This week's Talkhouse Podcast features a bit of a lovefest between two titans of the indie-rock world, Lou Barlow and Ben Bridwell.
It’s a cliche, sure, but Lou Barlow probably doesn’t need an introduction around here. A founding member of Dinosaur Jr., he played on that band’s formative 1980s albums before not very amicably parting ways with frontman J Mascis. But Barlow found plenty of subsequent success in the 90s with Sebadoh, whose 1994 masterpiece Bakesale is referenced in this chat. Barlow also, weirdly, had kind of a mainstream hit with his side project Folk Implosion—and there’s some very interesting, unexpected Folk Implosion news in this podcast that I won’t spoil for you. Barlow eventually rejoined Dinosaur Jr. in 2005, and the band has found a fruitful third life, making vital new records. Speaking of vital records, the prolific Barlow has also found time to make new Sebadoh music and solo records. The latest Lou Barlow record came out just last year, and it’s called Reason to Live, and there was also an excellent Dinosaur Jr. album from 2021 called Sweep it Into Space.
As Ben Bridwell points out in this chat, Lou Barlow has been making music in public for damn near 40 years, while the group that Bridwell leads, Band of Horses, is approaching 20 years now. As you’ll hear in this conversation, Bridwell moved from the South to various other cities, ending up in Seattle—and specifically at the legendary Crocodile Cafe—where he played in bands and listened to lots of music. He loved Sebadoh, as did pretty much everybody in the 90s, and it was one of the inspirations for Bridwell to launch Band of Horses, which subsequently found its own substantial fanbase—no surprise considering Bridwell’s passionate voice and fantastic songs. Band of Horses hasn’t put out a full length in more than five years—blame the pandemic for at least some of that delay—but is just now releasing a great new record that feels a bit more like their early stuff, and they’re about to head out on a huge tour supporting the Black Keys. The new album is called Things are Great.
It’s clear from the very start of this conversation what a huge fan of each other these two guys are—and also that neither of them are very good at accepting compliments. Barlow talks about the magical moment he connected with Bridwell’s voice, Bridwell talks about discovering the power of that voice, they talk about how a Camel cigarettes tour brought them together, and eventually, Bridwell makes up his own segment for the Talkhouse Podcast called “rapid fire.” It’s a delight. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Lou Barlow and Ben Bridwell for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform and social media service. Oh, and rate us, too—it really does help! This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!