News for Low

NEWS : WED, OCT 31, 2018 at 6:59 AM

Watch Low’s Official Video for “Always Trying to Work It Out” From Their Critically Acclaimed New Album ‘Double Negative’

North American tour dates resume on November 2nd.

Hot on the heels of the release of their critically acclaimed album, Double Negative, Low have shared a new video for their song “Always Trying to Work It Out.” The visual was co-directed by longtime friend and video collaborator Phil Harder. The band’s Alan Sparhawk had this to say about the video, “We present our slightly Halloween-themed video for ‘Always Trying to Work It Out.’ In which… friends and family star in a stroll through the grocery store; familiar fragments from memory appear; masks are filtering light. Thank you National Sawdust, light tech Shane Donohue, and the Food Co-op in Duluth. It’s dedicated to our city of Duluth.”


Low Tour Dates + Ticket Links

Low’s North American 2018/19 international headlining tour in support of Double Negative resumes November 2nd in St. Paul at The Fitzgerald Theatre, and runs through November 17th in Madison at High Noon Saloon, with 2019 dates to follow.

2018 Tour Dates
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitzgerald Theatre
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DCU Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 15 - Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid Scheme
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
 
2019 Tour Dates
Jan. 29 - Glasgow, UK - Tramway
Jan. 30 - Birmingham, UK - Birmingham Town Hall
Jan. 31 - Brighton, UK - St. George’s Church Brighton 
Feb. 01 - London, UK - Barbican
Feb. 02 - Kortrijk, BE - De Kreun
Feb. 04 - Groningen, NL - Vera
Feb. 05 - Erlangen, DE - E-Werk (Erlangen)
Feb. 06 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche Köln
Feb. 07 - Frankfurt, DE - Sankt Peter
Feb. 08 - Hamburg, DE - Uebel & Gefährlich
Feb. 09 - Aarhus, DK - Voxhall
Feb. 11 - København, DK - The Koncerthuset - Studie 2
Feb. 12 - Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik
Feb. 13 - Oslo - Norway - Parkteatretjo
Feb. 14 - Stockholm, SE - Kagelbanan (Small Room)
Mar. 08 - Denver, CO - Globe Hall
Mar. 09 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf
Mar. 11 -  Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
Mar. 12 - Tustin, CA - Marty’s On Newport
Mar. 13 - Tijuana, MX - Moustache
Mar. 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
Mar. 16 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Mar. 18 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
Mar. 19 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial
Mar. 20 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
Mar. 23 - Provo, UT -  Velour Live Music Gallery            


Low’s Double Negative is available now worldwide from right here from Sub Pop


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, OCT 4, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Watch Low’s New Video for “Poor Sucker,” from Their Extraordinary New Album ‘Double Negative’ (out now)

“…It is extraordinary that Low is doing such challenging, relevant work 25 years into their career.” [Best New Music, 8.7/10] - Pitchfork

Low’s international tour schedule for 2018/2019 resumes tomorrow October 5th in Milan, Italy. See dates below.

Following the release of their critically acclaimed new album, Double Negative, Low’s Alan Sparhawk gets a makeover in the official video for “Poor Sucker,” directed by Karlos Rene Ayala.

Double Negative is available worldwide now on CD/LP/DL/CS from Sub Pop [link here]. The album cover for Double Negative was created by longtime collaborator, English artist, Peter Liversidge.


Low Tour Dates + Ticket Links

Low’s international tour dates resume tomorrow, October 5th, 2018 with a show at Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, Italy and currently end March 23rd, 2019 at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo, UT.

