THE NEW FOLK IMPLOSION with Alaska and Mia Doi Todd at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Saturday (March 15). $12. 416-598-4753.
Lou Barlow's been through a lot since Folk Implosion's last record, 1999's One Part Lullaby. He had a mini-breakdown when John Davis, the other half of Folk Implosion, jumped ship and split ways with former label Interscope. Barlow had to rebuild the band from the ground up. Now a reincarnated Implosion serves up his often unbearably personal, heartstring-tweaking anthems of anomie and self-loathing.
So what gives with End Of Henley, a full-on dis of the pompous prince of the Eagles, buried in the middle of the new album?
"I've always been annoyed by Don Henley," sighs Barlow over a crackly cell in California, readying for his Horseshoe gig here Saturday.
"I still like a lot of Eagles songs, but he bugs me -- the way he talks, how self-righteous he is, the way he looks so smug. Back in the 70s he said a lot of lame shit about punk rock.
"The song was initially inspired by seeing Courtney Love gazing adoringly at Henley while the two of them spoke on a panel. I was so disgusted, I realized that I really needed to work out my issues with Don Henley in a song."
Along with the late Kurt Cobain, Barlow's an icon of navel-gazing lo-fi indie angst, so it stands to reason that The New Folk Implosion (imusic/BMG) would be an acoustic catharsis of capital-I Issues. What's striking is the album's defiantly organic ethos. The grittier, guitar-heavy sound stands in contrast to Natural One's slick hiphop slinkiness and One Part Lullaby's multi-layered marriage of indie rock and electronica.
It could almost be a Sebadoh record -- not surprising, since Barlow started the loose-knit Sebadoh collective, and Sebadoh drummer Russell Pollard is one-third of the New Folk Implosion (Imaad Wasif, of L.A. indie-popsters Alaska, fills out the trio on guitar).
Barlow says sampling's stale, a change of heart from the time Folk Implosion created the Natural One single for Larry Clark's film Kids.
"When I first embraced hiphop, around Kids, it seemed really exciting to me. Now samples seem so static. I really miss the feel of a real human drummer. I'm sick of perfection -- it doesn't make things better."
In a bizarre twist, the New Folk Implosion snagged a high-profile gig right outta the gate. A producer of the upcoming flick Laurel Canyon was a One Part Lullaby fan and asked Barlow to help out with the movie.
"The producers needed people to play the band," he grumbles. "I didn't wanna do it, but we were all pretty hard up financially at that point. On a lark, we tried out for it and ended up getting the parts. Our band plays two songs in the movie, both written by Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse.
"It was kinda humiliating in a way. I really don't like playing other people's songs. And then when we did try giving them songs, they rejected everything. To my ears, the vast majority of Hollywood movies use music in the interest of exchanging money between corporate entities. In this case, the music coordinator didn't want to deal with Interscope Records to get the rights to any old Folk Implosion stuff."
Were you a big Sparklehorse fan before the movie?
Are you now?
Well, at least he didn't have to play Don Henley email@example.com