Bubble and Scrape
A fifteen year reissue is much like a greatest hits collection: a triumph or moronic. Since Bubble and Scrape was mostly the former the first time around, Sebadoh’s 2008 re-release of their somewhat classic 1993 album is nothing to sneeze at. Hailed as the quirky, sometimes-inconsistent band’s arrival at the gates of indie rock heaven after a brief period in lo-fi purgatory, this album will either shake you up or leave you bored. If the latter is the case, you were never the intended audience.
Sebadoh is admittedly a weird, dysfunctional band, dubbed “the indie rock version of Rashomon” by Pitchfork. The alt-hipster bandmates bicker on stage, in the studio, and in the liner notes. But 2008’s Bubble and Scrape is a hot item if you want new live tracks and the standard reissue-included commentary. All of the commentary naturally differs in what each angsty male band member believes has gone down over time, but you’re into moody guys, right? At least they calm down long enough to make good music… mostly.
If you’re not into the man angst, Sebadoh may have long ago been cast aside as boring and strange, like the guy already drunk on his barstool at 5:45 p.m. who says, “Laaaadieeeeeees!” a few too many times. But Bubble and Scrape is worth picking up if you wish to revisit the masculine indie rock of the early '90s. It’s a massive album filled with tracks that have long blasted from old stereo speakers, marking what some call a test of time. While more than a few of my female contemporaries will probably pick the reissue of that year’s Liz Phair debut, Exile in Guyville, as a testament to musical time standing still, Sebadoh will arguably do something similar: take you back to a time when everything felt a little less overproduced, a little more beautifully complicated.