Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Favorite new record? Favorite old record? Got a band? Post it here.
User avatar
mbene085
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 6041
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 5:07 am

Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by mbene085 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:25 am

I know this comes as a shock on this board, but I'm a big Dinosaur Jr. fan. All of the eras. J's solo stuff, too - whether you're talking the Dino albums that were a mislabeled solo project, his Fog stuff, or his acoustic stuff under his own name.

But I'm a way bigger Lou Barlow fan. Sebadoh, Sentridoh, Folk Implosion, New Folk Implosion, self-titled baritone ukulele and acoustic guitar stuff. All of it. I'm subscribed to his Artist Enabler Club over at Joyful Noise Recordings because I want to support him putting out as much of his music into the world as he can.

And I kinda feel bad for the guy. Why? Because not that long ago, I had the chance to see him on tour with both Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh within the space of just a few weeks. Front row for both. Both amazing shows. But at the Dino show, I only ever heard cheers or heckles of "J!" And at the Sebadoh show, we only had people going "Jay! JAY! Hey Jay! Jay, you rock!" (Loewenstein, that is).

Lou had an amazing set at both shows. Just spot on, locked in, everything you could ask for.

Now, I'm not the heckling type, and I'm not the "rush up and throw yourself at musicians after the show to tell them how great they are" type, either, so I didn't take it upon myself to yell superlatives at him, but it just stuck out to me as odd/funny/a shame that he would be hearing the same name shouted exclusively at shows of both of his highly influential bands - J/Jay. In both acts, he's my favourite part of the band, even though I appreciate everyone's contribution (and enjoy Jason Loewenstein's solo albums as well).

I feel he's the stronger singer, songwriter, lyricist, and live performer in both of those lineups. So are his fans less numerous or just less obnoxious?

Am I the only one grooving to Folk Implosion tunes and solo baritone ukulele music? Are other people skipping over the Lou songs on the Dino reunion albums?

User avatar
andy_tchp
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 6429
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:36 am
Location: Brisbane

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by andy_tchp » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:39 am

mbene085 wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:25 am
I feel he's the stronger singer, songwriter, lyricist, and live performer in both of those lineups.
Agreed.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

User avatar
parry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 8255
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:08 am
Location: Ontario, CANADA
Contact:

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by parry » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:23 am

I think he's under-appreciated, by and large (especially, in Dinosaur Jr). But I never noticed that happening within Sebadoh.

The thing that strikes me most, is that I think he's kind of past it all and just enjoying the ride at this point He's had his share of demons, but it seems that in facing them and embracing his family, the man seems genuinely happy - and dare i say free. He seems to be taking every opportunity he can, giving it his all and doing his best to enjoy every moment of it. A stark contrast to younger Lou, who probably tortured himself over the things you mentioned. He's definitely grown as a song-writer and musician. The quality of his output is at the highest it's ever been. I've enjoyed all of it very much.
:)
Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.

User avatar
Larry Mal
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 15477
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:25 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:45 am

Beats me, but the man can absolutely play his instruments very, very well.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

User avatar
Francer
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 428
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:11 am
Location: Uk

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by Francer » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:57 am

I got to see Sebadoh many years ago in Norwich on Halloween. I agree that Jason kind of took the limelight, he came bursting onto the stage in a Halloween mask and was generally playing up to the crowd, but Lou is maybe more reserved as a person?

Anyhow, absolutely awesome gig, I didn’t know them that well at the time and they blew me away. I guess there’s two different dynamics going on in each band, Dinosaur Jr is very much J’s band, and whilst Sebadoh is Lou’s band, But maybe JL has the bigger personality on stage, so he draws in the crowd.

Perhaps a bit like the Pixies where everyone just loved Kim on stage ... ?

User avatar
Soggy Donkey
PAT PEND
PAT PEND
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 5:11 pm
Location: New York

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by Soggy Donkey » Sat Dec 28, 2019 4:32 am

This is a really interesting thread -- I've been thinking about Lou a lot lately. When I was younger (like mid-20s) I fell for the Folk Implosion completely, and kinda lost interest in Dino Jr.'s excesses and constant-11-level fuzz cloud. And "Bang Your Head on the Punk Rock" won me over completely to Sebadoh.

Fast forward 25 years to last July. My wife and I go see Sebadoh at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. She has always loved Jason L and I've always gravitated toward Lou. On the drive home we came to the realization that the whole yin/yang-ness of those two makes Sebadoh what it is. There's just something perfect about the showmanship of Lowenstein being foiled by the introvert of Barlow. Maybe that's why the sometimes-beef between Mascis and Barlow? Dunno. That's for the psychology majors.

But Lou Barlow will always be my spirit animal.

User avatar
mbene085
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 6041
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 5:07 am

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by mbene085 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:09 pm

Yeah, Lou seems for better or for worse to find himself partners in bands who are very much yang to his yin. But his solo stuff is also fantastic, and is currently as good as it's ever been. "Brace the Wave" and "Apocalypse Fetish" are albums that anyone with any remote interest in Lou needs to check out.

It's funny that, just listening to the music, I always thought of Sebadoh as "Lou's band" after thinking of Dino as "J's band." It was seeing them live that made me realize that it was even possible for someone to think of it as "Jason's band." Which isn't to take anything away from him...I appreciate his other work, too, but Lou leaves his imprint on it much more strongly than he did early Dino. And of course, the reality is that it's been "both of theirs" for a very long time.

