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Lou Barlow

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Lou Barlow
Barlow performing in 2018
Barlow performing in 2018
Background information
Birth nameLouis Knox Barlow
Born (1966-07-17) July 17, 1966 (age 58)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • percussion
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • ukulele
Years active1982–present
Member of
Formerly ofDeep Wound

Louis Knox Barlow (born July 17, 1966) is an American alternative rock musician and songwriter. A founding member of the groups Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion, Barlow is credited[1] with helping to pioneer the lo-fi style of rock music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His first band, which was formed in Amherst, Massachusetts, was Deep Wound.

Barlow has released four solo albums.

Early life[edit]

Barlow was born in Dayton, Ohio, and raised in Jackson, Michigan, and Westfield, Massachusetts.[citation needed]

Dinosaur Jr.[edit]

Barlow attended high school in Westfield, Massachusetts, where he met Scott Helland. The two formed the Massachusetts-based hardcore punk band Deep Wound. J Mascis joined the band after answering their ad for a "drummer wanted to play really fast".[2] After becoming disillusioned with the constraints of hardcore, Deep Wound broke up in 1984. Mascis and Barlow reunited that year to form Dinosaur, later Dinosaur Jr. Mascis and Barlow had personality conflicts throughout Dinosaur Jr.'s early existence, and after the 1988 release of their third album, Bug, and the initial supporting tour, Barlow was kicked out of the band.[3]

In 2005, Barlow rejoined the band alongside the original drummer, Murph. Since then, the band has reissued its first three records, toured extensively worldwide and released five new records, Beyond, Farm, I Bet on Sky, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, and Sweep It Into Space .[4]

Sebadoh, Sentridoh and the Folk Implosion[edit]

After his dismissal from Dinosaur Jr., Barlow turned his attention to his band Sebadoh, which he had formed earlier with multi-instrumentalist Eric Gaffney. The project featured low fidelity recording techniques and combined Barlow's introspective, confessional songwriting with Gaffney's discordant noise collages.[4] Bassist and songwriter Jason Loewenstein was added to the line-up in 1989. Sebadoh's early releases include The Freed Man (1989) and Weed Forestin' (1990), the latter of which was originally self-released under the name Sentridoh in 1987. Both albums were officially released by Homestead Records, as was the band's third album, Sebadoh III (1991), which helped establish the "lo-fi" subgenre and became a defining album of 90s indie rock.[5] The band released several studio-recorded albums on Sub Pop Records throughout the 1990s.

As Sebadoh grew in popularity and critical acclaim, Barlow continued work on the Sentridoh side project, which featured mostly home-recorded material similar to his output on the first three Sebadoh albums, but often recorded solo and with a less consistent sound quality. Sentridoh released a trio of cassette-only albums on Shrimper Records in the early 1990s, with the highlights later being collected on CD and vinyl compilations like Winning Losers: A Collection of Home Recordings 89–93 (1994) and Another Collection of Home Recordings (1994). In 1993, Sentridoh released a popular single for the song "Losercore," on the label Smells Like Records founded by Steve Shelley of the American rock band, Sonic Youth. Barlow has called it "the most finely executed of all my releases" thanks to Shelley, who "made sure this looked and sounded great."[6] Numerous other Sentridoh releases on a variety of record labels followed, including releases on his own Loobiecore label.

In 1994, Barlow formed the Folk Implosion with singer-songwriter John Davis. The band released several singles and EPs, and in 1995 reached the Top 40 with the song "Natural One", from the soundtrack to the film Kids by Larry Clark. It remains Barlow's biggest commercial hit.

