation of loneliness, isolation and the unknown beyond all of this.
  • More,” a disorientating track featuring heavily distorted and scorching power chords paired with Parker’s gorgeous lead vocal turn, singing lyrics expressing frustration while yearning — and demanding — more in a world that’s grossly unfair and inequitable.  

HEY WHAT‘s fourth and latest single, album opener “White Horses” continues a remarkable run of material that’s purposefully challenging, abrasive and uneasy yet breathtakingly gorgeous. With “White Hoses” Sparhawk’s and Parker’s gorgeous harmonies floating over scorching synth fuzz and feedback with bursts of shimmering strings peeking out. The song ends with pulsating and undulating synth tones — that may remind those children of the 80s and older of a busy tone on a dial-tone phone. (Sorry sir, the line is busy; it’s the end of the world, after all!)

Directed by Shane Donahue, the recently released video for “White Horses” features grainy tape-hiss fueled footage of wild horses on the plains.

New Video: Low Releases a Deeply Metaphorical Visual for Abrasive Yet Gorgeous “More”

Founded back in 1993, the acclaimed Duluth-based indie act  Low — currently founding members and married couple Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums) — are considered pioneers of slowcore, an indie rock sub-genre featuring slowed down tempos and minimalist-leaning arrangements. While going through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the band has consistently disapproved of slowcore term. And over time, they’ve managed to shrug off its stricture altogether.

2015’s B.J. Burton-produced Ones and Sixes began an ongoing series of uncompromising and challenging material. With the critical success of Ones and Sixes, the members of Low wanted to go further with Burton and his aesthetic, to see what someone, who as Sparhawk has described as a “hip-hop guy” could do to put their music in radically new directions. Instead of obsessively writing, revising and rehearsing in Duluth, before heading to the studio, the band went to  Eau Claire, WI with rough ideas and sketches for one of the most collaborative writing sessions they’ve ever had with a producer.

During the Double Negative sessions, they’d build pieces up, break them down and build them up again until each individual song found its purpose and force. Over the two year writing and recording sessions, the outside world slid deeper into madness and instability — and in some fashion Double Negative may be seen as a document of our peculiar moment: the material is at times loud, contentious, chaotic and jarring. Sparhawk’s and Parker’s gorgeous harmonies sometimes seem to be desperately fighting against the noise and chaos, other times hidden with it. 

HEY WHAT, the acclaimed Duluth-based act’s 13th album is slated for a September 10, 2021 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records. Continuing their ongoing collaboration with producer BJ Burton,  HEY WHAT reportedly finds Sparhawk and Parker focusing on their craft, staying out of the fray and holding fast to their faith to find new ways to express the discord and delight of being a living human being, to turn the duality of our existence into hymns we can share. The album’s ten songs are individually built by their own undeniable hooks — and are turbocharged by the vivid textures surrounding them.

In the lead-up the album’s release next month, I’ve written about two of the album’s released singles:

“Days Like These,” a disorientating track featuring hushed passages with strummed guitar fighting for space between dense layers of noise and distortion that accrete and then fall apart. The entire affair is held together by Sparkhawk and Parker’s gorgeous and slightly Autotuned harmonies, serving as a lifeline from the shore, thrown out to the poor soul just about to drown in the breakers. At its core, “Days Like These” is a yearning plea for meaning and peace in a world that’s completely mad and doesn’t make much sense. 
“Disappearing,” a meditative slow-burn centered around ebbing and waning feedback and distortion. Sparhawk’s and Parker’s yearning harmonies ride the uneasy crests and valleys of the song’s oceanic-like production. The song is an an aching meditation of loneliness, isolation and the unknown beyond all of this. 

“More,” HEY WHAT’s disorientating third and latest single is centered around scorching and heavily distorted power chords and Parker’s gorgeous lead vocal turn, singing lyrics expressing frustration while yearning and demanding for more in a world that’s grossly unfair and inequitable.

Directed by Julie Casper Roth, the recently released video for “More” metaphorically explores the Sisypeahn task of dismantling structural oppression though gender biases: Throughout the video, we see a pair of gloved hands attempting to take part and smash various parts and structures, only to discover that some things are very difficult to take apart.

New Audio: Philadelphia’s King Britt Teams Up with Low for a Lovingly Subtle Industrial Remix of “Fly”

Currently comprised of founding members, and married couple Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums) along with Steve Garrington (bass), the Duluth, MN-based critically applauded indie rock trio Low initially formed back in 1993 — and although they’ve had their share of lineup changes, the trio have developed a reputation for being pioneers of a subgenre commonly called slowcore, which focuses on slowed down tempos and minimalist arrangements, centered around the gorgeous and achingly earnest harmonies of Sparhawk and Parker. While the band’s members have largely disapproved of the term slowcore, they’ve managed to eventually shrug off its strictures, recording a beloved Christmas album, as well as having a long-held reputation for a magnetic and powerful stage show. 

Last year, the band celebrated its 25th anniversary together and instead of comfortably going on a victory lap or even resting on the laurels of past accolades and achievements, the band released what may arguably be their most uncompromisingly defiant, brazenly abrasive, challenging and yet gorgeous album in their catalog to date, the B.J. Burton-produced Double Negative. The album, which continued their ongoing collaboration with the producer of Ones and Sixes found the band desiring to go even further with Burton’s aesthetic and sonic palette, to see what someone, who as Sparhawk has described as “a hip-hop guy” could really do with their music. 

Instead of obsessively writing, revising and rehearsing in Duluth, as they normally would do before heading to the studio, the members of Low went down to Eau Claire, WI with rough ideas and sketches that they would work with Burton on in what may arguably be among the most collaborative writing sessions with a producer they’ve ever had. During those sessions, Burton and Low would spend their time building pieces up, breaking them up, breaking them down again and building up again until the material found its proper purpose and force. Although it took them two years to write and record, Double Negative may arguably be considered — by future generations — as a document of our current sociopolitical moment — loud, contentious, chaotic, abrasive, jarring. The material finds Sparhawk’s and Parker’s vocals desperately fighting against an overwhelming tide of noise, other times submerged beneath it. And while the material is a decided and radical sonic departure, the band maintains the gorgeous and achingly heartfelt quality that’s their trademark. 

One of the album’s many standout tracks “Fly” is an eerily atmospheric yet stunning gorgeous track in which Mimi Parker’s vocals float ethereally over a bed of gently swirling, fluttering and glitchy electronics, shimmering guitars and twinkling keys.  The members of Low are about to embark on a relatively short tour that will include two New York area dates, September 13, 2019 at Basilica Hudson and September 14, 2019 at Murmrr — and just before their tour, they released a remix by Philadelphia-based producer and DJ King Britt. Interestingly, the King Britt remix continues the abrasive yet ethereal quality of the original and Mimi Parker’s gorgeous vocals while adding a decidedly industrial electro pop quality to the proceedings It’s a loving take on the material that’s one part continuation of the original’s intent and purpose, one part loving conversation between the remixer and the band. “As a longtime Low fan, a huge amount of respect went into the mix,” King Britt says of his remix. ” I loved their new sonic direction, which spoke to my Fhloston Paradigm project. My mix was a response and continuation in a way of a magical space they already created. Mimi Parker’s vocals were some of her best. A true honor.”