Sebadoh - Defend Yourself 12 inch
Defend Yourself is less a comeback to the way things were for Sebadoh than a reinvention, a rebirth. If Sebadoh’s revival has a precedent, it would actually be Barlow’s other gig Dinosaur Jr., in that both bands have come up with new material that’s shockingly vital, recalling what made ‘em great in the first place without retracing earlier steps or going through the motions. Sebadoh’s new familiar way, to riff off Barlow’s own words, is reflected in the approach the group took to making the album, tapping its DIY roots and self-producing Defend Yourself on a shoestring budget, yet somehow coming up with as full and rich a sound as it ever has. Barlow tracks like “I Will” and punk-pop romper “Love You Here” have muscular melodies that probably would’ve broken Sebadoh into the mainstream as they should’ve when they were post-grunge next big things. The fruits of this new approach are even more evident on Loewenstein’s offerings, like on the buzzy “Beat” and the twang punk of “Can’t Depend”, which still bound and radiate with his eccentric energy, just with a more pronounced sense of structure than his tracks possessed before. And to top it all off, the Barlow-led numbers and the Loewenstein-penned ones have never sounded more complementary—notice, especially, how Loewenstein’s “Inquiries” and Barlow’s “State of Mine” go back-to-back and hand-in-hand with each other by playing to each songwriter’s strengths, the former an off-kilter experimental punk rave-up and the latter a straight-up indie charmer.