Low is one of the preeminent slowcore bands. They don’t like that classification, but whether they like it or not, they were a trail blazer of the genre since their foundation in Duluth, Minnesota way back in 1993. 22 years later, the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are still a flag bearer, if not the flag bearer of the genre. They’ve released ten studio albums, and their 11th —Ones and Sixes— is scheduled for release on September 11 via Sub Pop Records.
They may not be your favorite band from Minnesota, but they are definitely your favorite Mormon band. Unless you’re really into Donny & Marie Osmond.
I always say this about Low, but it bears repeating: Every time I think this band can’t continue to put out records that I love, they put out another one. I’ve been in the business of sharing my year-end lists for a few years now, and their 2011 album C’Mon was my fifth favorite non-Canadian album of the year, and their 2013 album The Invisible Way was my ninth favorite album of the year. Going back beyond that, their 2007 album Drums and Guns is absolutely my favorite Low record. If I had made a list that year, Drums and Guns definitely would have been a top five record.
Everything that I’ve heard in advance of the new album suggests that I’m also going to love this record. A few weeks ago, they released the first single “No Comprende”, and I loved it. Today, they released another song from the new album via The Quietus, and I love it even more.
This is that song:
“What Part of Me” by Low
It’s got a lot of fuzz, a lot of the wonderful signature Sparhawk/Parker vocal harmonies, and some of that magnificent high-end bass played by Steve Garrington, who, since 2008, has been the only other full-time member of Low. I know this is another thing that I always say about Low, but I’m a really big sucker for those really high-end Mimi Parker vocals. This song is bookended by some wordless ghost vocalization. It’s beautiful, and it draws me in right from the drop. Of course Low always has me at “hello”, but it just makes me weak-kneed when she does that.
On the first weekend in September, Low will be very busy, playing one Norwegian festival and two UK festivals in the same weekend. Then they’ll play some “east coast US + Toronto and Montréal” dates for the rest of September. They’ll be back in the UK/Europe for October, then some “middle America/west coast US” dates in November. As busy as they’ll be, they won’t come any closer than DC for me, so I won’t be able to see them this time.
The album comes out on September 11. You can pre-order it from Sub-Pop in your choice of 2xLP, CD, or digital download. Click here for details, including pre-order bundles. There are two cool tee shirts to choose from. I’ve pre-ordered physical copies of the last two Low records, and I’ll probably get one of the bundles on this one.