Low, Andy Shauf | Thalia Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Low, Andy Shauf 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Sept. 19, 9 p.m. 2015

Produced by Jeff Tweedy, Low’s 2013 album The Invisible Way forged a dry and austere sound while leaving the band’s meditative elements untouched, just one in a series of moves that have moved the duo forward from their early, somnambulant days. The increase in dynamic range, volatility, and volume continues apace on their striking new record Ones and Sixes (Sub Pop), made at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Core Low members Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker have pivoted from The Invisible Way to embrace a far more expansive and lush sound that includes electronic beats and billowy clouds of distortion—though the band’s spiritual vocal harmonies remain at the center of the action. On “What Part of Me” gothic-sounding descending bass parts bring plaintive sorrow to a stiff new-wave beat, while the plangent minor-key chords of “The Innocents” (one of a pair of tracks featuring drummer Glenn Kotche) project a simmering intensity that channels tension into excitement—the voices, guitars, and bass eventually leave the beat and cycle around before going silent. The epic “Landslide” rides a plodding, machinelike rhythm into the red, the driving guitar and bass cut out with overdriven aggression on every downstroke. Low is as recognizable as ever, but these days they’re tweaking their sound as fervently as they maintained it in the early days.

Peter Margasak

Price: $20

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