Having ordered the reissue of III off Domino records I thought I should really review it rather than just write about Sebadoh as a band - but unfortunately I have yet to really get into it and don't want to write it off until I've given it a proper go - Sebadoh are good a band, wholesome if you will. They are three fellas, bass, drums and guitar. Pretty standard but what makes them so endearing is their homemade attitidue. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Sebadoh are one of the first Lo Fi bands of the 90's and they pull it off to great effect, after them came Beck, Pavement and Guided by Voices. Their songs sound better for it too - they record a lot of their songs in home studios and I've heard many a version of some of their more popular songs. Personally I prefer the scratchier recordings of songs such as The Freed Pig (which is the opening track of the III album) and God Told Me but their cleaner versions are also good. Sebadoh's songs a generally either quite heavy and grungey or acoustic based with home appliances and general clutter used as percussion. These two forms were (most of the time) written by Eric Gaffney and Lou Barlow respectively.
I got into the band after seeing Kids and was blown away by the track played during the credits. I didn't know for years that it was Spoiled by Sebadoh. It's still my favourite track of theirs - as usual it's very lo fi, and the amount of reverb on it is ridiculous. That with Barlow's voice and the swooshing mellotron sounds make it incredible haunting. The lyrics are spot on as well , about growing up and childhood. Other favourites of mine are Total Peace and Perverted World both off the III album., which are both acoustic tracks and stick to the home appliances route of percussion.
Of their heavier songs I think their album Bakesale has the best of the bunch, Licence to Confuse has an awesome opening riff as does Careful. Both songs follow pretty much the exact same fomula but it's the Sebadoh sound that helps keep their songs interesting and different. This is partly down to the lo fi recording but they really know how to use their bass and guitar sounds. Whether twangy, squeaky or really bassy, songs like Careful, Licence to confuse and also Magnets Coil and Not a friend remain individual. I think this is probably down to the band constantly swapping instruments and sharing vocals. Gaffney and drummer Jason Lowenstein would regularly share drumming and Barlow would often play bass.
Unfortunately I couldn't find any songs to download so to start off with check out their two myspace pages:
http://www.ironlab.org/projects/findmusic.php - this is hack search so you can find any mp3s you want on the internet - wack whatever band you want into the search and it will find (I don't know if it finds all of them) songs that people are hosting on their sites. It's pretty sweet.
Other than that here is my top ten Sebadoh tracks which might be a good way to get into them:
2. Total Peace
3. Perverted World
4. Licence to Confuse
5. Not a Friend
7. Got it
8. Magnets coil
9. Truly great thing
10. No different