Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow says the success of Dinosaur Jr's comeback was inspiration for the lo-fi pioneers' first studio album in 14 years.
"Watching J (Mascis, Dinosaur Jr) put himself to the task of making a new record definitely empowered me," says Barlow, who has been busy touring and releasing records with a re-formed Dinosaur Jr since 2007. "That definitely gave me confidence and I knew if I got together with Jason (Loewenstein) and we wrote some new songs we could make a Sebadoh record."
Sebadoh return to Perth next week hot on the heels of new album Defend Yourself. Barlow recalls two other sets of circumstances that made making the new record possible. Once commitments for Dinosaur Jr's 2012 album I Bet on Sky were completed, the first was solidifying a new line-up featuring drummer Bob D'Amico and performing some well-received reunion shows that included the Rosemount Hotel in 2011.
"The shows went incredibly well and made it almost a necessity to record new songs so we had new things to sink our teeth into," Barlow says. "And also for Bob, so he wasn't just imitating the recordings we'd done before."
The second was Barlow's divorce from his wife of 25 years, marking a time of transition and change synonymous with many of Sebadoh's albums.
"For my songs it reflects the break-up," Barlow says. "I kind of bailed. A lot of my songwriting is trying to understand situations and find my way back in - and this one I'm leaving. That makes it unusual in the scope of my songs but so many of our records are transitional that speak of break-ups and make-ups."
After all, this is the band that first became a serious concern in 1989 when Mascis fired Barlow from Dinosaur Jr, a difficult time famously documented in Sebadoh's track, The Freed Pig.
"I think music should be cathartic, for me that's what it has always been," Barlow says.
"When I was kicked out of Dinosaur I certainly spent time ruminating and lashing out at my ex-bandmates, and there were relationships that had gone wrong that I was talking and writing about.
"They're like mantras for me that I find myself repeating night after night when I play them. I write lyrics with stuff that I want to understand. I'm so glad I'm never like 'Oh my God, I have to relive this', when I sing it. I don't feel that way."