Friday, February 05, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 171 Sebadoh - The Sebadoh

By: March

Album - The Sebadoh
Artist - Sebadoh
Key Players - Russ Pollard - drums. Lou Barlow -guitars and vocals. Jason (Jake) Loewenstein - bass
Produced By - Eric Masunaga

Release Date - February 23, 1999

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This being the lone Sebadoh cd I owned it was not that hard to blow the dust off it. I bought it used for one particular song, and am not sure I ever even gave it much attention as a whole collection.

Overview - The band formed in 1986 in the western part of Massachusetts state. Lou Barlow was the bass player in the band Dinosaur Jr. and was let go, but had logged some playing and recording time with Eric Gaffney. The two would form Sebadoh. The band would have a release out each year from 1989 through 1994 and then they'd release two more, including this record, their final. This is their last cd and the only one with drummer Ross Pollard.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) "It's All You" opens with some sort of buzzy lo-fi bass or guitar before the band picks it up. It has a a fun bouncy feel to it, something you'd' never really expect. The guitar punches through the simple back beat of drums, and the band explodes on the chorus together. "Weird" opens right up with the punchy guitar and the bass is a lot more present on this track. The band chugs right along and then has a cool instrumental and vocal break down to accent the tune nicely. What the band does sounds a lot like what was popular for the indie pop alternative at the time. Think Matthew Sweet but a little dirtier to give you an idea. The band keeps it short and simple on "Bird in the Hand" a quick and rowdy tune with scratchy vocals and the big downbeats to fill the voids. The drum sticks click off "Break Free" and the drums get a work out with a focus on the tom toms. The drums don't seem to match the laid back feel of the song. The band is not in a rush at all on this and explore the vocals more on this track. Acoustic guitars ring out for "Tree". A pretty song, with the focus on the guitar and vocal for a verse before the band comes in to fill out the sound. The acoustic is pushed up in the mix and the song really embraces that feel. It is nice to hear the band sort of break out of the mold and stretch out. We return to a little more of the rocking side on "Nick of Time". The bass drums and guitar all seem to be working off an odd time signature giving another unique feel to the track. The song that got me to buy the record is "Flame". The drums slap out a marching tempo and the guitar buzzes below it but it has this infectious hook, and the drone of the lead vocals drag you right in. The cool part is it does it all over again, so you get a great run through again. Its not overly complex, but some neat phasing on the guitar and vocals make it even trippier. Such a great track, and the false ending is a great touch. "So Long" is a darker quick run of a track that is short and to the point. The band seems to go long, short long and we get on the longer side again with "Love Is Stronger" at close to 5 minutes. The vocals start of this and waiver some, before the single guitar slowly builds it up. For the first time we get a track with a longer guitar solo, but not a flashy solo just as a driving force on the tune. The bass compliments the solo very nicely and the band falls back in to a tight sound for the verses. For all their hard work we get another very rocking tune in "Decide" and it fits well. The record is mixed very well bridging the gap and really giving the listening full range of what the band is capable of. The percussion instruments get a strong work out on this track as well. The guitar and drums play off one another on the intro to "Colorblind". The music has a big sound to it, but the vocals are a little more laid back. The vocal delivery is upbeat and they push themselves for urgency, and, the vocals have a peppy bounce to them. "Thrive" gives slow choppy guitar notes mixed with a longer held chord before the band gets moving. Once again the band is comfortable with each players role and not one instrument is the focus. This cohesiveness is refreshing in that the band is a whole, not single members. The track "Cuban" has an aggressive sounding guitar that can't seem to get in tune. It bursts single notes accented with cymbal crashes before the band all clicks it together. The track is odd in that it feels a little incomplete, sorta like a jam session caught on tape but that could be the charm. The song "structure" returns on "Sorry" and the song feel similar to others on the disc. Not really breaking new ground, but not a bad track either. The record concludes with "Drag Down" another quick rocking tune with focus buzzy guitar on the back side of the verses. The band has a lot of fun on this track and it is a strong album closer.

Where are they now? Barlow worked with Folk Implosion, then "the new folk implosion" and he played some with Dino Jnr again. Jason Loewenstein is busy with The Fiery Furnaces. Sebadoh has also reformed (never really breaking up) as recent as 2008 performed live together.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have never seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take - Listening to the record all the way through I can see the bands charm, and this place in music in the late 1990's. What I like on this particular record I *really* like while other stuff is sorta uninteresting to me. As noted, this is the only cd I own by them, so perhaps there are other albums that better represent what the band is about? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

The band on myspace. Lou Barlow's official page is here, and this page/ is Jake's official page. Also, the band's label, Subpop, has information here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The Mp3's have been removed...
It's All You
Nick of Time

Tracks were taken from "The Sebadoh" that you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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