Mope Music

June 11, 2013

Lou Barlow always worried me. He and legendary ’90s indie rockers Sebadoh put out an amazing, weird record nearly every year between 1989’s “The Freed Man” and 1996’s “Harmacy.” I came for the hardcore-esque psycho-screamo, but stayed for frontman Barlow’s bare, jarring lyrics about the dread of loss (“I’d live in fear of losing you/Or holding on and trapping you inside,” from 1993’s “Two Years Two Days”) or driving love away (“Vampire, draining her desire/Vampire, smother her with love,” from 1992’s “Vampire”). Here was a guy somehow sadder than Elliott Smith.

Now, (most of) Sebadoh have reunited and self-released an EP, “Secret,” with an album, “Defend Yourself,” to follow. Barlow, center, recently split with his wife of 25 years, and has said this material was recorded in a similar spirit of transition as their early work.

At a certain point, I wanted poor Lou to be freed from himself. Find a nice girl, get a therapist. Maybe those things happened, but life can still come undone whenever it feels like it.

Streams are up now, but I’m honestly afraid to listen to them. Some bands are a soundtrack to feelings you don’t want to return to.

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