Lou Barlow knows better than most what goes into a successful comeback. A member of Dinosaur Jr. through their ‘80s prime—up until J Mascis famously kicked him out in 1989—Barlow rejoined the group for their unlikely 2005 rebirth. Eight years and three strong Dinosaur albums later, Barlow now hopes to repeat the feat with his other revered ‘80s/‘90s band, Sebadoh, which this week releases its first new studio album since 1999.
Sebadoh began in the mid-‘80s as an outlet for Barlow’s home recordings away from Dinosaur Jr., with help from early collaborator Eric Gaffney. The duo’s output—heard on 1989’s The Freed Man and 1990’s Weed Forestin—was a collage of sound experiments, throwaway jokes, and rough folk and pop songs that set the stage for numerous “lo-fi” musicians who followed. Jason Loewenstein joined Sebadoh in 1989, creating the three-person line-up of what many fans consider the band’s “classic” era. Barlow, Gaffney, and Loewenstein would swap instruments and take turns on the mic, Barlow providing a tuneful sensitivity while the others brought a volatile noise/punk streak. The mix made for some of the era’s most memorably chaotic recordings, most notably III (1991)—arguably Sebadoh’s masterpiece—and Bubble & Scrape (1993).