A year ago, Sebadoh was flying high on the adrenaline-inducing release of their first new material since 1999’s The Sebadoh. After hashing out countless songs at founding member Lou Barlow’s practice space in Glendale, California, it was time to show the world that Sebadoh was back from its lengthy hiatus. The Secret EP is one of those rare records that offers a bit of harmonious balance between prolific songwriters who complement each other as much as they clearly define their styles.
“Lou’s songs and Jason’s [Loewenstein] songs are very different, even in the way that we went about recording them,” Sebadoh’s drummer, Bob D’Amico, tells the Appeal.
“Jason sent demos that were completely done and ready to go. With Lou, a lot of the songs came together in the studio.”
D’Amico played a pivotal role in propelling Sebadoh, moving them from the occasional reunion show to a force to still be reckoned with. When previously asked why the influential lo-fi rockers had yet to record new material until now, Barlow told Consequence of Sound that the band was “just waiting for a drummer.” Having previously worked with Loewenstein and as touring drummer for Fiery Furnaces, D’Amico filled that void effortlessly.
It took looking back for Sebadoh to move forward, however. 2011 saw the re-release of their iconic fifth album Bakesale and a reunited Sebadoh, who brought D’Amico along for the ride. Extensive touring and natural musical chemistry influenced Barlow and Loewenstein’ decision to keep the drummer on as a permanent member. For D’Amico, it was like a dream come true.
“I’m a big fan of theirs and Dinosaur Jr.’s It’s a neat perspective to have. I was a fan of the band way before I started playing with them and knew a lot of their songs already,” D’Amico says.
The egalitarian band included D’Amico in deciding the order of songs for their upcoming LP, Defend Yourself though when it came to experiencing the full finished project of each track, there was a stark difference between the instrumental tracks played in studio and the vocals laid down privately by Barlow.
“We had basic tracks and by the time we’d finished everything it was just instrumentals. I had no idea what the songs were about while recording because Lou laid down the vocal tracks separately. I didn’t know what was gonna happen,” D’Amico says.
“From my perspective, it was just great instrumental songs. I love the finished product, though. The way the vocal melodies interact with the instruments; I can see why he’s recognized as such a great songwriter.”
The crux of Barlow’s songs was the emotional processing of his separation from his wife of 25 years. Though there are understandably dour moments, Sebadoh’s new material is an introspective waltz from Bakesale to now. Sebadoh is a sight to behold live and fans aching to see their return need only wait till Wednesday to catch them at Cafe du Nord. D’Amico, a self-proclaimed foodie, is especially looking forward to the trip to SF.
“SF is one of the few cities besides NYC, where I live, where I would love to move,” D’Amico says.
“My favorite spots are these little places; I love Vietnamese food and usually look for that. I love just going to Chinatown and exploring. I like to try things off the beaten path.”