The whole Dinosaur Jr. reunion thing had me wondering about Lou Barlow again, though I didn't have the patience to go through the Sebadoh catalog again. I won't deny Barlow's gift for writing the 3 minute pop song, but there's only so much pathos a guy can take in one sitting, so the Folk Implosion seemed like a better idea.
It's not a far stretch to place the Folk Implosion more squarely as being more noteworthy for Barlow than its other member, John Davis. Davis' solo tapes on Shrimper make it obvious as to why Barlow and him had a kinship to begin with (both being armed with 4-tracks and little in the way of self-editing), but also clearly indicate which of the two had a better knack for the stuff.
It might be for that reason, then, that the Folk Implosion made more of a mark when they ditched the 4-track Shrimper sound (though their first album was on Communion) for the lo-fi beat sampling they became known for from the Kids soundtrack. Here's "Nothing Gonna Stop" - I figure you can get their hit "Natural One" easily enough:
While I'm sure there's probably loads of examples that pre-date this, according to my spotty memory, there really wasn't much in the way of crossover in early/mid 90s N.American indie rock and other genres (note that I make an exception for UK/European indie rock, which would've made that crossover earlier in the game) - which probably gave rise to the later impetus to ditch the traditional guitar/drum/bass formula across the board. The Folk Implosion, apart from perhaps Beck, really seemed to me as one of few examples of a A-circuit college rock star from that time toying with hip hop craft, while it seems much more commonplace today.
"Nothing Gonna Stop" samples the Silver Apples' "Program" (though some claim it's "A Pox On You," my ears say otherwise), which were one of the earlier synth/drum machine groups, dating back to 68 or so (the liner notes have schematics for the "Simeon," featuring a set up of oscillators and pedals that, while relatively simple now, I can only assume would've been quite elaborate for pop music at the time):
Here's "Insinuation," from the Folk Implosion's last release on Communion. Dare To Be Surprised was probably a step backwards from the Kids soundtrack, stepping more in the lo-fi indie rock direction, but did feature a remix of the track from the Dust Brothers, a logical pairing:
The last Folk Implosion track I'll post is from One Part Lullaby, which should be counted as the duo's last album, though Barlow later released a further album with two other chumps as the "New Folk Implosion," which largely sounded more like Sebadoh than anything else (I'm still going to cite Davis' Shrimper tapes as reason enough to think this had to do more with Barlow losing interest in beats than Davis being some sort of beat-conducta):
'Course, all of this would have been in and around the same time that the Bristol sound was circulating the world. That said, here's an odd little Portishead track that isn't really talked about much - an instrumental track from the Help EP (after the first War Child comp):
PS - I gotta big up this blog, Golden Rock, which is posting archives from the Calgary local music scene, pre-CD.