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Unlikely Reunion

In traditional lo-fi style, the songwriting half of alt-noise/indie-folk pioneers Sebadoh are stopping by San Francisco on the last leg of their minimally hyped reunion tour. The rest of the band has been replaced by a couple of multi-effects pedals and a $35 Wal-Mart caliber boombox.

Dubbed the "Turbo Acoustic Tour", this latest Sebadoh outing finds long-time collaborators Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein onstage together after nearly 5 years - without an album to promote, and with no explicit plans to ever record one. In fact, Barlow is just finishing up his own anticipated solo outing "Loobiecore" and Loewenstein is involved in numerous side projects, including the operation of his recording studio "Negative Energy Company". Fans expecting to hear new material will be sorely disappointed - this is indeed a retrospective tour - a crowd-pleasing acoustic regression that finds Sebadoh stretching back to their very beginnings in the late 80's. A few words from Lou Barlow himself on the conception of the Turbo Acoustic Sound, as related to

"Jake Loewenstein and me with some simple non-electronic percussion we recorded on my trusty Tascam Porta-One cassette four-track. I play acoustic guitars and Jake plays electric bass. We strip the songs down but I'd like to think it still 'rocks'."

While the tunes will surely be familiar, for long-time fans, the Turbo Acoustic Tour will be a unique and inviting live presentation designed to showcase the songs of Sebadoh in a purely minimalist fashion. While often capturing a raw, low-fi, but controlled tone on tape, the band traditionally portrays a very different side in concert. More often than not they would veer into lengthy Sonic Youth-esque electric noise montages, intentionally contrasting Barlow's introspective acoustic tendencies. Of course, the current instrumentation and its pre-recorded drummer makes these sorts of tangents difficult. Expect a pared-down sound focusing on the bands more song-oriented works spanning their entire catalog, with some very to the point drumming. A quote from Jake Loewenstein off of his website on the Turbo Acoustic drum setup:

"It was a pretty unique setup for us... Lou recorded me playing the drums to the songs and we made a CD and played it back through a boombox. No amps were used, just "amp simulators" plugged directly into the PA system. Sounds kinda lame on paper but it sounded pretty goddamn good. Not to mention that loading in and out of the gigs was far easier when you don't have to carry amps and drums all over the place."

When it's all said and done, Sebadoh's reunion tour should be a treat. If nothing else, it will provide an opportunity to check out one of the most influential outfits in that fast-fading indie-rock genre playing "nuthin-but-the-classics". It should be a unique experience for dedicated fans, and an excellent introduction to the lo-fi royal family for those who have yet to make their acquaintance. Plus, like all Rock & Roll reunions, you never know if this tour is going to be the last.

imaad wasif (from alaska!) and The Heavenly States