I spend a lot of my free time listening to music; some days; it seems to be the only thing that helps me unwind and deal with my anxiety; it’s been like that since I was a kid. I have a very eclectic taste in music and most of what I listen to is at least 25 years old and a lot of it is before my time; I am always exploring lost and forgotten artists; reading best of lists and music magazines; looking for the next album to listen to. Some days I am in the mood for more mainstream music like the Beatles or the Doors; other times I have the energy and patience to sit thorough an album I’ve never heard before; something that challenges me as a listener; it’s always an interesting experience.
I really like exploring alternative rock bands of the 1980”s; I love how back then there was a very healthy underground music culture; there was no internet or social media and these bands grew from word of mouth and little college radio stations. I always imagine some dude listening to these bands in his dorm room with headphones on; and it was really was alternative because it was THE alternative to the shit on mainstream radio like Madonna and Michael Jackson and Duran Duran, Bon Jovi and all the terrible hair metal bands of the mid to late 1980’s. I grew up in the 90’s and the Alternative label never made since to me since all these alternative bands were on MTV all day and on all the major radio stations; if anything they were the mainstream and underground bands like Pavement, Neutral Milk hotel and Wilco were the true alternative bands of the era.
And when am I getting to my review? Sorry I rambled for a bit. So anyways right now I am listening to a very little unknown album from a virtually unknown band that I know very little about. The band is called Sebodah and it was formed by one of the former members of Dinosaur JR; a pretty well known alternative band in the late 80’s and early 90s. The record was made in 1989 and it is really interesting; I am enjoying listening to it. I can’t really explain it; apparently it was one of the first records of the low fi movement; music made on 4 track home recorders with little concern for sound quality and it has a very intimate sound; compared to big production albums. Think of it like the difference between independent films and the big Hollywood blockbusters. The album is a mishmash of different kinds of music ( a lot of it acoustic) with strange obscure lyrics and a bit of crude humor thrown in for good measure. It’s so random and none of it is cohesive but I love it. In terms of recording; it reminds me of “Robbin the hood” by Sublime; which was mostly home recordings. Both albums have a lot of snippets of people talking, sound effects or excerpts from tv and movies. Its sound like someone just took a cassette recorder; taped everything they could and make an album of it. And it takes awhile to get used to it but it’s very interesting to me.
I think there is a love for lo-fi bands because it feels like you found this tape on the ground in someone’s garage and you have no idea what is is and it sounds strange but somehow you can’t stop listening. I am having difficulty explaining why this album is great. For one thing; it doesn’t sound like a 1980’s album at all ( at least to me) and it gives insight into the burgeoning sound of the alternative rock scene before it became way too commercial and the alternative label became meaningless. All I can say is to start exploring music from all different genres and eras; you might be surprised at how many hidden gems are out there just waiting to be discovered. Good luck on your musical journey