Song of the Day: Sebadoh – Keep The Boy Alive

photo by Travis Tyler

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Keep The Boy Alive” by Sebadoh from the 2013 EP The Secret on Joyful Noise.

Sebadoh – Keep The Boy Alive (MP3)

Named for a nonsense word that leader Lou Barlow muttered in his sleep, Sebadoh’s lo-fi aesthetic and Barlow’s equally raw and emotive songwriting made the band one of the key American bands in the 1980s indie rock underground. Although Sebadoh’s debut, 1987’s Weed Forestin’, was release while Barlow was the bass player in Dinosaur Jr., his ejection from the band two years later made Sebadoh his main focus. With the addition of guitarist Jason Lowenstein and a number of revolving drummers, the band gradually grew an underground audience and became well known for their four-track recordings. The band’s first run ended in the late 90s, with Barlow leaving to concentrate on his other band, Folk Implosion, and Lowenstein focusing on solo efforts, the “classic” lineup of the band reunited in 2007 to play shows in support of reissues of the band’s first material. That tour led to renewed activity from the band, which resulted in the band’s first new studio releases in 14 years. A track from the band’s first studio release of 2013 – the full-length Defend Yourself arrives on September 17th – “Keep the Boy Alive” sports a relatively more layered production than the group’s definitive material, but it’s no less lively. Propelled by double-time drums in the chorus and Barlow’s resonating lower register, “Keep The Boy Alive” shows the trio to as focused as ever; like most of the band’s catalog, “Keep The Boy Alive” is loose and rough, but even more triumphant because of it.

Sebadoh just finished a tour of North America, and will hit the road again in Europe come October, so keep an eye on their website and Facebook in case they return to America next year. Watch the band play “Forced Love” at MusicfestNW in 2011 below.

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