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Lou Barlow’s Good Things: Black Lips

BarlowlogoLo-fi legend Lou Barlow has played in three of the most influential indie bands of the last quarter century: Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion. And while he’s still recording and touring with the reunited Dinosaur (whose Farm was released this summer), his main concern these days is his solo career. Goodnight Unknown (Merge), Barlow’s second album under his own name and the follow-up to 2005’s Emoh, is his best collection of songs in a decade and features guests including Dale Crover (Melvins) and Lisa Germano. Barlow also recently joined Lara Meyerratken in Ben Lee’s new incarnation of Noise Addict, which released It Was Never About The Audience for free last month. Barlow (backed by the Missingmen) is opening for Dinosaur throughout October and part of November. As if that double duty wasn’t enough, Barlow will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with him.

blacklips550Barlow: Black Lips are like superheroes. I am destined to never see them play live (had a close call at the “Don’t Mess With Texas” festival, but had to leave just as they stepped onstage), but I hear they’re cccraazzzyy. Pee is involved. Regardless, they write fantastic garage-rock songs in the tradition of the Back From The Grave compilation series. Not that obvious psychedelic hippy-trippy Nuggets shit (which I also love), but like the music kids made before they were drafted and sent to Vietnam in 1966. Desperate pop, more fucked-up than punk, shambolic and melodic. I┬áheard them do a live-on-the-air acoustic version of “Garbage Dump” by Charles Manson on drive-time L.A. commercial radio. It was beautiful, and they dedicated it to Greg Shaw (founder of Bomp! Records, early garage-rock/pop aficionado, recently deceased). Then I watched the “Black Lips go to India” debacle on Vice TV. They score drugs, insult the culture and are driven out by the police. But they are really sweet the whole time. Wide-eyed courageous and wearing ridiculous clothes (boys in short shorts), taking 20-hour train rides and prescription pain killers. They are edgy but generous. Lowest of fi but full range, can play through any gear available and make it sound the same. Trashy and amazing, and they are preserving the legacy of regional mid-’60s rock ‘n’ roll: the finest music ever made. Video after the jump.