Barlow gets all, uh, warm and fuzzy | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Barlow gets all, uh, warm and fuzzy 

A big wet one for an orange fluffball

Excuse the adjective, but Lou Barlow's "The Ballad of Daykitty" is as an adorable a song as has ever been written. Yes, adorable: As beckoning as its paramour, the smile 'n' cry folk ditty frolics through a grown man's feline affections, literally bouncing through percussive, six-string slaps and Barlow's lilting, gentle picking. About two years ago, Barlow--the Dinosaur Jr./Sebadoh/Folk Implosion staple who, at 38, could qualify as an elder statesmen of the indie rock universe--was leaving his Los Angeles home when a neighbor's orange tabby became his accidental muse. As he watched, "this orange fluffball of a kitten" crossed around and between his legs, playfully glancing at him before heading back to its home across the street.

The kitten--which Barlow instinctively feminized "because it was just so cute, it just had to be a female"--began to peer through Barlow's windows during the day, oddly befriending his three territorial felines, led by Hector, "the son of a mountain lion." Barlow, charmed by the cat's enormous overbite and Asian-like tilted eyes, began feeding the cat and preening its fur, increasingly frustrated by his neighbor's own inability to care for the kitten. Every night, though, the cat would cross the street, returning to its owner. And so, "Daykitty" was born.

Barlow decided Daykitty should become a full-time pet as the weeks went on, especially after she had been left outside, soaked by an all-night thunderstorm. Months later, Daykitty (he toyed with the name Ray, but the original stuck) disappeared. Barlow was beside himself.

"She had a very distinctive meow, so I kept imagining I would hear it all the time," says Barlow from home, six days before he begins the first tour behind his Merge Records debut, Emoh. "I started to realize that I was in love with this cat. I had this really hollow feeling."

The first two verses took hold over the next two days, Daykitty returning to Barlow on the third. A veterinarian informed him that the kitten was a boy, sealing the songwriter's deal--and the punch line--of the Emoh-closing "Ballad of Daykitty."

"Took her to the doctor, the doctor did say/ The kitty weren't a woman, The kitty was a man," he playfully sings over what he has described as perhaps "the best song I have ever written." "Took him home, he ate a whole can/ Now he and Hector are friends, I think he's gonna stay/ Think he really loves us, all he wanna do is play."

Barlow remembers that it has been exactly a year now since Daykitty crossed the street for the last time. He was on his way to do a tour in Belgium, and he called every day to see if Daykitty had returned.

"I think I hear him all the time, and I still dream about him," Barlow says, the sincerity plain in his voice.

And he's still waiting.

Lou Barlow plays Local 506 with David Karsten Daniels on Tuesday, March 8. Tickets are $8, and the show begins at 10 p.m.

  • A big wet one for an orange fluffball

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

Time was when you went to a show and got a t-shirt that you could wear around and brag about …

by Markus Alexander on Streaming Didn't Kill the Music Industry. Major Labels Did. (Music Feature)

Thanks for writing, Chrisso. Who's to say how long it takes to write a great song? Lots of great songs …

by David Klein on Streaming Didn't Kill the Music Industry. Major Labels Did. (Music Feature)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Time was when you went to a show and got a t-shirt that you could wear around and brag about …

by Markus Alexander on Streaming Didn't Kill the Music Industry. Major Labels Did. (Music Feature)

Thanks for writing, Chrisso. Who's to say how long it takes to write a great song? Lots of great songs …

by David Klein on Streaming Didn't Kill the Music Industry. Major Labels Did. (Music Feature)

Years into this debate and we're still seeing the same mistruths being pedalled.
1) Yes, the cost of CD media …

by Chrisso Johnson on Streaming Didn't Kill the Music Industry. Major Labels Did. (Music Feature)

YOU, Longbranch, screwed up....country, even TODAYS country outweighs ANY other club....TOO BAD you went with the wrong promoter....JAMES DUPREE AND …

by Terri Goble on How the Longbranch country music dance hall became an electronica hotbed (Music Feature)

Awesome man of God! In our third week of revival,and he's now a part of our church! We love the …

by Sherra on Young bluesman Slick Ballinger turns to the gospel; keeps promises to family (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation