Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Sebadoh rebounded from recreancy and cooked up some earnest mystery with the romantic obsession of this angst imbued indie rock confection.   The band had evolved from the ramshackle lo-fi purity of 'Sebadoh III' on independent Homestead Records to the more professional sound of 'Bubble and Scrape' on Sub Pop; but not all of the members were happy with the direction that they were heading.  Founding member Eric Gaffney left the band (after quitting and rejoining several times) early in the recording process and was replaced by his frequent stand in Bob Fay.    'Bakesale' features Lou Barlow on vocals and guitar;  Jason Loewenstein on vocals and bass;   and Bob Fay on drums;   with Anne Slinn adding vocals and organ;  and Eric Gaffney and Tara O'Neil playing drums on some of the tracks.  

Loewenstein remembers:    "At that point in the band, there was a lot of momentum, really. We were touring a lot, and we had some songs that we were already playing [live]. A lot of my songs hadn’t been played live yet. I was itching to hear what they actually sounded like. [Laughs] If there was any sense of urgency, that was probably it...A lot of my tunes on that album were recorded in Boston with Tim O’Heir at the helm, at Fort Apache Studios. Most of my stuff on that record was recorded with a woman I was romantically involved with, named Tara Jane O’Neil, who was the bass player for Rodan at the time and has gone on to have a solo career. She’s also known as a visual artist. She was a sort of fledgling drummer, if you’ll excuse the term, at the time. We played a lot together at the time. I thought it would speed up the process by having her play drums on it. She plays drums on most of my stuff on that record, frankly. “Dramamine” and “Careful” stand out as stuff that Bob got to play on...[Sub Pop] were really quite a supportive label; they never were very hands-on with stuff. The band’s legacy had been making our records in a bubble. You know, Homestead didn’t give a flying rat’s behind about the production of an album, or even hearing mixes along the way, or making suggestions about marketing, or things like that. Even if Sub Pop wanted to be like that, we’d probably have been a little bit dismissive of it, frankly. But they weren’t. They gave us a kind of freedom."

Barlow considers:   "We were having a great time. I had a bunch of songs I was really happy with. If I have songs and I think they’re good, I’m definitely confident. But it wasn’t cocky, exactly. We were totally this ramshackle band, rhythmically. Our drummer Bob was a friend, but he could keep it going. He likes to play. And he always had pot. So he was our drummer [laughs]...We were, for lack of a better word, a band of young hipsters.    I didn’t think we were going to Break Through with a capital B. We weren’t going to make a produced pop record — even if we did make a record that was relatively polished on our terms, not the kind of compressed, brash-sounding records people were making then. I wasn’t thinking anything unrealistic. It wasn’t, like, Nirvana. Following their footsteps was never an issue. We weren’t a happy rock band, you know? [Laughs] ... I think I kind of compartmentalized everything. You know, my collaboration with John Davis as the Folk Implosion was also just taking off in that period. [We] got together and indulged our new wave fetishes and our dance-music thing; almost this kind of anti-indie-rock thing. In between the [Bakesale] sessions, I was taking my four-track and transferring the first two Folk Implosion records. And during the Bakesale sessions, John Davis and I began working on the Kids soundtrack. I was also doing solo records as Sentridoh. The four-track, lo-fi, experimental folk became my solo stuff. When I wrote what I felt were solid, electric-six-string, standard-tuned songs with verses and choruses, I said, “Hey, that’s really good for Sebadoh.”... I spent more time on the road with Sebadoh, so maybe it looks like less with John because I wasn’t really spending time on the road with it. But as far as crafting the records, I spent equal time on all of it. Sebadoh didn’t really record until we got together. At that point, Jason lived in Louisville, Kentucky. I was in Boston. We were also dealing with Eric Gaffney’s slow exit from the band...When Eric was in the band, he was a very intense individual, very thoughtful, but there’d also be a lot of second-guessing of things, a lot of angst, you know? I’m supposed to be this very angst-filled individual, but I’d spent a good portion of my young adulthood on the road with Dinosaur Jr. It was really unpleasant. When I started Sebadoh, which evolved out of my friendship with Eric Gaffney, I decided when I went on tour I was going to have a good time. The band was ready to function more or less democratically and everyone was going to get paid — all that stuff. So when Eric was having trouble with the band and kind of bowed out, it was like, “OK, great. There’s no one around to complain about everything anymore.” ... The first sessions were done in Chicago, at Steve Albini’s house, with Bob Weston. We didn’t work with Steve Albini. [We recorded] four songs with Eric Gaffney — his last session with the band. We got home from that tour, Eric quit the band, and Bob Fay joined, or reconvened with us, almost immediately. We recorded at Fort Apache [in Boston], which was a pretty established studio... It’s a studio that I can look back on — I mean, I recorded a couple of songs twice, “Rebound” and “Skull.” There was a second version of “Skull” where I expanded the middle part, but that didn’t really fly. It didn’t end up being a problem; it was just, “Hey, let’s run through that again.” The songs are really short, and so simple, we just kind of blew through it."

'Bakesale' hit number forty on the UK album chart.  
The album cover is a photograph of a one-year-old Lou Barlow, taken by his mom.



'Not Too Amused'


'Magnet's Coil'

'Drama Mine'

'Mystery Man'

'Together or Alone'

full album:!/album/Bakesale/139215

"License to Confuse" (Barlow) - 1:45
"Careful" (Loewenstein) - 2:44
"Magnet's Coil" (Barlow) - 2:27
"Not a Friend" (Barlow) - 3:40
"Not Too Amused" (Loewenstein) - 4:15
"Dreams" (Barlow) - 2:39
"Skull" (Barlow) - 2:24
"Got It" (Loewenstein) - 2:16
"S. Soup" (Loewenstein) - 3:16
"Give Up" (Barlow) - 2:27
"Rebound" (Barlow) - 2:12
"Mystery Man" (Barlow) - 3:08
"Temptation Tide" (Fay) - 1:53
"Drama Mine" (Loewenstein) - 2:42
"Together or Alone" (Barlow) - 4:03

No comments:

Post a Comment