After the release of Sebadoh's eighth album, The Sebadoh, in 1999, the band went on hiatus and its members went on to pursue other projects. Barlow continued to work with the Folk Implosion, releasing One Part Lullaby in 1999. Barlow took a break from the Folk Implosion in 2000 to collaborate on the album Subsonic 6 with Belgian musician, Rudy Trouvé. In 2003, Barlow released The New Folk Implosion featuring Imaad Wasif on guitar and Sebadoh drummer Russ Pollard on drums. The same year, he appeared as a musician in the film Laurel Canyon. In the spring of 2004, Barlow briefly reunited with Loewenstein for the "Turbo Acoustic" Sebadoh tour. During this tour, he also reunited with J Mascis for a performance of the song "Video Prick" with former Deep Wound vocalist Charlie Nakajima. This performance led to a full-fledged Dinosaur Jr. reunion in 2005, with original members Barlow, Mascis and Murph performing "The Lung" on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on April 15, 2005, and a show at Spaceland in Los Angeles the following night. The band then played well-received tours of the U.S. and Europe throughout the rest of the year, and in 2006 headed to Japan, Australia and New Zealand. In 2007, Barlow reunited with Loewenstein and Gaffney to perform the first Sebadoh shows with the "classic" lineup in 14 years. In June 2013, Sebadoh released their first new music in 14 years; the music was released as an EP precursor to their new album, "Defend Yourself," which was released in September 2013. Both of the new EP and LP albums were released through Joyful Noise Recordings.[7]

Other collaborations[edit]

  • Released the instrumental split album Subsonic 6 (2000) with Belgian musician, Rudy Trouvé
  • Sings on the track "Some" by Sharon Stoned, on the album License to Confuse (1995)
  • Sings on the tracks "My Brother Moves" and "Everything You Know Is Wrong" by Production Club, from the album Follow Your Bliss (2003)
  • Sings on the track "In the City in the Rain" by the 6ths on Wasps' Nests 6 6/6"
  • Plays bass on the track "Strange Song" by Supreme Dicks, on the album The Unexamined Life (1993)

Solo work[edit]

Barlow released the first album under his own name, Emoh, in January 2005 on Merge Records. It featured long-time collaborators such as Sebadoh members Jason Loewenstein and Russ Pollard and Lou's sister Abby Barlow, and featured a higher production value than many of his previous solo releases. Jason Crock of Pitchfork called it "the most consistently strong record he's released since The Folk Implosion's One Part Lullaby" and wrote that "even if much of it was recorded at home, Emoh's 14 unassuming folk songs sound like they were created in a professional setting."[8] In November 2005, Barlow toured the Iberian Peninsula to promote the album.

Barlow released his second solo album, Goodnight Unknown, in October 2009 on Merge. It was produced by Andrew Murdock and featured numerous guest musicians, including Imaad Wasif on guitar and Dale Crover of the Melvins and Murph on drums. Barlow toured the album in the U.S. in the fall of 2009, opening for Dinosaur Jr. and backed by The Missingmen of Mike Watt + the Missingmen.

Barlow's third solo album, Brace the Wave, was released on September 4, 2015, on Joyful Noise Recordings. It was recorded in six days with Justin Pizzoferrato, who also worked as a sound engineer for Dinosaur Jr. at Sonelab Studios in Massachusetts. The tracks from Brace the Wave feature Barlow's ukulele playing. Barlow also took 100 original Polaroid selfies to accompany the VIP vinyl edition of the album.[9][10]

On October 28, 2016, Barlow released a 5 track EP entitled Apocalypse Fetish on Joyful Noise Recordings

In April 2021, it was announced that a solo album entitled Reason to Live would be released on May 28 via Joyful Noise.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Barlow's first marriage was to Kathleen Billus, with whom he has two children, Hendrix and Hannelore.[4]

In May 2015, he married knitwear designer Adelle Louise Burda, with whom he has a daughter, Izetta.[12]



Year Title Name Label
1990/1991 Losers (re-released in 1995 as "The Original Losing Losers" with altered track listing) Sentridoh Shrimper
1992 Most of the Worst and Some of the Best of Sentridoh Sentridoh Shrimper
1993 Wasted Pieces (re-issued in 2003 as "Lou B's Wasted Pieces '87 - '93") Lou B's Acoustic Sentridoh Shrimper
1994 Winning Losers: A Collection of Home Recordings 89-93 (re-issued in 2006) Louis Barlow Acoustic Sentridoh Smells Like Records
1994 Another Collection of Home Recordings Lou Barlow and Friends Mint
2000 Subsonic 6 (split album with Rudy Trouvé) Lou Barlow Sub Rosa
2002 Free Sentridoh: Songs from Loobiecore Sentridoh Loobiecore
2005 Emoh Lou Barlow Merge
2009 Goodnight Unknown Lou Barlow Merge
2009 Songs from Loobiecore 2.5 - Tour Edition Lou Barlow as Sentridoh Loobiecore
2015 Brace the Wave Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2021 Reason to Live Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings


Year Title Tracks Name Label
1992 Losercore (later included on 2006 Winning Losers reissue)
  1. "Losercore"
  2. "Really Insane"
Sentridoh Smells Like Records
2005 Holding Back the Year
  1. "Holding Back The Year"
  2. "Finger"
  3. "Terrorize"
  4. "Refused"
Lou Barlow Domino
2009 The Right
  1. "The Right"
  2. "Author"
Lou Barlow Domino
2011 Welcome Home
  1. "Welcome Home" – 2:56
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2014 State Of Mine (Uke Version)
  1. "State Of Mine (Uke Version)"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2015 Boundaries
  1. "Boundaries"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2015 ?
  1. "Wave"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2016 Apocalypse Fetish
  1. "Apocalypse Fetish"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2016 Anniversary Song
  1. "Anniversary Song"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2016 The Breeze
  1. "The Breeze"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2016 Try 2 B
  1. "Try 2 B"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2016 Pour/Reward
  1. "Pour/Reward"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2018 Love Intervene
  1. "Love Intervene" - 3:45
  2. "Don't Like Changes" - 3:44
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2019 Over You/How Do I Know
  1. "Over You"
  2. "How Do I Know"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings
2019 Cold One/Thirsty
  1. "Cold One"
  2. "Thirsty"
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise Recordings


Year Title Tracks Name Label
1993 The Mysterious Sentridoh e.p.
  1. "Good in Others"
  2. "The Spirit That Kills"
  3. "Weakness Is The Secret"
  4. "Cold Love"
  5. "No One Taught Me"
  6. "No Matter What"
Sentridoh Little Brother Records
1993 Sub Pop Singles Club – Dec 93
  1. "I Am Not Mocking You"
  2. "Survival"
  3. "Helpless Heartbreak"
  4. "Dirty Mind"
  5. "Forever Instant"
Lou Barlow Sub Pop
1993 Louis Barlow's Acoustic Sentridoh
  1. "Natural Nature"
  2. "Don't Need"
  3. "Endless Tease"
  4. "Paranoid Revolution"
Louis Barlow's Acoustic Sentridoh Lo-Fi Recordings
2007 Mirror the Eye
  1. "Yawning Blue Messiah" 3:02
  2. "Faith Defies The Night" 2:13
  3. "You're A Goa"t 2:49
  4. "My Surrender" 2:59
  5. "Mirror The Eye" 1:37
Lou Barlow as Sentridoh Acuarela
2010 Sentridoh III
  1. "Apologize"
  2. "Gravitate"
  3. "One Machine, One Long Fight"
  4. "On The Face"
  5. "Caterpillar Girl"
  6. "Faith Defies The Night"
  7. "Losercore"
  8. "Praise"
  9. "I'm So Glad"
lou barlow + missingmen Merge
2016 Apocalypse Fetish
  1. The Breeze
  2. Apocalypse Fetish
  3. Anniversary Song
  4. Pour/Reward
  5. try 2 b
Lou Barlow Joyful Noise


