Low is a rock trio formed in 1994 in Duluth, Minnesota. It consists of Alan Sparhawk (guitar and vocals), Mimi Parker (drums and vocals) and Zak Sally (bass). Their music (often categorized as "slowcore" or "sadcore") is characterized as dreamy and minimalistic. The delicate vocal harmonies of Sparhawk and Parker are probably the most recognizable aspect to their music.
Sparhawk and Parker are married with two young children. The two are also practicers of the Mormon faith, although religion doesn't have a large affect on the band's music or lyrics.
Throughout the decade-plus Low has been together, they have had limited commercial success. One of their songs ("Little Drummer Boy") was featured on a The Gap television commercial, and they've seen play on a few radio stations. In 2003, they toured Europe in support of Radiohead, and released a DVD, Low in Europe covering it. Their greatest commercial success was The Great Destroyer, which was released on Sub Pop records in early 2005. The Great Destroyer marked a change for Low. It was louder than their previous material, with more prominent percussion and deeper layers.
In 2005, the band canceled part of their tour in support of The Great Destroyer, citing personal problems. Later, Sparhawk released a informal message on the band's message boards to explain the cancellation. Later in 2005 Zak Sally would quit the band and be replaced by Matt Livingston.
Their next album is due for release in 2007 and slated to be titled Drums and Guns.
The members of Low also run Chairkickers Union, a small independent label that focuses mainly on other Duluth bands. Their releases have included EPs by the Rivulets and Haley Bonar. Sally has toured as a bassist with Dirty Three, and Sparhawk has devoted considerable time and energy to his Black Eyed Snakes project, a blues-rock revival band quite far removed from the Low aesthetic. Recently Sparhawk has also been seen with a new side project called the Retribution Gospel Choir. Matt Livingston, who became Low's new bassist in late 2005, also plays in The Retribution Gospel Choir. On Retribution's first tour (fall 2005), they played the Low song "From Your Place on Sunset." (Similarly, Low and the Black-Eyed Snakes have played some over-lapping songs, such as "Lordy".) Meanwhile, all of the members are heavily involved in the Duluth music scene. Besides Chairkickers Union projects, Low and the Black Eyed Snakes have played regularly in Duluth and both bands feature prominently at the Homegrown Music Festival, an annual showcase of Duluth, Iron Range and North Shore music.
- I Could Live in Hope (1994)
- Long Division (1995)
- The Curtain Hits the Cast (1996)
- Owl (1998)
- Secret Name (1999)
- Christmas (1999)
- One More Reason to Forget (live) (2000)
- Things We Lost in the Fire (2001)
- Paris '99: Anthony, Are You Around? (live) (2001)
- Trust (2002)
- A Lifetime of Temporary Relief: 10 Years of B-Sides and Rarities (2004)
- The Great Destroyer (2005)
- Low in Europe (DVD) (2005)
- Drums and Guns (2007)