Taking Sides: J.Mascis vs Lou Barlow

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I never could stand Lou Barlow's various projects aside from 'Willing To Wait' and "One Part Lullaby" and everything between "Where You Been" and the criminally underrated solo "More Light" is shit. That said, "More Light" alone would tip the scale towards Mascis. That's how much I love the album.

alex in montreal, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Dude, where's the bong?

Sean, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'll take songs about masturbation (via Lou) over masturbatory songs (via J.) - the Minutemen said to CUT DOWN on guitar solos, damn it.

David Raposa, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Mascis every time. Sebadoh have such a fucking boring alt-rock sound. I'm willing to concede the point about songs about masturbation - I've never really paid attention to the lyrics.

Nick, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"Willing to Wait" always seemed to give voice to the LAST person anyone would grant a turn to. Which renders the "willing" question moot. Or was that Lou's whole point all along?

Curt, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Gotta be Mascis - there's always room in the world for another GRATE guitarist, and there's true heartbreak in his voice. Barlow seems like just another generic indie whinger to me. And it's funny that David says the Minutemen told us to beware the guitar solo, 'cos Mike Watt got Mascis to noodle all over an awesome versh of 'Maggot Brain' on his first solo alb - it really gives Eddie Hazel a run for his money.

Andrew L, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

i gotta give props to mascis just for the solo album as well. that mother rocks.

ernest, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

. . . also funny that as soon as D. Boon says that, he launches right into one. and for the record, MASCIS MASCIS MASCIS.

aulophobia, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I KNOW there's a guitar solo right after that line. Damn that cheeky D. Boon.

David Raposa, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

mascis is one of the few remaining guitar gods that hasn't succumbed to the "stare at my feet and strum" syndrome. yes, guitar solos can suck and be overused, but that is usually an issue when the guitar player sucks. mascis doesn't suck. i saw him with "the fog" at wetlands a few months back and it was staggeringly good. too bad that venue sucks...

benno, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I wanna say Mascis, although I nearly wet my pants laughing when someone at Pitchfork called him a "toothless stoner."

Nitsuh, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Barlow practically INVENTED the style that some are calling "generic indie whinging". At the time, it was such a radical rejection of everything that was happening in indie rock, of which Dinosaur was one of the most egregious examples. Sebadoh III is like some sprawling bedroom Broadway manifesto thing. It's so huge but done so quietly - that blew my mind. As time went on, I think things got more dull, but my god - some of it is my favorite Amerindie stuff *ever*. I think the personal nature of the songs went beyone "whinging" on account of the level of self-criticism and dark humor in them. I can't think of too many records that are like Sebadoh's earlier stuff, unless they were people who ripped them off, like Smog.

Kerry, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Kerry: Your tone above, and your use of bold in particular, just made me decide to dig into more old Sebadoh material.

Seriously, that's not some sort of passive-aggressive piss-taking. I am momentarily convinced that that stuff might be better than I previously imagined.

Nitsuh, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

*grumps* Don't get me started on that overrated annoyance named Barlow and his mostly (one or two songs admittedly aside) graceless annoyance. Sebadoh III can take a running jump at itself. Sorry, Kerry, but it must be said. ;-) Mind you, I don't actively listen much to Dinosaur Jr. these days either, but I still actually own stuff by them.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

'Annoyance' twice? Clearly I am moved. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Mascis' stuff didn't really thrill me much until I saw him with the Fog early this year. That show completely blew my mind away and I think it's from there that I gained a deeper appreciation of Mascis. Guitar solos might be dull and overblown, but that night, the man was definitely ON.

alex in montreal, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

J all the way. J lost his stuffed cow in Toronto years ago so out of poor pity points he wins. If Lou had stuck with Freed Pig and not ended up rimming J on Gimmie Indie Rock he might have made a fight of it.

zacko, Thursday, 16 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

props to both, but the deathless beauty of 'you're living all over me' suggests that mascis and barlow easily trumps mascis vs barlow

stevie, Friday, 17 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

"Deathless beauty"? Man, I bit into all the Dino Jr. hype as much as the next naive indie-rock student, but when I heard that album, I heard nothing except interminable sludge. _Dinosaur_ sounded like adolescent sludge. _Bug_ sounded pretty good, from what I recall.

Gimme clamor, gimme lo-fi glamour, gimme the mess of old-school Sebadoh, gimme Lou Barlow whacking his guitar in his bedroom, whispering secrets like a timid child, then toking up and going completely apeshit with Eric Gaffney and your reasonably competent drummer of choice. However, the best thing Lou's done in recent years (barring the occasional overly-sincere song) is his work w/ the Folk Implosion. This doesn't include the MP3s on Loobiecore, though, which have gone unheard by yours truly.

David Raposa, Friday, 17 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Early Seb where both were present is the best. Just Gimmie Indie Rock!

As for later careers, Barlow had more moments of inspiration than Mascis, not to mention which I was a depressed loser not a stoner loser, so Barlow was always more up my teenage alley anyway.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 17 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Mascis without Barlow is like... uh man. I can't be bothered.

