Lou Barlow

Glasgoxz': Nice ’n’ Sleazy, Thu 7- Sat 9 Sep.

Fame is a curious beast; some embrace it, lapping up the freebies, the acclaim, the adoring public, like they were born to it. Others run for cover, ducking the searchlights that track them; for them, fame is a bind, a brutal consequence of their art. The promotional treadmill feels like a hamster run, the gig schedule like a tour of duty; the clamour that follows them wherever they go is a ceaseless barrage of white noise, a trial of strength. So Robbie Williams (say) is happy to advertise, to sponsor himself to death. Meanwhile, Lou Barlow seems to cower in a corner, avoiding at all costs the strenuous effort required from the truly committed self— promoter. But things aren't as simple as all that. Especially not for Lou Barlow.

In the beginning, things were simple enough. As part of American indie legends Dinosaur Jr., Barlow provided the pulsating basslines that accompanied J. Mascis’ frenetic, incendiary guitar playing. However, as Barlow's confidence grew, as his songwriting developed, Mascis gradually forced him out, and following a bitter couple of years which saw these musicians rip each other to shreds, Barlow left Dinosaur Jr. to form Sebadoh. What followed were nine albums of Barlow presenting his soul for inspection; in amongst the scratchy harmonies and ramshackle melodies of the likes of ’Brand New Love’ and ’Gimme Indie Rock’, Barlow laid bare his fears as well as his hopes, scraping back the layers of personality to reveal a dissolute, heart-broken man.

Meanwhile, he was also devoting time to the Folk Implosion. Originally a side-project of Barlow's, in conjunction with John Davis, the Folk Implosion erupted after their single, 'Natural One’. was featured in Larry Clark's amoral-skater-kids film parable, kids. As Sebadoh became more and more disjointed (and as Barlow


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Lou Barlow bares his soul in Sleazys

suffered nervous collapses onstage, beating himself over the head with his guitar), the Folk Implosion gradually shifted into focus.

The release, late last year, of the third Folk Implosion album, One Part Lullaby an album that proved to be more successful than anything Sebadoh released saw Barlow transcend even his own visceral, semi- autobiographical brilliance. In the adrenalin fuelled and regret-tinged 'Free To Go’ is all the loss, the longing, of teenage love; and the bitter melancholy of ‘Mechanical Man’, enveloped the album’s caustic narrative in a wondrous, elegaic melody.

Live, Barlow's stripped-to-the-bone approach is likely to take no prisoners; in his frail, acoustic sets, the wonder and beauty of Nick Drake’s pensive balladry nestles alongside abrasive, confrontational narratives that owe as much to Patti Smith and Hijsker Du as they do to Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. Expect fireworks, then, and be ready for a broken heart.

(Leon McDermott)

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preview MUSIC

Surface noise

All the sniping, griping and hyping in the wonderful world of music

IN WHAT IS either another act of huge perversity or a cunning futuristic marketing ploy, both Radiohead and U2 have announced they will be making their new albums available over the internet before their official release dates. U2’s new single 'Beautiful Day' was made available on their website at the end of August and the band plan to release one track a week on the site until the release date of All That You Can’t Leave Behind on Mon 9 Oct.

Going even further, Radiohead's KidA will be premiered on Radio 1 on Mon 18 Sep by Steve Lamaq before being made available online in its entirety on their website They have also declared there will be no singles or videos for the album and it will be released on Mon 2 Oct.

ON THE SUBJECT of uex‘. athum releases, look oat ?'or the uex‘. platter by PJ Harvey e'itrtled Stones from The City; Stories From Tue Sea unhrc h is d..e out on Mon 23 Oct

EDINBURGH’S PREMIER SKA exponents, Bombskare, are giving folks something to do with their Sunday afternoons with the launch of a new free club starting on Sun 24 Sep and running from 4—9pm. Bombskare are resident band with DJ Miggy manning the decks and live support from Bakers Dozen. See next issue for further details.

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Duran Duran (pictured below) SECC, 10 Dec, The Black Crowes & Jimmy Page SECfc , 25 Now, Johnathan Richman K:".g Tut's, 7Nox, The Delgados (iarage, 1‘1 Oct, Placebo Barron'.laud, l5 Oct, C out Exchange, i7 Oc t, Badly Drawn Boy QMU, l5 Oct, Roni Size/ Reprazent and MJ Cole QMU, 12 Oct

f 2" 80:: 2333 THE “ST 57