2018 Tour Dates
Oct. 05 - Milan, IT - Teatro Dal Verme
Oct. 06 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F
Oct. 08 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz
Oct. 09 - Berlin, DE - Festsaal Kreuzberg
Oct. 10- Bochum, DE - Christuskirche Bochum
Oct. 11 -  Brussels, BE -  Orangerie (at Botanique)
Oct. 12 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Oct. 13 - Paris, FR - La Gaîté Lyrique
Oct. 15 - Bristol, UK - Trinity
Oct. 16 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Cathedral
Oct. 17 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitz
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DCU Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 15 - Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid Scheme
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
 
2019 Tour Dates
Jan. 29 - Glasgow, UK - Tramway
Jan. 30 - Birmingham, UK - Birmingham Town Hall
Jan. 31 - Brighton, UK - St. George’s Church Brighton 
Feb. 01 - London, UK - Barbican
Feb. 02 - Kortrijk, BE - De Kreun
Feb. 04 - Groningen, NL - Vera
Feb. 05 - Erlangen, DE - E-Werk (Erlangen)
Feb. 06 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche Köln
Feb. 07 - Frankfurt, DE - Sankt Peter
Feb. 08 - Hamburg, DE - Uebel & Gefährlich
Feb. 09 - Aarhus, DK - Voxhall
Feb. 11 - København, DK - The Koncerthuset - Studie 2
Feb. 12 - Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik
Feb. 13 - Oslo - Norway - Parkteatret
Feb. 14 - Stockholm, SE - Kagelbanan (Small Room)
Mar. 08 - Denver, CO - Globe Hall
Mar. 09 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf
Mar. 11 -  Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
Mar. 12 - Tustin, CA - Marty’s On Newport
Mar. 13 - Tijuana, MX - Moustache
Mar. 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
Mar. 16 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Mar. 18 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
Mar. 19 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial
Mar. 20 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
Mar. 23 - Provo, UT -  Velour Live Music Gallery     


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, SEP 13, 2018 at 6:59 AM

Watch Low’s Restless, Cascading Video for “Rome (Always in the Dark),” from Their Extraordinary New Album ‘Double Negative’ Out This Week

The band’s international tour schedule in support of Double Negative has been extended with new, headlining North American dates for 2019.

Low have shared a new video for “Rome (Always in the Dark)” which was directed by Aaron Anderson and Eric Timothy Carlson. The collage-like video accentuates the intense nature of the track, an insistent march forcing its way through the din of the album with a damn-the-torpedoes tenacity. “Let’s turn this thing up before they take us out…”

Low’s Double Negative will be available on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide this Friday, September 14th through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers. The album cover for Double Negative was created by longtime collaborator, English artist, Peter Liversidge.


Low Tour Dates + Ticket Links

Low’s international tour schedule for 2018/19, which begins with a three-night stand September 19th-21st, 2018 at National Sawdust in New York City, has been extended through March 23rd, 2019, ending with a show at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo, Utah. The new, 10-date extension includes stops in Denver, Santa Fe, Phoenix, Tijuana, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.

2018 Tour Dates
Sep. 19 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 20 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 29 - Lisbon, PT - Lisboa ao Vivo
Oct. 01 - De Compostela Santiago, ES - Sala Capitol
Oct. 02 - Madrid, ES - Sala But
Oct. 03 - Barcelona, ES - Fabra i Coats
Oct. 05 - Milan, IT - Teatro Dal Verme
Oct. 06 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F
Oct. 08 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz
Oct. 09 - Berlin, DE - Festsaal Kreuzberg
Oct. 10 - Bochum, DE - Christuskirche Bochum
Oct. 11 -  Brussels, BE -  Orangerie (at Botanique)
Oct. 12 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Oct. 13 - Paris, FR - La Gaîté Lyrique
Oct. 15 - Bristol, UK - Trinity
Oct. 16 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Cathedral
Oct. 17 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitz
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DC U Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 15 - Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid Scheme
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
 
