Thursday, April 17, 2014

Basement Tapes

"Lo-fi," a.k.a. "low fidelity," pays homage to the fuzzy garage-band sound of the 1950s, and is alive and well in certain music circles these days. Groups like Pavement and Guided by Voices can thank Sebadoh, an indie rock band and step-child of Dinosaur Jr., for laying the groundwork for the recent offshoot. A classic example of Sebadoh's early delivery is the band's 1987 album, "Weed Forestin'," which takes the lo-fi concept one step further by making it sound as if the performer is still composing the song. Singer/guitarist Low Barlow recorded much of the album on a 4-track in his parent's basement. But despite the bare-essentials  quality, Forestin' has a beautiful, mesmerizing resonance. Contrary to what you might deduce, Barlow said of the title, "Weed Forestin' meant making the most out of what I had, foresting weeds instead of trees." Here's the hypnotic "Mr. Genius Eyes," which also appeared on the compilation "The Freed Weed."

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