Editors' pick

Lou Barlow


Editorial Review

Album review: "Sentridoh III"

"Sentridoh III," an eight-song digital EP that toggles between psychedelic, thrashy and reflective rock, is little more than a footnote in the massive catalogue that indie icon Lou Barlow has amassed in his 25-year career. But it makes sense that he would want to document this specific moment. As he has shuffled from proto-grunge sideman to lo-fi pioneer to in(consolable sad sack, Barlow is in the midst of a fruitful run.

The 44-year-old has spent much of the past five years playing bass for Dinosaur Jr., his reunited '80s band that has reestablished itself as one of today's most vital acts on the strength of two shockingly good new albums and a ferocious live show. Barlow has also stayed active on his own, and "Sentridoh III" catches him as trio leader, a songwriter who remains sharp and offers refreshing updates to past work.

The track "Apologize" - besides summing up Barlow's main lyrical theme in a single word - features swirling guitars that, along with slow-burning tearjerker "Praise," adds trippiness to Barlow's oeuvre. "Faith Defies the Night" serves up Dinosaur Jr.-worthy sludge, and "Losercore" takes Barlow's ragged, acoustic 1992 single and reinvents it as a punk stomper. Compared with some of the classics that Barlow has appeared on, it's impossible to label "Sentridoh III" as essential, but it is a reminder that he remains a relevant figure in the genre he helped define.

--David Malitz, Aug. 2010