Friday, April 26, 2013

bubble and scrape

Sebadoh went into a studio for the first time to record the lo-fi patchwork quilt of their final album with the original trio.  After home recording their celebrated underground landmark 'Sebadoh III', the group toured with Firehose and signed to Sub Pop Records. The compilation 'Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock' was assembled from two EP's and the trio went into an actual studio.  'Bubble and Scrape' was recorded at Slaughterhouse Recording Studio in Westhampton, MA with Lou Barlow on guitar, bass, and vocals; Eric Gaffney on bass, guitar, drums, harp, keyboards, tape, and vocals; Jason Loewenstein on guitar, bass, drums, and vocals; with Seana Carmody on vocals; and engineering by Bob Weston, Brian Fellows, and Paul McNamara. 

Barlow reveals:  "I really liked 'Sebadoh III'. That was a really cool record. It was schitzo-tense and really represents the introduction of re-writing members of the band. And we did 'Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock' and 'Bubble and Scrape', and those records have such a good vibe to them. They were kind of self-produced and we did those before we recorded with other people and let other people determine how we sounded. We were actually at the boards with our friend Bob Weston mixing stuff and cranking EQ’s and doing all the crazy things that we could think of. Those records have a wild sound to me... It was really just about making music. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, going to a studio was a sure way to kill your music. Rock records in the 80’s and 90’s were horrendous sounding to me. I just did what I did to keep it interesting for myself and do things that I thought sounded good. Generally I wanted to keep it kind of crunchy and to my ears natural sounding. I mean we also literally recorded things on Walkmans to record records. But to me that wasn’t a radical statement or anything. I grew up in Massachusetts and there was a wealth of college radio and I was exposed to a bunch of independent spirited music early on, from the time I was 11 or 12. You go left of the dial, and even in Western Mass, I swear there were 10 different stations at any given time that were playing totally independent music like punk rock, hardcore, college rock… all that stuff was out there and I was hearing it. Rough Trade had a domestic thing back then too and they were just flooding stores with Young Marble Giants records. I heard all of that stuff. I just think that my music was a response to all of that." 

Gaffney considers:   "I think we recorded more of Lou’s songs. [Laughs.] He wrote more songs. Everybody knows that about Lou, that he writes a lot of songs. Whether you like the songs is another story, but it’s just something he does. Sebadoh was a band I started as a vehicle for my own songwriting, and then within a year we had all started to sing and play. It’s a pretty special group; we can switch instruments onstage, have two distinctly different lineups, all play guitar, all sing, but also have our roles. There is a real art to what we do, because it’s not as easy as it might appear."

Lowenstein recounts:   "A few years ago I went to Main Street Records (in Northampton, MA), saw the tape with the naked woman on it and bought it just for the 'breast value', I think. This is the original tape of 'The Freed Man'. After six months I met Eric. Kinda weaseled my way in to the situation until Lou was offically out of Dinosaur and Eric came up with the idea to put together a band. And I said I'll do anything - I can play a little bit of every instrument so whatever you need I'll do it ... It was like, bring what you want to rehearsal and we'll play it. For me it was kind of scary because Lou and Eric were way ahead of me in terms of songcraft and confidence, and they were older." 

'Bubble and Scrape' only charted at number sixty three in the UK.  It marked the end of the original threesome, as Gaffney left the group soon after it was completed:    "I didn’t really feel like touring, or even doing the next record. I kind of wanted to record solo. Toward the end I wasn’t all that happy with the music anymore—maybe I was kind of tired, a little jaded. I pretty much was also relegated to drumming at the end. When we were a support act, especially in ’92, for Pavement or Sonic Youth or The Wedding Present or whoever we were opening for, we’d play shorter sets—so I’d just play drums, because there’s just not enough time for everybody to do their thing."

"Soul and Fire" (Barlow) - 3:46

"2 Years 2 Days" (Barlow) - 3:07

"Happily Divided" (Loewenstein) - 2:20

"Sister" (Loewenstein) - 2:43

"Cliché" (Barlow) - 2:27

"Sacred Attention" (Barlow) - 2:47

"Elixir Is Zog" (Gaffney) - 2:06

"Emma Get Wild" (Gaffney) - 1:21

"Sixteen" (Loewenstein) - 1:29

"Homemade" (Barlow) - 5:02

"Forced Love" (Barlow) - 3:19

"Bouquet for a Siren" (Gaffney) - 2:56

"Flood" (Loewenstein) - 1:34

'Bubble and Scrape' 
full album:

00:00 Soul and Fire
3:46 Two Years Two Days
6:53 Telecosmic Alchemy
9:01 Fantastic Disaster
12:44 Happily Divided
15:07 Sister
17:50 Cliche
20:18 Sacred Attention
23:07 Elixir is Zog
25:13 Emma Get Wild 
26:35 Sixteen
28:07 Homemade
33:10 Forced Love
36:30 No Way Out 
38:48 Bouquet for a Siren 
41:45 Think (Let Tomorrow Bee) 

45:00 Flood

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