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Goodnight Unknown

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iTunes Review

Ex-Dinosaur, Jr. bassist and ex-Sebadoh leader Lou Barlow has always had an affinity for the crunchy sound of lo-fi. Even here, with Godsmack producer Andrew Murdock on board, Barlow keeps things primitive and simple. His voice blends into the acoustic guitars of “Too Much Freedom,” finds the emotive center in the simple acoustic plea of “Faith In Your Heartbeat,” and gears up for the living-room rock attack of the title tune. Drummer Dale Crover of the Melvins and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano add their touches, but it’s all in service to Barlow’s warm, modest vocals that survive under all conditions. “The One I Call” has a backslapping, feel-good rhythm coming and going as Barlow stacks up the harmonies. “The Right” balances a roller-rink pop bounce with the serious tone of Barlow’s heartfelt vocals. “One Machine, One Long Fight” has enough surface noise to compete with Barlow’s manic lyric downpour. “Modesty” sounds like chamber pop recorded in the basement. No matter the style, it comes out Barlow.

Customer Reviews

Goodnight Unknown

After watching the dymanic video for "The Right" I was hooked. The album may not stand out to you on 1, 2, or even 3 listens but takes time (a mark of a good cd to me).
Standout tracks: The Right, One Machine, One long Fight and Too Much Freedom.

Anxious lullabies from Sebadoh/Folk Implosion founder

Lou Barlow’s output is something to behold. Across albums with Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and Folk Implosion, as well as a string of side- and solo-projects (some released as Sentridoh, some released under his own name), Barlow’s explored a lot of territory. Much like 2005’s Emoh, Barlow’s latest album splits its time between acoustic-centered folk songs, layered pop-rock, and crafted studio production. The album opens with the hard-charging “Sharing” and the electric bash of “Goodnight Unknown,” but Barlow’s voice also takes turns in dreamy sing-song, penetrating directness and confessional angst. His folk-pop influences are heard on the terrific “The One I Call,” melding the sweetness of Donovan with the questioning of Cat Stevens. The morning drowsiness of “Take Advantage” is juxtaposed with the looping percussion of “The Right” and staccato rhythm of “Gravitate.” Barlow’s lyrics are often poetically abstract, but the booklet’s background images suggest themes of temptation, greed, confusion, discovery, ambivalence, self-loathing, patience and seeking. There is both venal opportunism and contented love here, but if you’re looking for finely drawn character portraits or story songs, look elsewhere. In a making-of video that accompanies the album’s release, Barlow mentions that his new album reminds him of the Folk Implosion’s One Part Lullaby, an album recorded upon Barlow’s relocation to Los Angeles, a city whose “concept” nagged him. The anxiety and ambivalence induced by his new environment remains in ‘Faith in Your Heartbeat,” as well as in the wide-swinging dynamic range of the album. With musical assistance from drummer Dale Crover (Melvins), guitarist Imaad Wasif (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Barlow creates acoustic ballads, driving rock tunes and thumping studio productions that will sing your anxieties to sleep. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]


I love this CD. I cannot select a favorite as I love them all!


Born: July 17, 1966 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Arguably the most prolific songwriter of his generation, Lou Barlow has also been one of the most influential; thanks to his lo-fi legacy, any geek with a guitar, a four-track machine, and an unrequited crush on a girl could become an underground pop star. Although born in Dayton, Ohio, on July 17, 1966 Barlow was raised primarily in Amherst, Massachusetts, where during high school he joined forces with fellow introverted outsider J Mascis in the hardcore band Deep Wound. After the group's breakup...
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Goodnight Unknown, Lou Barlow
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