Monday, February 23, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 99

Gimme some moe.

About the Cougar

Sebadoh heats it up, Hefner breaks more than God's heart and the Latch Key Kids give punk rock a breath of fresh air

The Sebadoh


Available From: Sub Pop Records

Our Rating: *** (out of 5)

Our view: Sebadoh proves they can make up for lost time by chauffeuring in "flaming" hits.

By Jesse Lauritz
Daily Cougar Staff

A look at Sebadoh's past, present and unknown future will show how mutable they have been. In 1985, Lou Barlow was already in a band, Dinosaur Jr. When he wasn't playing bass with them, however, he was trading homemade tapes with Eric Gaffney.

The two collaborated on quiet songs that were far removed from Dinosaur's sonic barrage, and ended up with a blend of what sounds like Joni Mitchell and ironic college rock. They called the project Sebadoh, a nonsense word, and their first songs, some shorter than a minute, were about friendship, trust and jealousy. 

Between 1989 and 1991, the band released 3 albums. The albums were mostly home recordings and lacked the quality of studio production. After a dispute over Sebadoh co-founder Eric Gaffney's repeated departures and Bob Fay's substitutions, Gaffney finally left the band in 1993. At this point, Fay joined for good. In early 1994, the band recorded Bakesale.

In November 1995, Sebadoh recorded Harmacy. All together, they recorded for three weeks and mixed for two weeks. The album was finally completed in early May, 1996. It was the first album to feature the full band in its final incarnation for every song, Lou Barlow (guitar, bass, vocals) Jason Loewenstein (bass, guitar, vocals) and Bob Fay (drums, occasional bass).

Since Bakesale, the discography has expanded to include more work from Jason Sparkalepsy. He was previously a drummer with Will Oldham's Palace, Bob's Unconvinced with Anne Slinn, with Mark Perretta and Deluxx, and again with Peretta, Fay, John Davis, and Barlow for Folk Implosion. 

The Folk Implosion's "Natural One" hit the radiowaves with a splash, just breaking the Top 40, and even earned a spot on the small screen as an MTV "Buzz Clip." Folk Implosion, Barlow's collaboration with Davis, is signed to a major record label. Sebadoh, for which Barlow has released some of his best-loved work, has had its longest gap between releases on Sub Pop this decade. 

1999 meant even more transition for Sebadoh. Russ Pollard has replaced Bob Fay as drummer. After the Harmacy album and subsequent tour, Loewenstein and Barlow felt strongly that Fay's limitations were effecting overall performance. Blows to ego were taken and bitter words were exchanged, but time healed the wounds and a new album was born.

(from left) Russell Pollard, Jason Loewenstein, and Lou Barlow hook up for a rockin' album.

Charles Peterson/Sub Pop Records

The Sebadoh is a 15 track album that harkens back to their roots. "Fire," the first single, ranks among Barlow's most poignant moments, while his vocal style confesses and his heart-bruising guitar strums on "Love is Stronger."

"Decide" is infused with Sebadoh's own white-guy, punk-rock soul. "Colorblind" and "It's All You" offer two alternative takes tearing with energy.

Other tracks worth note include "Thrive" and "Weird."

The album hits stores tomorrow. 

Sebadoh will be coming to town March 25 at Numbers. Tickets are still on sale.

Breaking God's Heart


Available from: Too Pure

Our rating: * (out of 5)

Our view: Absolutely nothing impressive here. Hefner makes us regret the British Invasion.

By Chris Stelmak
Daily Cougar Staff

Nobody shrieks "Lame!" quite like Hefner. With a lack of both vocal and musical talent, little remains on which to base a band.

This British group takes on that slow, melancholy style of music to send listeners into a suicidal depression. With whiny vocals and soft guitar, the music goes absolutely nowhere.

Hefner members (from left) Darren Hayman, John Morrison and Antony Harding.  Unfortunately, these boys from Europe don't make a suitable album.

Eve Vermandel/Beggars Banquet

Darren Hayman is the lead vocalist, guitarist and force (or lack thereof) behind the band. Faces cringe and ears bleed to his horribly whiny voice, especially with "A Hymn for the Postal Service" which is exceptionally bad.

The music softly twangs away and slowly grinds through song after song, fading behind the vocals. Style is definitely not a focal point for this band.

However, there is an exception to save the album from complete failure. The tempo picks up and the guitars start cranking for "Love Will Destroy Us in the End." Hayman picks up the tempo sparing us from his strung-out voice. Even the jacked-up treble sound blends.

Bare in mind, however, that this is only one song. The album never really comes together. The whiny vocals are already annoying midway through the first song, but an entire album of whine is doomed to age quickly. Don't worry about breaking Hefner's heart.

Innocence Gone

Latch Key Kids

Available From: Pinche Flojo Records

Rating: ****

Our view: This CD is the "Key" to another successful punk rock group.

By Jesse Lauritz
Daily Cougar Staff

The local band Latch Key Kids came together in 1993 due mainly to Tim Guerinot and his passion for performing.

Members came and left, as the band searched for its identity and tried also to cope with the absence of a full time drummer. 

Starting with home-tracked demo tapes, they began to tour the Texas music scene and hit the local clubs.

The group eventually gelled long enough to land some shows outside of Houston, and even opened for such well-known national acts as Lagwagon, Rancid and Face to Face. 

They released a seven-inch single Time Out,which is out of circulation on Skene! Records. A second seven-inch, Punck Rock Does A Body Good on Houston's Dropout label, is still in sparse circulation.

Their first full length album titled Anytime, Anyplace has an interesting story behind it. 

While on their second road trip, in the summer of 1996, their opening act left with canceled tour dates. Trying desperately to find replacement gigs, The Latch Key Kids glued their ears to the phone.

It was then that Jeff Spiegel of the Minneapolis-based Skene! Records came up with the idea of

recording a full-length album during the mishap.

Suddenly, when all had appeared well, Spiegel left for a job in San Francisco and Skene! Records was unable to release the Latch Key Kids' album. However, Anytime,

Anyplace found a new home.

The Houston ska/punk label Pinche Flojo Records, headed by Los Skarnales' John Garcia, gave the Kids a shot and released the album.

The release of Anytime, Anywhere put the Latch Key Kids on the Texas punk rock map permanently.

With the success of their first full-length album, the Latch Key Kids have now released a more intense, heart-stopping and creative album titled Innocence Gone.

It is one of the best modern punk rock albums to date. With hits such as "Look Away" and "Trapped in Your Room," the Kids show that they have found their own style and have broken away from the punk rock stereotype.

One of the better tracks, "Wicked Game,"will leave you humming daily.

Hardcore tracks "6/28," "Knight Song" and "#1" complement the rest of album perfectly and tickle you ears with great lyrics and blazing guitars.

If you like punk rock, then you will love Innocence Gone. It is a great album that rocks every bone of your body. The Kids never fade in their raw energy, and this album belongs in everyone's' CD collection. 

The Latch Key Kids will be on tour in Florida during Spring Break and will try to make a Houston stop in April.

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