On the new album, Barlow has pieced together a mixed bag of folk songs that reminds listeners of his inner struggles and fears. Barlow’s lonesome, echo-filled vocals and organic guitar strumming incorporates prog-rock and synth influences, as on “Moving.” Barlow can also easily drop about five stories with the toned-down “Pulse” or the buzz-laden “Boundaries.” Somehow it all fits. The sonic landscape he’s created is a natural move for Barlow, a founding member of Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr. and The Folk Implosion.
On the stunning, acoustic “Lazy,” Barlow is resigned as uses stark, honest language to describe the pain of a love not returned. “Friendly neglect no longer protects my heart, filling a pocket with scar only weighs me down/Understanding is only demanding more/ What am I bending backwards for? Couldn’t you turn around?” Barlow pleads.
Listen to the rest of “Brace the Wave” at NPR Music. “Brace The Wave” is out Sept. 4 on Joyful Noise Recordings.
Barlow recorded the album in less than a week in Easthampton, Mass., one of the most off-the-map places you find yourself, and it’s perfect for Barlow’s easygoing and eclectic folk sound.
His tour kicks off Sept. 8 in Boston at Great Scott:
Lou Barlow Tour Dates:
9/8: Boston, MA @ Great Scott
9/9: Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
9/10: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
9/11: Washington, DC @ DC9
9/22: San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
9/23: San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Co.
9/24: San Diego, CA @ Casbah
9/25: Pioneertown, CA @ Desert Stars
9/26: Costa Mesa, CA @ Wayfarer (early show)