Category: Artist Spotlight

Lou Barlow Announces New Album Brace the Wave

The last solo album Lou Barlow (of Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr.) released under his own name was 2009’s Goodnight Unknown. This year, he’s got another new one. Brace the Wave is out September 4 via Joyful Noise. Preview the album in the amazing, cat-featuring trailer below, and read Barlow’s statement about the album.
Barlow has also announced a series of tour dates—find those below the album details.
Brace the Wave:
01 Redeemed
02 Nerve
03 Moving
04 Pulse
05 Wave
06 Lazy
07 Boundaries
08 C & E
09 Repeat

Hi, my name is Lou Barlow. This is Brace the Wave. Here is my short bio.
One of my first song writing attempts occurred in 1983— it is called “Lou’s Anxiety Song”, released by my first band, Deep Wound. The original title was ‘Pressures’, but the singer decided to scream “Lou’s anxiety song!!” at the beginning ( his commentary on the overly earnest lyrics ). The title stuck.

Deep Wound evolved into Dinosaur Jr. While playing in that band I began recording short songs on a baritone ukulele that I modified with heavier strings and flexible tunings. I called myself Sentridoh. My first solo LP “Weed Forestin’’ was a cassette that I duplicated and gave away. I was too bashful to play any Sentridoh songs for my slightly older, much cooler bandmates. I eventually started a band of my own called Sebadoh. We gained some momentum in the 90s. And then in 1994, I started another band called Folk Implosion.

By the early 2000s, everything had crashed and burned. I was alone again with my 4-track and a basic knowledge of recording. I still had a ukulele and was most comfortable writing uncomfortable songs. I love the cozy self-delusion of the creative process. Finishing songs, making records and holding the finished piece in hand is incredibly satisfying. In 2005 I made my first official solo LP under my actual name instead of a made-up, nonsense word. Around that time, I sensibly began touring with Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh again which brings me to now… 2015.
Having moved back to Massachusetts (after 17 years in Los Angeles), I recorded ‘Brace The Wave’ in 6 days with Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab studios in Easthampton. Justin was the engineer for the 3 Dinosaur Jr ‘reunion’ LP’s. My ease with Justin meant I approached the sessions with focus and confidence. Songs like “Redeemed”, “Wave” and “Moving” reprise my early methods of tuning my ukulele down low and writing the songs during the recording process. Others like “Lazy” and “C+E” are traditional-style folk songs that I performed live in the studio.


Artist Spotlight #1: The Posies and Ken Stringfellow

The Posies

The Posies - by Christine Taylor 2010. L-R: Matt Harris, Ken Stringfellow, Jon Auer, Darius Minwalla
The Posies – by Christine Taylor 2010.
L-R: Matt Harris, Ken Stringfellow, Jon Auer, Darius Minwalla

The Posies began in 1987 out Bellingham, Washington by primary songwriters Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow.

The Core members of The Posies, being Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow started writing songs in 1986 and  Though the songs had been intended as demos to attract other members and form a full band, the recordings turned out so well that they became the Posies’ first self-released album, Failure. Interest in the Posies rose out of the numerous home-copied cassettes that began to spread around Seattle and Bellingham. Failure was released on vinyl near the end of 1988 on local indie label PopLlama with one song drop.

Several major labels noticed the band early on and in late 1989 they signed to new Geffen Records imprint DGC Records. They chose John Leckie to produce their first album for the label and Dear 23 was released in August 1990. “Golden Blunders” reached No. 17 on the US Modern Rock charts. Ringo Starr covered the song for his 1992 album Time Takes Time. A change in the radio climate with the rise of Grunge meant that the power pop of The Posies wasn’t as successful at a major label as it should have been.

After being on Geffen, the band went back to indie label and continued to tour and release albums, both as The Posies and as solo artists.

The lastest Posies album was released in 2010, Blood/Candy and there are plans to record a new album at the end of the year.

Ken Stringfellow

Ken Stringfellow
Ken Stringfellow

Ken Stringfellow is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. Best known for his work with The Posies, R.E.M., and the re-formed Big Star, Stringfellow’s discography includes more than 200 albums.

Aside from being in the Posies, Ken has also been involved with the following

Big Star
Stringfellow and Auer were recruited to join Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens for a Big Star reunion; Stringfellow and Auer performed and recorded with Big Star until Alex Chilton’s death in 2010.

In 1997 Stringfellow began a long association with R.E.M.. He performed with the band on world tours in 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2005, and appears on several R.E.M. records, including the Man on the Moon soundtrack, Reveal, and Around the Sun.[

Side projects
Although the Posies were Stringfellow’s main project during much of the 1980s and 1990s, he additionally performed and recorded with Sky Cries Mary, a band he founded with Auer in 1989, Lagwagon, Saltine, White Flag, and The Minus Five. Stringfellow also co-wrote and recorded several songs with Scott Miller’s band The Loud Family in the mid-1990s, appearing on their albums The Tape of Only Linda (1994) and Interbabe Concern (1996) as a guest guitarist and vocalist.

In 2003, Stringfellow and Auer released Private Sides, a six-song split EP on Arena Rock Recording Co./Rykodisc.

As a sideman, Stringfellow has worked with Brendan Benson, Cali, Snow Patrol and others. Beyond North America and Europe, Stringfellow has also collaborated with Senegal band Waflash

In 2007, he formed The Disciplines with members of the Norwegian pop band, Briskeby;The Disciplines released two records, Smoking Kills in 2009 and Virgins of Menace in 2011

Solo recordings
Stringfellow has released four solo albums: This Sounds Like Goodbye (1997, on the Hidden Agenda label), Touched (2001, on Manifesto Records), Soft Commands (2004, on Yep Roc Records), and Danzig in the Moonlight (2012). Released on Lojinx (Europe), Spark & Shine (US) and Target Earth (Japan), Danzig in the Moonlight featured Charity Rose Thielen and Margaret Cho. In 2008, he also released an EP of cover songs, The Sellout Cover Sessions Vol. 1 He has toured extensively in support of each of the albums.

Production work
Since 2005, Stringfellow has been increasingly involved with production, and has composed film music and string arrangements. He has produced albums for Damien Jurado, The Long Winters, and Carice van Houten. Stringfellow has composed soundtracks for short films such as The Kitchen Party and Bunker.

( Excerpts from Wikipedia)