Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part 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 Morning Show with John Richards, is “Redeemed” by Lou Barlow from the 2015 album Brace the Wave on Joyful Noise.
As part of Dinosaur Jr., Deep Wound, The Folk Implosion, Sebadoh, or his solo work, lo-fi pioneer Lou Barlow has proven himself to be one of the most prolific and influential musicians of his generation. Barlow’s original group was the hardcore group Deep Wound, which was where he met J Mascis, who would soon partner with Barlow in the influential trio Dinosaur Jr. Barlow left Dinosaur Jr. in 1988 and spent the following decade focusing on his output with The Folk Implosion and Sebadoh, briefly scoring a crossover hit with the former project’s “Natural One” in 1995. By the early 2000s, Barlow was creatively exhausted with those projects and subsequently both took part in a Dinosaur Jr. reunion and began releasing records under his own name for the first time in his career. His latest solo release, this year’s Brace The Wave, was written and recorded in a Massachusetts studio with engineer Justin Pizzoferrato, and finds Barlow revisiting his early songwriting methods. On the surface, “Redeemed” seems like it would fit snugly alongside a number of his records – in trademark Barlow fashion, it sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom – but Barlow’s assured vocal performance on the melodic, straightforward track sounds infinitely more confident than he did twenty years ago. That’s fine though, because even though he doesn’t power “Redeemed” with the anxiety that he built so many other songs around, Barlow sounds at more at peace than ever with the questions he has for himself and what lies ahead, which, as it turns out, is a good fit for the 4-track journeyman.
Lou briefly toured behind Brace The Wave earlier this fall, and if he announced more dates, he’ll do that over at his website and Facebook. Below, watch him play “My Drugs” with Sebadoh live on KEXP in 2013.