Who are Sebadoh? Well, Ill let them introduce themselves, courtesy of Showtape 91 the 11 minute spoken-word epic that closes side 2 of the re-issue of 'III', the aptly titled 3rd album, from this Massachusetts 3 piece.
Amongst other things, Sebadoh are:
- "Your new favourite dope-smoking renaissance threesome"
- "Your post modern folk-core saviours"
- "Featuring that guy who played bass in Soul Asylum, Lou Barlow"
- "3 more reasons to leave your boyfriend. Way to Go, Sebadoh!"
So there you have it; cynical, sarcastic, funny, confident and impossible to pigeonhole. Whilst III was their third album, it marked something of a starting point for the band. Previous albums The Freed Weed and Weed Foresting were self released cassettes that unashamedly wore (literally) their creative influence upon their sleeves. For III Lou Barlow and Eric Gaffney were joined by Jason Lowenstein, and whilst not compromising their taste for musical extremes, produced an album that heralded the introduction of 'lo-fi' in the midst of the Grunge Explosion.
Barlow, freshly liberated from a traumatic stint in Dinosaur Jr. (not Soul Asylum) used III as something of an exorcism, wasting no time in having a dig at J Mascis on track 1, The Freed Pig "You were right, I was battling you, trying to prove myself". From then on, the album takes the familiar shape and form of a typical Sebadoh album, ie. all over the place. Track 2 is a blistering cover of Minutemen's Sickle & Hammers, the heavily distorted bass (a signature sound) and blood curdling screams of Scars, Four Eyes is followed by the delicate Truly Great Thing "Make it easy and I'll hold it against you, Make it hard and I'll run away". Back to their herbal muse for Smoke a Bowl, a song which wouldnt be out of place on the Black Lodge Jukebox in Twin Peaks. How do you follow that? With the country hoe-down tinged Black Haired Gurl of course.
The album continues in this vein before closing with As The World Dies, The Eyes Of God Grow Bigger which captures the split personality of the band perfectly; acoustic singalong, followed by distorted screamalong, all ending with the cheery farewell "BLOOD ON THE WALLS, BLOOD ON THE WALLS." Hey, a trip with Sebadoh isn't ever easy, but you go to some interesting places along the way.
Disc 2 of this re-issue is immediately a winner, in that it includes the Gimme Indie Rock EP - the title track of which, is possibly the finest 3 and a half minutes this prolific band ever laid to tape. The rest of the extras all add to the whole; unreleased songs from the recording sessions, raw 4-track versions of old songs and the bizarre closer Showtape '91. At a hefty 41 tracks, the new 'III' might help solve that terminal puzzle: 'What to get the Sebadoh fan who has everything?'