Lou Barlow’s Good Things: Panda Bear’s “Person Pitch”

Lo-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 all week. Read our Q&A with him.


Barlow: I’ve been listening to Panda Bear‘s Person Pitch for two years now, at one point every day for two months. I got drunk enough to follow Panda around at a festival in Spain last year, asking him how he recorded, seeking clarification of certain lyrics. Apparently, every track on Person Pitch is stereo; that is, every sound is a stereo recording—and some songs have 98 stereo tracks stacked on one another. That’s 196 tracks, and some of that is owls, trains and boats. You know how people say that Sgt. Pepper “sounds different every time you hear it”? Person Pitch changes with room temperature. You know how people like to talk about “experimental” artists who use “found sounds” to create “catchy pop music”? (I do, anyway.) This is the only thing I’ve ever heard that lives up to that description. Once the melodies were in my head, I was listening obsessively. Once my interpretation of the lyrics started to mean everything I wanted them to, I was done. Person Pitch was and is another Favorite Record Ever. And it never ever sounds the same twice. Unlike Sgt. Pepper.