Barlow performing with Dinosaur Jr. in 2005
|Birth name||Louis Knox Barlow|
July 17, 1966 |
Dayton, Ohio United States
|Genres||Alternative rock, indie rock, lo-fi, hardcore punk|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, drums, ukulele|
|Labels||Joyful Noise Recordings, Shrimper, Smells Like, Mint, Sub Pop, Lo-Fi, Little Brother, Dark Beloved Cloud, City Slang, Merge, Acuarela, Domino|
|Associated acts||Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Sentridoh, Deep Wound, The Folk Implosion|
Louis Knox "Lou" 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 with helping to pioneer the lo-fi style of rock music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His first band, in Amherst, Massachusetts, was Deep Wound. Barlow was born in Dayton, Ohio and was raised in Jackson, Michigan and Westfield, Massachusetts.
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". After becoming disillusioned with the constraints of hardcore, Deep Wound broke up in 1984. Mascis and Barlow reunited to form Dinosaur (later Dinosaur Jr.) later that year. Throughout its early existence, however, Mascis and Barlow had frequent personality conflicts and after the release of their third album Bug in 1988 and the initial supporting tour, Barlow was kicked out of the band.
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 four new records, Beyond, Farm, I Bet on Sky, and Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not.
Sebadoh, Sentridoh and Folk Implosion
After his dismissal from Dinosaur Jr., Barlow turned his attention to his band Sebadoh, which he had formed several years earlier with multi-instrumentalist Eric Gaffney. The project featured lo-fidelity recording techniques and combined Barlow's introspective, confessional songwriting with Gaffney's discordant noise collages. Bassist and songwriter Jason Loewenstein was later added to the line-up. 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. 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." 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. The soundtrack itself was curated by Barlow, and also included previously released songs by Sebadoh, Folk Implosion, Slint and Daniel Johnston.
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.
- 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)
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." 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 Mike Watt's band, 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.
On 28 October 2016 Barlow released a 5 track EP entitled "Apocalypse Fetish" on Joyful Noise Recordings
Barlow was previously married to Kathleen Billus, with whom he has two children, Hendrix and Hannelore.
In May 2015, he married knitwear designer Adelle Louise Burda, with whom he has a daughter, Izetta.
Radio and podcast appearances
Barlow appeared on WTF with Marc Maron on episode 448 released December 2, 2013.
Barlow appeared on comedian Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor Podcast on September 18, 2015.
He has also appeared on episode 71 of the Duncan Trussell Family Hour Podcast on June 24, 2013.
|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||Sentridoh||Shrimper|
|1993||Lou B's Wasted Pieces '87 - '93 (re-issued in 2003)||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|
|2001||Free Sentridoh: Songs from Loobiecore||Sentridoh||Loobiecore|
|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|
|1992||Losercore (later included on 2006 Winning Losers reissue)||
||Sentridoh||Smells Like Records|
|2005||Holding Back the Year||
||Lou Barlow||Joyful Noise Recordings|
|1993||The Mysterious Sentridoh e.p.||
||Sentridoh||Little Brother Records|
|1993||Sub Pop Singles Club – Dec 93||
||Lou Barlow||Sub Pop|
|1993||Louis Barlow's Acoustic Sentridoh||
||Louis Barlow's Acoustic Sentridoh||Lo-Fi Recordings|
|2007||Mirror the Eye||
||Lou Barlow as Sentridoh||Acuarela|
||lou barlow + missingmen||Merge|
||Lou Barlow||Joyful Noise|
|1996||Lou Barlow Plays Waterfront||Lou Barlow||Spun|
|2011||Live at Missing Link Records||Lou Barlow||Missing Link|
|1994||A Collection of Previously Released Songs||Lou Barlow and his Sentridoh||City Slang|
Featured in compilations
|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 Mold"||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
- Dinosaur (1985)
- You're Living All Over Me (1987)
- Bug (1988)
- Beyond (2007)
- Farm (2009)
- I Bet on Sky (2012)
- Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016)
(2012) Just Gimme Lou Barlow (A Paperheart Tribute to) (PaperheartMusic)
- Sprague, David. "Sebadoh". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- "Lou Barlow "Brace the Wave"". Joyful Noise. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Minsker, Evan (July 22, 2015). "Lou Barlow Announces New Album Brace the Wave". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Azerrad, Michael: "Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981–1991.", page 348. Little, Brown and Company., 2001
- Bevan, David (October 4, 2012). "Dinosaur Jr.: Rediscovering the Gnarl". spin.com. Spin Media.
- "III - Sebadoh | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
- "smells like....". loobiecore.com. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
- "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.
- "Lou Barlow: Emoh Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
- "Instagram photo by Lou Barlow • May 12, 2015 at 12:17am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 2016-11-29.