Sebadoh – Soul And Fire

Lou Barlow, Sebadoh main man. Lou Barlow, ex Dinosaur Jr bassist. Lou Barlow, indie god. Lou Barlow, one of the best songwriters of the last twenty years, is coming to London next week (In fact a lot of people I want to see are coming to London next week, untimelyly coinciding with me having absolutely no money to go and see them). He is in the middle of a UK and Europe tour – dates can be found here – on the back of last year’s solo album, Goodnight Unknown.

Although I could probably have found a song from that or his other solo album, Emoh, to accompany the tour news, to be honest, Soul and Fire is one of my favourite nineties songs (or maybe I mean one of my favourite nineties US indie songs, which is perhaps to damn it with faint praise), so despite the slightly tangential nature of link, its here – I never said this blog was going to be relevant did I?

I’m sure anyone reading this probably knows who Sebadoh are/were – part of the holy trinity of early nineties US indie bands along with Guided By Voices and Pavement, the three of them all but invented the indie scene as we know it today – at least in the States, where as far as I can tell indie still means independent. Unlike in the UK where it means the fucking Pigeon Detectives and The Wombats. They released a string of incredible albums, broke up, reformed, made up, toured… and started releasing music again a couple of years ago. It wasn’t the same, but it was nearly as good – and that’s saying something.

Soul and Fire was written on the break up of Barlow’s relationship with his girlfriend, and appeared on 1993′s Bubble and Scrape album – one of the band’s most critically acclaimed releases, which was performed live at Koko last year during one of the Sebadoh reunion tour concerts. Famously, the song brought the couple back together when the ex heard it – I wonder if they’re still together? Even Google doesn’t appear able to tell me. In any case, it’s one of the best breakup songs ever… actually that’s a list I should put together!

The image above was taken in Spain recently, with a half second exposure to make the flames appear to flow around the wood, and a blue filter to pull out the white heat of the flame and stop the highlights clipping. The song, clearly, isn’t about fire so much as the heat of romance, and the pain when it melts away, so perhaps I should have used a photo of the ashes after the fire, instead of the blaze of heat at its heart…

Lou’s website is phenomenally cool – and if you don’t know too much about him, I’d urge a visit.  You can buy the reissue of  Bubble and Scrape on Amazon here and download it from Sebadoh - Bubble and Scrape (Bonus Version) – it has a load of bonus tracks including an acoustic version of Soul and Fire.

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