Kathleen (herschede) wrote in lou_barlow,
Kathleen
herschede
lou_barlow

Sebadoh vs. Pavement

I notice that on a lot of indie rock forums no one ever mentions Sebadoh, has anyone else noticed that? That alone kind of bugs me, but what bugs me even more is when people say how great Pavement was. I don't know why but in my head there is this competition between Sebadoh and Pavement. Like both bands started out kind of on the same level, came from a similar place, and were highly praised and recognized within the indie rock world as archetypes of their genre, but then at some point, I guess after Harmacy was released, lots of people sort of abandoned Sebadoh and embraced Pavement as the most important indie rock band of the 90's, leaving Sebadoh in the dust. And by the time "The Sebadoh" came out, people didn't even give the album half a chance before dismissing it as rubbish. It felt like the indie community was completely done with Sebadoh, while Pavement seemed to be the blessed sons who could do no wrong.
I actually used to really like Pavement but the more they were hailed as producing some of the best albums of the 90's and nobody even mentioned Sebadoh, the more I started to dislike them. Because frankly I don't think Steve Malkmus is as good or as interesting of a songwriter as Lou and he's not as likeable personality-wise to me either. He always seemed kind of arrogant and smug to me. Maybe my perception is just completely off about this. But I was wondering if anyone else feels this way about Pavement and Sebadoh.
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  • 2 comments
In regards to that competition you perceive; I have noticed that.

It's funny because I still hold them on pedestals of equal height. I can't say who is better, although they are both "indie rock" they don't sound anything alike. Lou himself is a more reserved song writer, he sticks to the pastoral. Look at the evolution of their solo careers; that's where the difference between the two is most prevalent. Lou makes radio-friendly (in a good way) folk rock. Malkmus produces seven-minute long prog rock jam sessions like "No More Shoes" or "1% of One." And as far as Sebadoh is concerned, it's not just Lou (I happen to be more of a fan of Loewenstein's work on Harmacy, Bakesale, and the Sebadoh). The closest the two come is with Eric's noise experiments.
Maybe it's the way that Sebadoh are almost like multiple bands in one that is why they often go unrecognized, like people want the designated roles and their switching around seems too messy or casual or not as easy to define. I just would like to understand why Sebadoh seems to have fallen off the radar. I've seen them in concert twice, with Bob Fay and they were incredible (and that was with their weakest drummer) so I can't imagine it was their live performance that tarnished them for people. Like I said before, I very rarely see them mentioned in discussions about 90's indie rock or even more specifically 90's lo-fi -- bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Guided By Voices get a lot more recognition and I almost never see mention of Lou's, and especially Jason's and Eric's solo work. Sebadoh doesn't even have a community on LJ.