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Low

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"Breaker" by Low, from Drums and Guns (Sub Pop):

When Low first appeared on the critical radar in the mid-'90s, the band made its mark as a slowcore ensemble playing nocturnal ballads in an era dominated by aggressive alt-rock. In time, though, Alan Sparhawk and company outgrew their namesake and began summoning dense, electrified songs characterized by plodding tom-tom beats and the divine harmonies of Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker (who eventually ditched her sparse snare-and-high-hat setup). Low cranked up the amps on 2005's The Great Destroyer, but the trio pulled back a bit on this year's stark Drums and Guns, the group's first foray into judicious loop-and-sample experimentation.

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