Sebadoh Bubble and Scrape Again on 'I Will,' From First LP in 14 Years

Indie-rock antiheroes stay lovably scruffy on first track from new album 'Defend Yourself'

Sebadoh, Lou Barlow
Lou Barlow leads a reunited Sebadoh in 2008 Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Sebadoh began as a no-fi songwriting outlet for Lou Barlow outside his work behind J. Mascis in Dinosaur Jr., and that endearingly rough approach stayed true in recording Sebadoh's first new album since 1999. "With Sebadoh, we use whatever semi-broken-down [gear] I have lying around," Barlow told SPIN last year, contrasting the process with the (relatively!) plusher setup behind recent Dinosaur Jr. albums. Meanwhile, sneakily but surely, Barlow's skewed, self-lacerating take on sensitive-guy strummers have mestastisized throughout the culture, to the point that Taylor Swift's last album featured a guy who once told me Barlow was his "ultimate hero."

After last year's surprise The Secret EP, Sebadoh will release new full-length Defend Yourself on September 17 via Joyful Noise. Stereogum points to first single "I Will," a delicately ragged fuzz-rocker that alternately tugs and jabs the heartstrings like Barlow's past classics for the band (who've also recorded more chaotic songs by the likes of current member Jason Loewenstein and founding member Eric Gaffney). "Things have changed," Barlow croons gently here, but then adds a few breaths later, "I'm still the same." He's not lying either time.

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