Spend Your Halloween With Indie Rock Pioneers Sebadoh + Free MP3 Download


Being kicked out of a band sucks. Especially when that band is Dinosaur Jr., one of the most genre-defying indie bands of an era. So what’s the best way to recover? Well, if you’re Lou Barlow, you simply start another band, one whose legacy is just as important, whose fans are just as rabid, and whose songs are just as impressive as your old one. That band is Sebadoh.

Sebadoh are a shimmering pile of noise, layered with pop hooks and lacerating guitars. Part of the original wave of lo-fi artists, they are one of the few bands that can lay claim to the title of  Modern Indie Rock Pioneers. Their songs have a distinct four-track quality to them—like they’re boiled down to their essence through sheer necessity. There is nothing extraneous. Every piece fits.

The story of Sebadoh is really that of Lou Barlow. He’s the band’s central figure, hosting a revolving cast of collaborators and contributing songwriters. He boasts one of the most impressive indie-rock resumes around, having co-founded two of the most important bands of the early indie-rock scene: Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, not to mention modest chart success with side project Folk Implosion.

Barlow had already been writing for years by the time he was asked to leave Dinosaur Jr. So with a collection of raspy four-track tapes and a gift for pop melodies, he set to work on a new project with collaborator Eric Gaffney. Combining Barlow’s pop sensibilities with Gaffney’s affection for dissonance, they forged the wide range of the band’s sound, quickly building a cult following.

For the last part of the 90s Barlow kept himself busy with a number of side projects, including solo records and unlikely chart heroes Folk Implosion. Similarly to Sebadoh, Folk Implosion’s beginnings sprang from a bedroom recording project. However, the band wound up achieving a degree of chart success that Sebadoh, Barlow’s primary focus, never seemed to attain. The last few years have seen the release of Barlow’s first truly solo albums, which are a stark contrast to his normal material, channeling a much more sedate, acoustic sound.

Sebadoh are perhaps best known for the lo-fi elegance of the albums Bubble and Scrapes and Bakesale— the latter of which was made after the departure of co-founder Eric Gaffney. Stepping in was Jason Lowenstein, the drummer-turned-songwriter whose material became increasingly important to the band’s sound.

For a guy who was kicked out of such an essential band, Lou Barlow has coped pretty well. That’s part of why he has been so successful. Whatever vehicle his songs are being delivered in—be it Sebadoh, Folk Implosion, or solo—it is clear that this is a guy who writes songs because he loves it. As the wheel of slacker nostalgia comes careening back around, it would be easy to think that they are just riding the wave back into the spotlight. But one thing is for sure, Sebadoh would likely be putting the same enthusiasm into their music if it was still being recorded on a four-track in a bedroom.

-Ross Martin

*See Barlow and Co. as Sebadoh when they perform live at the High Noon Saloon this Halloween night!  Get your tickets here


Sebadoh – “Give Up”


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