Year Title Name Label
1996 Lou Barlow Plays Waterfront Lou Barlow Spun
2011 Live at Missing Link Records Lou Barlow Missing Link


Year Title Name Label
1994 A Collection of Previously Released Songs Lou Barlow and his Sentridoh City Slang

Featured in compilations[edit]

Year Track(s) Title Label
1991 "Commercial Losers: Sensive Dull Thump, King of the Dry Hump I" Capgun – A Shrimper Compilation Shrimper
1991 "Me and My Arrow" Ghost of a Rollercoaster Shrimper
1991 "Revolution #37'" Back to the Egg, Asshole Shrimper
1992 "Certain Dance Circumstance" Pawnshop Reverb Shrimper
1993 "Same Old, Say Mould" Caution! Hot Tips! Dedicated / Melody Maker
1993 "Certain Dance – Circumstance / Revolution #37" Abridged Perversion Shrimper
1994 "I Stopped Singing" Ow, Quit It! Vol.2 Volvolo
1994 "Morning Rain '92" Cool Beans #3 Split; split 7-inch with Matt, Dis- and sold with Cool Beans zine #3 Cool Beans
1994 "Black Sheep" Our Band Could Be Your Life; a Minutemen tribute album Little Brother Records
1995 "Sorry" Escargot (EP); sold with Escargot zine Sick & Tired / Dark Beloved Cloud
1995 "Loving Limbs"/ "No Telling" Chemical Imbalance Vol.3, #1; included with Chemical Imbalance zine Chemical Imbalance
1996 "Skull" Pipeline! Live Boston Rock on WMBR Kimchee / Slow River
1996 "Blown Pony" More of Our Stupid Noise Squirtgun Records
1997 "Riding" Flygirl (EP) #7; sold with Flygirl zine #7 Flygirl / Blue Bunny
1998 "Blown Pony" More of Our Stupid Noise '98 Squirtgun Records/ Nettwerk
2001 "Morning's After Me" Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel Off
2003 "None of Your Goddam Bizness" In the Film They Made Us a Little More Articulate Escape Goat
2005 "A Man in Love" Comes with a Smile Vol.13; came with the Comes with a Smile zine #17 Comes with a Smile
2006 "Forever Instant" Rough Trade Shops – Singer Songwriter 1 Mute Records Ltd.
2009 "The Ballad of Daykitty"/ "I'm So Glad" Score! 20 Years of Merge Records – Volume 6 Merge
2009 "Sit Back and Watch" Local Currency Digital EP Fayettenam
2009 "Song of the Tall Poppy" Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox A Major
2010 "Smooth Sounds for Your Fucking Face" Smooth Sounds: The Future Hits of WCKR SPGT Shrimper
2010 "Imagination Blind" (live) It Happened Here St. Ives Records
2011 "Game of Pricks" Sing for Your Meat; a Guided by Voices tribute album No More Fake Labels

with Dinosaur Jr[edit]


(2012) Just Gimme Lou Barlow (A Paperheart Tribute to)[13]


  1. ^ Sprague, David. "Sebadoh". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
  2. ^ Azerrad, Michael: "Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981–1991.", page 348. Little, Brown and Company., 2001
  3. ^ Allmusic.com
  4. ^ a b c Bevan, David (October 4, 2012). "Dinosaur Jr.: Rediscovering the Gnarl". spin.com. Spin Media.
  5. ^ "III - Sebadoh | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "smells like..." loobiecore.com. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "SEBADOH SIGNS TO JOYFUL NOISE // 10" EP OUT NOW, LP OUT SEPT 17". Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Lou Barlow: Emoh Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Lou Barlow "Brace the Wave"". Joyful Noise. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Minsker, Evan (July 22, 2015). "Lou Barlow Announces New Album Brace the Wave". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Pearis, Bill (April 7, 2021). "Lou Barlow announces new solo album, shares "Over You"". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  12. ^ "Instagram photo by Lou Barlow • May 12, 2015 at 12:17am UTC". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]