Minimalism Meets the ’Sco
By Derek Schleelein

Less is more seems to be the theme this weekend as two established indie rock bands make their way to the ’Sco. On Friday, Minnesota minimalist rock trio Low will perform in support of their new album Trust.
Husband and wife team Alan Sparhawk (vocals, guitar) and Mimi Parker (drums, vocals) combine with Zak Sally on bass to play ambient “slow-core” rock that has won critical approval and fans in the underground for almost a decade. Working with noted producer Steve Albini and recording a Christmas album that featured a song used in a Gap commercial provided some recognition for the band in recent years.
With Trust, Low augments their signature quiet rock by turning up a bit and incorporating some spooky harmonies with the help of producer Tchad Blake who has worked with such other notable moody rockers as Elvis Costello and Pearl Jam.
Don’t expect to be knocked over by the wall of sound, though. Although Sparhawk and Parker are Mormon (a religion not known for producing rock stars), Low focus on spiritual weirdness more than they do on any specific “God” message. With lyrics like, “When they found your body/ Giant x’s on your eyes” from last year’s acclaimed Things We Lost in the Fire it’s clear that this band keeps God and guitars separate enough to not be preachy.
On Saturday, Boston-based indie jazz/rock group Karate will be playing at the ’Sco. Formed in 1993 Karate are known for their technical ability and groove, as well as the spaciousness of their sound, drawing comparisons from other post-rock acts such as Codeine and Mogwai.
With their new album, Some Boots, Karate has changed direction somewhat from their previous works by “slamming genres together as if they were making a mix tape.” Despite the group’s punk rock origins guitarist/vocalist Geoff Farina, drummer Gavin McCarthy and bassist Jeff Goddard all have formal jazz schooling, making for an interesting mix of jazz technicality and rock sensibility.

Like Low, Karate would probably rather turn their amps down, but unlike Low they use a few more notes in the mix. Minimalism is still the key word here, but it’s a more studied minimalism in the vein of cool jazz rather than punk rock.

October 4
October 11

site designed and maintained by jon macdonald and ben alschuler :::