2019 Tour Dates
Jan. 29 - Glasgow, UK - Tramway
Jan. 30 - Birmingham, UK - Birmingham Town Hall
Jan. 31 - Brighton, UK - St. George’s Church Brighton
Feb. 01 - London, UK - Barbican
Feb. 02 - Kortrijk, BE - De Kreun
Feb. 04 - Groningen, NL - Vera
Feb. 05 - Erlangen, DE - E-Werk (Erlangen)
Feb. 06 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche Köln
Feb. 07 - Frankfurt, DE - Sankt Peter
Feb. 08 - Hamburg, DE - Uebel & Gefährlich
Feb. 09 - Aarhus, DK - Voxhall
Feb. 11 - København, DK - The Koncerthuset - Studie 2
Feb. 12 - Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik
Feb. 13 - Oslo - Norway - Parkteatret
Feb. 14 - Stockholm, SE - Kagelbanan (Small Room)
Mar. 08 - Denver, CO - Globe Hall
Mar. 09 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf
Mar. 11 -  Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
Mar. 12 - Tustin, CA - Marty’s On Newport
Mar. 13 - Tijuana, MX - Moustache
Mar. 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
Mar. 16 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Mar. 18 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
Mar. 19 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial
Mar. 20 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
Mar. 23 - Provo, UT -  Velour Live Music Gallery    


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, SEP 6, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Low Extends Their International Touring Schedule in Support of ‘Double Negative’ with New, Headlining U.K. and European Dates for 2019

Low 2018 promo 19 paulhusband 2100x1623 300

Stream Double Negative in its entirety via NPR Music’s “First Listen” September 6th-14th.

[Photo credit: Paul Husband]

Low have extended their international tour schedule in support of Double Negative with the announcement of new U.K. and European dates for 2019. The newly added dates begin January 29th, 2019 in Glasgow at Tramway and run through February 14th in Stockholm in Kagelbanan (Small Room). The 15-date U.K. and European run will include stops in Brighton, London, Hamburg, Oslo, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Gothenburg. These dates follow Low’s previously announced 2018 North American, U.K. and European tour schedule, which begins with a three-night stand at National Sawdust in New York City on September 19th-21st and ends November 17th in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. (full listing is below.)

And starting today, September 6th, NPR Music’s “First Listen” is now streaming Double Negative in its entirety right over here
 
NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson offers this on the band’s new album, ”For a band so often defined by apparent strictures on its sound, Low has proven incredibly versatile. Throughout a catalog that spans 12 studio albums, another dozen or so EPs, a Christmas record that’s justly become a classic, and countless one-offs, it’s upended its formulas constantly while still sounding unmistakably like itself. On the new Double Negative, those patterns hold true amid Low’s most radical reinvention yet…Low throws itself into what often sounds like an inversion of its classic sound. “Quorum” opensDouble Negative with static-scarred loops that curdle and crunch menacingly, setting a fresh scene with maximum efficiency: This is the sound of beauty as it’s distorted to the point of disintegration [listen here].” 

[Album Cover Image by Peter Liversidge]

Pre-orders of Double Negative through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on crystal clear vinyl with an enclosed full-color flat of the album’s front cover artwork (while supplies last).

Low Tour Dates + Ticket Links

2018 Tour Dates
Sep. 19 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 20 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 29 - Lisbon, PT - Lisboa ao Vivo
Oct. 01 - De Compostela Santiago, ES - Sala Capitol
Oct. 02 - Madrid, ES - Sala But
Oct. 03 - Barcelona, ES - Fabra i Coats
Oct. 05 - Milan, IT - Teatro Dal Verme
Oct. 06 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F
Oct. 08 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz
Oct. 09 - Berlin, DE - Festsaal Kreuzberg
Oct. 10- Bochum, DE - Christuskirche Bochum
Oct. 11 -  Brussels, BE -  Orangerie (at Botanique)
Oct. 12 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Oct. 13 - Paris, FR - La Gaîté Lyrique
Oct. 15 - Bristol, UK - Trinity
Oct. 16 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Cathedral
Oct. 17 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitz
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DCU Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 15 - Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid Scheme
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
 
2019 Tour Dates
Jan. 29 - Glasgow, UK - Tramway
Jan. 30 - Birmingham, UK - Birmingham Town Hall
Jan. 31 - Brighton, UK - St. George’s Church Brighton 
Feb. 01 - London, UK - Barbican
Feb. 02 - Kortrijk, BE - De Kreun
Feb. 04 - Groningen, NL - Vera
Feb. 05 - Erlangen, DE - E-Werk (Erlangen)
Feb. 06 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche Köln
Feb. 07 - Frankfurt, DE - Sankt Peter
Feb. 08 - Hamburg, DE - Uebel & Gefährlich
Feb. 09 - Aarhus, DK - Voxhall
Feb. 11 - København, DK - The Koncerthuset - Studie 2
Feb. 12 - Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik
Feb. 13 - Oslo - Norway - Parkteatret
Feb. 14 - Stockholm, SE - Kagelbanan (Small Room)



Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, AUG 16, 2018 at 7:00 AM

“Disarray” is the Latest Single From the Breathtaking New Low Album ‘Double Negative’

On September 14th, Low will release Double Negative, their acclaimed new album. Today the band are offering a new preview via the album’s closing cut, “Disarray.”

Double Negative will be out worldwide on Sept 14th, 2018 and the world tour in support of the new album begins with a three-night stand September 19th-21st at National Sawdust in New York City.
 
Uncut, in its album of the month review (9/10), offers this of Double Negative: “Low have never made a record quite so jarring and jagged, but Double Negative pushes beyond their own catalogue. Low have made what might be their most relevant album, one that holds a mirror up to the world.”


[Photo Credit:  Shelly Mosman]

Low Tour Dates + Ticket Links

As previously mentioned, Low will embark on a world tour in support of their new album, with a three-night stand at National Sawdust in New York City on September 19th-21st with a European run following on Sep. 29th in Lisbon. These dates will find the band performing in Madrid, Milan, Zurich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, and Brussels, before returning to the states on November 2nd, to kick off a 12-date North American run starting in their home state of Minnesota. See below for a full list of tour dates, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
                                                                        
Tour Dates:
Sep. 19 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 20 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 29 - Lisbon, PT - Lisboa ao Vivo
Oct. 01 - De Compostela Santiago, ES -  Sala Capitol
Oct. 02 - Madrid, ES - Sala But
Oct. 03 - Barcelona, ES- Fabra i Coats
Oct. 05 - Milan, IT - Teatro Dal Verme
Oct. 06 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F
Oct. 08 - Leipzig, DE- Conne Island
Oct.0 9 - Berlin, DE - Festsaal Kreuzberg
Oct. 10- Bochum, DE - Christuskirche Bochum
Oct. 11 -  Brussels, BE -  Orangerie (at Botanique)
Oct. 12 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Oct. 13 - Paris, FR - La Gaîté Lyrique
Oct. 15 - Bristol, UK - Trinity
Oct. 16 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Cathedral
Oct. 17 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitz
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DCU Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon


 
Pre-orders of the Double Negative LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on crystal clear vinyl with an enclosed full-color flat of the album’s front cover artwork.






Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : TUE, JUN 12, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Low Drops New Album ‘Double Negative’ September 14th, 2018 + Announces Worldwide Tour - Now Watch The Arresting Opening Triptych Video for *Quorum / Dancing and Blood / Fly*

On September 14th, in the faithfully defiant fashion of their 25-year career, Low will release Double Negative, its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album. As a prelude to the full-length album, Low presents a triptych video for the opening songs of the album. Each video can also be watched independently:
 
“Quorum” [watch here]
Directed & edited by Ben Chisholm  -  Filmed by Karlos Rene Ayala


“Dancing and Blood” [watch here]
Directed, filmed & edited by Karlos Rene Ayala


“Fly” [watch here]
Directed by Mark Pellington  -  Edited by Jen Kennedy

                                                           
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the adventurous producer who in recent years has made records with Bon Iver, Lizzo, and Francis and the Lights. Returning once again to Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin (where they recorded 2015’s Ones and Sixes) Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds: they wanted to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do with their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative co-writers, building the pieces up and breaking them down until their purpose and force felt clear.