Jerry, Friday, 17 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Question: Is "Feel the Pain" Mascis' attempt to write a song slamming Lou Barlow? Or is it just another wank? (Cool cork-popping sound notwithstanding, of course.)

David Raposa, Friday, 17 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I don't think J.Mascis ever spent that long on his lyrics, somehow, though the stuff on "take a run at the sun" is pretty nice. Anyway, the J-Man wins because he plays the ELECTRIC guitar like it should be played. Lou is okay, good at heartbreak and anger but played for far too long at a solo show last year...an hour long encore? puh-lease put a sock in it! Agreed that Lou is a lo-fi pioneer, but I like the way that J distances himself from Poledo "recorded on 2 crappy tape recorders by Lou & Lou alone in his bedroom".

jel, Sunday, 19 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

You can't talk only about Barlow when you talk about Sebadoh. They're a band that is most easily compared to a cross-section of a high school (or a serious schizoid individual): Lou the self-hating depressed romantic, Jason the gregarious belching six-pack guzzling smasher and Eric...well, Eric the bongwater-drinking jock-mocking freak (gotta love stereotypes)

Sebadoh III is just one hell of an exciting record..im grateful i was a teenager when i first heard it. You put on any of their records, and those boys just dizzy you.

J had a few golden moments (Where You Been still rules), and is a brilliant axe grinder, but lets face it, can you really put on 'Green Mind' or 'Hand it Over' (blech) and let it run until the end without flicking past half the tracks?

Barlow, no question

but i'd like Sebadoh much much less without Loewenstein ('Flood' is genius...come on!!!)

stevethe weeve, Monday, 20 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

9 months pass...
What are you talking about skipping tracks on Green Mind? I don't think there is a Dinosaur Jr song I don't like. I like some of Barlow's stuff such as Not Too Amused and the stuff with Folk Implosion, but I think some of it is weak. I do admit to not digging into Sebadoh as much as Dino, maybe I need to listen to a complete album and not just random mp3s.

Richard E. Noecker, Friday, 7 June 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

I don't care for Barlow at all, but I am for once 100% behind Andrew L's praise for Mascis - the best new rock guitarist since the '70s, I think. And his voice is a bit like Neil Young's, which I also like.

Martin Skidmore, Friday, 7 June 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

"Bulbs of Passion" is one of the grate titles of all time. Especially when it's screamed in anguish as it is in that song.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 7 June 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

sebadoh died when mister gaffney left - what's he up to????? best songwriter ever

bob snoom, Thursday, 13 June 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

I liked Mascis until he started double-tracking vocals with that falsetto added... (sucks..)... But I never cared about Sebadoh - booorrriiing...

.. and the "toothless stoner" comment ... I think Mascis is straight- edge, man.. He's, as he calls it, "perma-stoned" - that's just the way he seems... (It takes a teenage riot to get him out of bed, eh?)

Dave225, Thursday, 13 June 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

i think mascis wins, because he's proven his longevity. lou barlow is a fucking mess (i gather) who is really struggling with himself and his projects at present. j. has not allowed himself to become too involved in "the past" and is getting on with it (via hard work on the last disc, lots of touring). don't get me wrong, lou barlow is one of my favourite songwriters to have ever walked the earth, but i know just as well as anybody when it's time to move on and get a proper job.

i'm not sure why everyone is talking about III in this forum because aside from a few quality moments it's spoiled by the presence of eric gaffney (and jake's songwriting is not fully realized yet). the finest sebadoh album is bakesale, hands down. no eric around to fuck things up, beautiful contributions from lou, and jake is a man on fire (how fucking unbelievable are not too amused and dramamine?). i really like the consistency and quality (recorded on 2" tape on a 24- track machine) of the production too. meanwhile j.lowe's got a solo album coming out soon. sebadoh it seems is officially dead. why the hell did lou move to los angeles? blech.

fields of salmon, Thursday, 13 June 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...
Lou. No question. I only checked out Dinosaur Jr. because I kept hearing about their influence in today's indie rock. At first I totally hated them, they sounded like fucking hard rock. THERE WAS GUITAR SOLOS. There is nothing in the universe worse then a guitar solo. But, after a few more listens, I realized the singing and lyrics really set it apart. Im still partial to Sebadoh, though, but I'll admit Dinosaur Jr. was pretty good, in a Sonic Youth type guitar noise kinda way.

David Allen, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

Gaffney?? Best songwriter ever? You've got to be kidding... I saw him open up for Daniel Johnston once, and the guy (billed as "Fields of Gaffney") sounded real bad. He was singing in that hoarse, strained, drunken way that bad singer-songwriters do. But aside from that, his songs were not very memorable. No offense.

Manny Parsons, Friday, 12 July 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...
Lou Barlow. Lou Barlow. Lou Barlow. Lou Barlow. He's the one with the real talent. I've seen him live a few times and my loyalty is to him.

Sheena, Friday, 20 December 2002 23:54 (11 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...
isn't there some famous line that goes somthing like ..Im sick of being lou barlow, I wanna be J mascis"...

mascis hands down ..I like lou but can't listern to too much of him....It's like hanging round a clingy/needy friend for too long

robby, Saturday, 20 May 2006 15:13 (7 years ago) Permalink


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