Local Current Blog

Local Radar: Low, The Starfolk and Ugly Motors

Low's 10th album "The Invisible Way" will be out on March 19 via Sub Pop.

Local Radar highlights bands that the local team at The Current is spinning heavily at their desks. You’ll be able to preview a track from each as well as hear them on The Local Show and Local Current.


We’ve already gotten a taste of the upcoming Low album The Invisible Way with “Plastic Cup,” but “Just Make It Stop” is the official lead single, and there couldn’t be a better way to introduce this band to new listeners. Released by the band on Wednesday to coincide with a whole bunch of tour dates, “Just Make It Stop” sees Low conquering a faster pace with the same melancholy undertones. But it’s also extremely optimistic, with lyrics like, “Now I’m looking up from a 10-foot hole / seeing nothing but blue sky / shining on my soul.”

There’s some life-affirming harmonies in the mix, with Mimi Parker’s layered vocals fitfully accompanying a steady drum line, guitar splashes and a building piano melody. The song builds with a crescendo before washing over the cliff into a lone note. There’s notable differences from the past, chalked up to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy production and Tom Schick’s engineering.

It’s some of the best work Low has ever done, appropriate for their 20th anniversary as a band, and may be the record that drives Low back into the spotlight. As their 10th release, The Invisible Way will again be put out by Sub Pop on March 19. Just a few days later on March 23, the band will perform with special guests from Trampled By Turtles for a Current Sessions at The Fitz.

  1. Listen Low – “Just Make It Stop” from The Invisible Way

The Starfolk

Over the past couple of years, we’ve only been treated to a split EP by The Starfolk, also featuring Typsy Panthre. With the advent of the new Korda Records label in town, there’s now a steady outlet for these two bands, as well as the Jim Ruiz Set and The Ocean Blue, to release material. It makes sense that all of these acts are on the same label as well since they’ve got historical connections to one another.

For instance, The Starfolk is fronted by Brian Tighe who led The Hang Ups in the ‘90s and now co-frontsThe Owls with bassist Allison LaBonne who also plays in Typsy Panthre. He also plays guitar with Jeremy Messersmith. Cellist Jacqueline Ultan is also in the mix, notable for her work in Jelloslave and Saltee. Drummer Stephen Ittner rounds out the ensemble, playing in The Hang Ups and The Owls as well.

The new Korda Records Kompilation features a new gem of track from The Starfolk called “From Above.” It’s a slow churner and seriously gorgeous, with Tighe sounding like a Jon Brion composition. Their debut full-length is (finally!) slated for release on April 23 on Korda.

Want a taste ahead of time? Well, Korda is having a showcase at the Entry on Saturday night which has one of the best local line-ups in months: Jim Ruiz Set, The Ocean Blue, The Starfolk and Typsy Panthre will all be on the bill. Transmission host Jake Rudh will be spinning tunes before, during and after the show.

  1. Listen The Starfolk – “From Above” from Korda Records Kompilation

Ugly Motors

For those of you who need something a little bit faster, look no further than Ugly Motors, a new act spawned out of the ashes of Tiny Swimmers who put out a hell of an overlooked album last year. Brothers Neil and Wade Kapphahn were in the process of forming Ugly Motors in 2012 when we first wrote about Tiny Swimmers on the Local Radar.

Kind of surfy, really lose, no-frills, harsh vocals and some sweet guitar riffs – all is in the mix with Ugly Motors. They’ve actually played around town a lot in the past few months, and you’ll be able to see them soon enough with a cassette release show at some point in January or February. In the meantime, you can actually grab their debut release on Bandcamp.

  1. Listen Ugly Motors – “Robodope” from Ugly Motors