Sebadoh Albums Ranked

Sebadoh is an American indie rock band formed in 1986 in Northampton, Massachusetts, by Eric Gaffney and Dinosaur Jr. bass player Lou Barlow, with multi-instrumentalist Jason Loewenstein completing the line-up in 1989. Along with such bands as Pavement, Beat Happening, and Guided by Voices, Sebadoh helped pioneer lo-fi music, a style of indie rock characterized by low-fidelity recording techniques, often on four-track machines. The band’s early output, such as The Freed Man and Weed Forestin’ (both released 1990), as well as Sebadoh III (1991), was typical of this style. Following the release of Bubble & Scrape in 1993, Gaffney left the band. His replacement and erstwhile stand-in, Bob Fay, appeared on Bakesale (1994) and Harmacy (1996), but was fired before the sessions for the band’s major-label release The Sebadoh (1999), featuring drummer Russ Pollard. The band then went on a 14-year recording hiatus, during which time members pursued other projects while occasionally touring as Sebadoh. The group, fronted by singer Lou Barlow and now featuring drummer Bob D’Amico, returned in 2012 with the Secret EP and, in 2013, a full-length album titled Defend Yourself, which were both self-recorded. The album Act Surprised followed in 2019. Here are all of Sebadoh’s albums ranked.

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10. Act Surprised (2019)

Sebadoh: Act Surprised Album Review | Pitchfork

“The way this album is mixed just doesn’t quite feel like Sebadoh… the vocals are sometimes kind of distant and ill-fitting, especially on Lou’s songs, and the bass just doesn’t quite rumble the way it did on Defend Yourself. Still, I already love many of the songs and they seem like the kind that will continue to grow on me – it would just be an easier process if I could turn this thing up loud and feel the thunder.”

9. Weed Forestin’ (1990)

Weed Forestin' : Sebadoh | Album | MuzPlay

“The music here is raw, not in a punk rock way, it’s just primitive. Recorded in various basements using acoustics, minimal electronic effects and various experiments with tape, it does sound like something after a while, but it takes a couple required listens to get used to the low-finess.”

8. The Freed Man (1989)

The Freed Man - Wikipedia

“This right here is what bedroom pop, and folk punk should be. Sonically warped cheap experiments done due to limited resources and a plastic bin full of weed. (and i’m talking tubby sized bin not Tupperware level) Every song here weeps and moans with more emotion than any person who just plays basic chords on a new acoustic guitar they tuned perfectly before playing and with a $300 mic they just bought. These guys gush with experimental interests that keeps it from falling into generic traps that any other artist falls into in the two genres mentioned above.”

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7. The Sebadoh (1999)

Sebadoh - The Sebadoh (CD) | Domino Mart - Domino

“There is some beautiful music on here. It is like a 5-star record with a few bits toward the end that are just okay. This was an awesome period for the band and it seems too often dismissed. They play some very idiosyncratic rock here, as well as rework some of their earlier tunes, making this a special long-player. It is just too bad that some folks (including the band) seem to pish-posh this album.”

6. Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock (1992)

Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock - Album by Sebadoh | Spotify

“The best Sebadoh money can buy. Lou is already being Paul McCartney here (and pretty damn well), but Eric is doing some extremely cool, bizarre stuff. Jason contributes one genuinely funny one-joke song, which is probably the best that can be said about anything he ever did for Sebadoh.”

5. Bubble & Scrape (1993)

Bubble & Scrape - Album by Sebadoh | Spotify

“This one had a more uniform sound to it, be it on the quieter or louder tracks, but I guess that is a drawback in this album as I simply don’t recall any standouts, something that the previous album had. Still, it’s pretty good, and it’s a grower.”

4. Rocking The Forest / Sebadoh Vs. Helmet (1992)

Sebadoh – Rocking The Forest / Sebadoh Vs. Helmet (1992, Cassette) - Discogs

“This is my favorite album of all time (in fact Rocking The Forest accompanied by the EP Sebadoh vs Helmet). After Lou Barlow was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr he made this. Most songs are fantastic but especially Brand New Love is an absolute killer.”

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3. Harmacy (1996)

Sebadoh – Harmacy (1996, CD) - Discogs

“Lou Barlow has yet to reach the consensus showered upon fellow musicians like Stephen Malkmus or J. Mascis but I’ve always seen him as the best songwriter of the lo-fi upsurge, never afraid to vent his feelings and seemingly perpetually as good with words as with tunes. Sebadoh records, everyone knows, are always messy in one way or another but that’s also what makes them one of a kind and prompt so many spins until being able to unveil the core of Lou’s wonderful craft.”

2. III (1991)

Sebadoh - Sebadoh III - Vinyl 2LP - 2006 - EU - Original | HHV

“Sebadoh III is one of the all-time great chill records. Just put it on and let it take you on a stroll through many enjoyable indie sub-genres, from lo-fi folk, to Flying Nun-ish strummy guitar rock, to hardcore balling, and on and on and on.”

1. Bakesale (1994)

Sebadoh: Bakesale [Deluxe Edition] Album Review | Pitchfork

“Every single Sebadoh album is chaotic, with a lot of songs, genre jumping, with a dodgy flow and schizophrenic. And most of them are extremely hard to get, at least the first 15 spins. Bakesale is no exception of course. But once you get passed the initial shock, the chaos and wildness begin to make sense and they fit perfectly well with the mellower and more melodic parts of the album. The result? An astonishing piece of work that only gets better and better. It took me a while to digest. Really a lot of spins. But I was patient enough, and I’m glad I waited because today this is one of my favorite albums ever. I play it on a regular basis and I still get amazed by it. A lo-fi / alternative rock classic.”