Tour Dates + Ticket Links 

Following summer shows in the UK, Germany, and Poland, the band will embark on a first leg of touring in support of the new album with a two-night stand at National Sawdust in New York City. See below for a full list of tour dates, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.
                                                                       
Tour Dates:
Jun. 19 - Leeds, United Kingdom - Brudenell Social
Jun. 20 - London, United Kingdom - Queen Elizabeth Hall  (Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival)
Jun. 23 - Duisburg, Germany - Traumzeit festival
Jun. 25 - Munich, Germany - Ampere
Jun. 26 -  Dresden, Germany - Beatpol
Jun. 29 - Bialystok, Poland - Amphitheater of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic (Halfway Music Festival!)
Sep. 20 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 21 - New York, NY - National Sawdust
Sep. 29 - Lisbon, Portugal - Lisboa ao Vivo
Oct. 1 - De Compostela Santiago, Spain -  Sala Capitol
Oct. 2 - Madrid, Spain - Sala But
Oct. 3 - Barcelona, Spain - Fabra i Coats
Oct. 5 - Milan, Italy - Teatro Dal Verme
Oct. 6 - Zurich, Switzererland - Bogen F
Oct. 8 - Leipzig, Germany - Conne Island
Oct. 9 - Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg
Oct. 11 -  Brussels, Belgium -  Orangerie (at Botanique)
Oct. 12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
Oct. 13 - Paris, France - La Gaîté Lyrique
Oct. 15 - Bristol, UK - Trinity
Oct. 16 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Cathedral
Oct. 17 - Manchester Cathedral - Vicar Street
Nov. 02 - St. Paul, MN - The Fitz
Nov. 03 - Davenport, IA - Daytrotter
Nov. 05 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Nov. 06 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Nov. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Nov. 09 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
Nov. 12 - Washington, DC U Street Music Hall
Nov. 13 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Funhouse
Nov. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
Nov. 16 - Chicago, IL - Rockefeller Chapel
Nov. 17 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon


Pre-orders of Double Negative through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on crystal clear vinyl with an enclosed full-color flat of album artwork. The album cover for Double Negative was created by longtime collaborator, English artist, Peter Liversidge.

Double Negative
Tracklisting:
1. Quorum
2. Dancing and Blood
3. Fly
4. Tempest
5. Always Up
6. Always Trying to Work It Out
7. The Son, The Sun
8. Dancing and Fire
9. Poor Sucker
10. Rome (Always in the Dark)
11. Disarray



[Photo Credit: Shelly Mosman]

More on Low’s Double Negative by Grayson Currin:
In 2018, the band Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
 
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.
 
This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.

Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion.
 
During the immersive “Dancing and Blood,” Parker slowly comes into focus, as if singing from the wind-ripped mouth of a cave. Parker appears to beat back disaster for “Fly,” her soulful vocals curving into and above Garrington’s bold bassline as Sparhawk’s own signal cuts in and out. Elsewhere, though, songs like “Always Trying to Work It Out” and “Tempest” threaten to swallow the pair whole, their overwhelming quakes of dissonance aiming to silence them once and for all. Sometimes, Sparhawk and Parker are stuck in the Sisyphean middle, capable of neither failing nor forging ahead. During the brilliantly conceived “Poor Sucker,” written in large part by Garrington, their voices suggest skiffs stuck on some turbulent sea, falling beneath and rising above the cacophony with seasick irregularity. In this frustrated song of self-defeat, Low lists all the ways they could have made their lives matter. It is a eulogy of could-have-beens for a time that won’t really let you be.
 
As “Rome (Always in the Dark),” a march that forces its way through the din with damn-the-torpedoes tenacity, fades toward a rare silence, a pulse sculpted from a shard of noise emerges, flashing from a distance like the safety of a life raft. It rises into a steady thump, with Sparhawk and Parker floating above it in crystalline unison: “Before it falls into total disarray/You’ll have to learn to live a different way,” they sing, their melody forming a tightrope of despair and delight. In some ways, it’s a warning of the bad times to come. But it’s also a promise that we’re more powerful and adaptable than madness itself, that we have the ability to persevere. During the song’s back half, Sparhawk and Parker don’t say anything. They instead lock into august harmony and glide between notes, Parker’s purely ascendant tone pulling Sparhawk’s falsetto skyward. It is an exquisite and triumphant moment, an exhalation after all the damage and din.
 
In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?

Posted by Rachel White