Free and legal MP3: Low

Not slow this time but quite, actually, low


“Just Make It Stop” – Low

Built on a creamy, low-end, guitar-driven groove, “Just Make It Stop” immediately contradicts itself with music that sounds like it could pretty much keep going forever. With a prominent, recycling major-to-minor key modulation adding to the momentum, the song does not even stop to acquire a separated chorus—one melody services both chorus and verse (“I could tell the whole world/To get out of the way” indeed.)

There is something seductive here in this rich, brisk song that revels in its lower-register grace. Not only does Mimi Parker’s dusty alto dominate, but the entire piece seems to rest down below where most rock songs want to live. Rock’n’roll catharsis stereotypically happens at the shrieky end of things: guitar solos so far up the neck the fingers are really on the body; singers throwing their heads back to emit glass-shattering howls. Since its beginnings as an inadvertent “slowcore” pioneer, Low has never been about such flagrant drama, preferring to find a different kind of thrill in spaciousness of various kinds—slow tempos, thoughtful structures, uncrowded arrangements. Even as they’ve broadened their sound over the years, there remains an alluring awareness of space in the band’s music, even when the tempo in this case has us tapping our toes rather than closing our eyes. Not too many other bands would think of, never mind get away with, the skeletal instrumental break we get here after the song’s opening chorus (1:00), in which the instrumentalists play as if each waits for someone else to take the lead. The second time we get to this break (2:17), there’s what we waited for: a piano pounding out a gut-satisfying left-hand melody, grounding the song down in that deep place it’s been in the whole time. (They don’t call themselves Low for nothing.)

“Just Make It Stop” is from the album The Invisible Way, coming out next week on Sub Pop Records. Produced by Jeff Tweedy and recorded in Wilco’s Chicago studio, it is the band’s tenth album; the Duluth trio is now in their 20th year together. Longtime Low fans note that Mimi sings lead on five of 11 songs this time around—welcome news for most, as she’s usually up front for just one or two per album. MP3 via Sub Pop. If you go to Low’s page on the record label site, you’ll find eight other free and legal MP3s to download, including two that were previously featured here (in April 2011 and in February 2005).

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