Record Review - 1 August 28 2002

With Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein played a part (the dissonant part) in Sebadoh, one of the definitive indie-rock bands of the early ’90s. While for many, Sebadoh will always be the band Lou built, as Barlow began opting for melody over punk-rock vitriol, it fell on Loewenstein to pick up the strident slack.

While Sebadoh moved toward a gloss-over-grit approach toward the end of its run, Loewenstein’s songs always sounded best buzzing, not buffed. So for his first solo outing, At Sixes and Sevens, Loewenstein recorded everything himself to eight-track, keeping the edges jagged, recalling at times Mudhoney’s growl.

The album’s first two songs, “Codes” and “Casserole,” start At Sixes and Sevens on a strong footing, with an energy and a stuck-between-lashing-and-lovelorn bent that’ll quickly remind fans of prime catalog Sebadoh. Meanwhile, the mellow “I’m a Shit” picks up some of the harmonies and jangle of Loewenstein’s erstwhile partner. There’s even the requisite schizo moments, such as the throwaway “Crazy Santana” and instrumental “H/M.”

While he could perhaps benefit from a bandmate if only to weed out the occasional unspectacular composition, at his best, a solo Loewenstein suggests how his contributions were just as important as Barlow’s to Sebadoh’s success.

br>Jason Loewenstein plays The Earl Tues., Sept. 3.