I completely agree with the statement that Lou Barlow could be a spirit animal. The melancholy, hopelessly romantic, introverted heart of two seminal, raw indie bands that changed the musical landscape.

I still like it when he just picks up a guitar or ukulele on his own, though. He's arguably at his best when he stops having to play foil to someone louder and more bombastic.

User avatar
PorkyPrimeCut
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 22744
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Leipzig
Contact:

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:41 am

I was lucky to almost start at the beginning with Dinosaur Jr, getting my first hit through Bug but I bought Dinosaur shortly after & immediately fell in love with it. For many years I considered J Mascis as the driving force so you can imagine my shock when I discovered it was actually Lou who sang on Forget The Swan.

I'll admit to having fairly limited knowledge of Sebadoh material although this gets pretty regular airtime in Porky's World. I'm completely out of touch with everything else.

This is a fucking brilliant performance though, regardless who originally wrote it, and again, I hadn't realised it was Lou on main vocals (even when J has the vocal break mid-way through) I'd been waiting for a decent live version of this track to show up for years.
You think you can't, you wish you could, I know you can, I wish you would. Slip inside this house as you pass by.

User avatar
Dok
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1738
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:39 pm
Location: Ojai

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by Dok » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:39 am

Local milk person

User avatar
RuffiansFC
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 2980
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:12 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Contact:

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by RuffiansFC » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:30 am

my band played a festival with Sebadoh. I'm more of a Dino Jr fan, but I thought they were great live. Lou is a super nice guy. Put up with our tipsy singer (aka my wife) talking about god knows what. He played along, which was pretty funny.

on another note, does anyone remember when Doritos made these little puffy doritos in the 90s that came with collectable guitar picks? I used a Sebadoh pick for the longest. I want to say I had one for Civ, too.

User avatar
tune_link
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 365
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:24 am
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Contact:

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by tune_link » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:21 am

Love this thread. Big time Barlow fan here as well. I haven't done that subscription service mentioned above for the solo stuff but I have a LOT of Lou solo material. I heard Dino first, I was 13 when Where You Been came out and didn't know Lou had even been in the band. I heard You're Living All Over Me soon enough after that learned about him and Sebadoh and I bought Bakesale when it came out and have loved both bands ever since. I didn't know Lowenstein had such a big fanbase until that Sub Pop solo album he put out in the early 00s. I worked at a record store and a bunch of the other employees played it a ton and would mock me for being into "sad sack Lou" (it was endearing not mean spirited or anything).

Lou has my favorite voice of any musician whose music I've followed over the years. Got to see Sebadoh on the Harmacy tour (they were super great) and then I saw Lou do a solo set in 2005 where he got increasingly drunk and 5 songs into his set started taking requests. Imagine my surprise in that he sounded incredible through the whole thing and could recall even the most outlandish/obscure Sentridoh songs at random and play them back while getting hammered. He seemed surprised when his solo stuff was requested and would tell little stories about the songs before launching into them.....I think this was on the tour he did for that Emoh album that came out on Merge (note I don't think he played a single song from it the whole night LOL).

Incredible songwriter. Probably will follow his work until one of us dies. Sadly I've never seen Dino live at all but I hope to correct that soon. I think some of Lou's best songs from the last decade are the ones he's contributed to that band - "Rude" and "Your Weather" etc.

User avatar
PorkyPrimeCut
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 22744
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Leipzig
Contact:

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:30 am

tune_link wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:21 am
"Your Weather"
:-* :-*
You think you can't, you wish you could, I know you can, I wish you would. Slip inside this house as you pass by.

User avatar
Danley
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 2104
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:46 am
Location: California Republic

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by Danley » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:34 am

I love most of Dinosaur Jr./Mascis, but the only time I tried to get into Sebadoh (or maybe just Lou solo?) I got turned off by whatever album I picked up (it was back in college and all I remember is the album was a CD wrapped in brown paper, and the music was mostly a lot of unfocused sounding folk noise rendered in slow, plonky acoustic.)

Can’t find that particular album now on a quick google, but I wouldn’t put it past a listen - it took me a while from discovering Pavement to actually being able to appreciate them too. Guess there are now other ways to find out how they sound :)
King Buzzo: I love when people come up to me and say “Your guitar sound was better on Stoner Witch, when you used a Les Paul. “...I used a Fender Mustang reissue on that, dumbass!

User avatar
panoramic
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 15892
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:09 pm
Location: baltimore, md.

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by panoramic » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:52 am

I think Lou is the better songwriter of the two especially lyrically, i mean the shit they have on defend yourself is GENIUS
SKULL is amazing
so many of his songs are great.
I love j mascis, dinosaur jr is timeless and always a top 5 band for me but Sebadoh is right there.
i used to be cool

User avatar
Mighty_Zoltan
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:30 am

Re: Is Lou Barlow an underdog?

Post by Mighty_Zoltan » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:53 am

I mean I wouldn't say Lou has been an underdog his whole career you just get peaks a troughs right? There was a period in the 90s where Sebadoh was playing a few thousand capacity places that were about the same size as Dino and then Folk Implosion got stupid massive off of that Kids soundtrack. So 3 really successful bands when 99% of us don't even have one plus the ability to pretty much turn up in any town in the world and have a decent crowd. I'd say that was a success!

Post Reply