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    J Mascis, Martin + Me- Mario J. Lia

    One of the last times we saw J was in a video for his band Dinosaur Jr. It was for the song "I Don’t Think So". At that time, J was driving a pickup truck, driving around two big fuzzy monsters. If you are expecting more fuzzy monsters from Martin + Me, you won’t get it, as there are none. Also, if you have any other preconceived notions about J, his music, and live recordings; prepare to be shocked.

    J breaks most live album traditions. On live albums there is usually a lot of witty banter between the singer and the screaming fans. That has been reduced. There are very few comments made from J, and the cheering of the fans are just for a second or two at the end of some songs. Most of the songs go, bing-bang-boom right after one another.

    Also if you’re an avid Dinosaur Jr. fan, you’re in for a breath of fresh air. On the studio albums there are usually several distorted guitars on top of a thumping drum, and booming bass. First off, it’s just J on a Martin acoustic and that’s it. No bass, or drums. The only other musician on the album is Kurt Fedora, who plays guitar with Mascis on the song "Drawerings"(he also plays the right speaker solo on the original version).

    The only live cliche is cover songs. Out of the 14 tracks on Martin + Me, four of them are covers. These songs further promote the eclectic quality of the album. The songs J covers are: "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" by The Smiths, "On The Run" by The Wipers’ Greg Sage, "Anticipation" by Carly Simon, and "Every Mother’s Son" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Three of the songs are from Dinosaur Jr’s Green Mind album. Most notable of the three, is the song "Thumb". The original version of "Thumb" that appears on Green Mind has a flute in the intro as well as the verses. Mr. Mascis takes care of that with some nice guitar arpeggios.

    Where You Been was the album that first brought Dinosaur Jr. into the media spotlight, with the videos for "Out There" and "Start Choppin’". The four songs that are done acoustically are some of the best on both albums. The aforementioned "Drawerings" is spectacular. "Drawerings" was a great song and it gets even better acoustically live. Kurt Fedora gives another scorching guitar solo on this version. As if that wasn’t enough there are also acoustic versions of songs that were only available on imports and various EPs.

    All in all this is the one of the best live album I’ve heard since Frampton Comes Alive!_(and certainly better then Frampton Comes Alive 2!). And it totally beats the pants off any MTV unplugged show. For those of you who liked Dinosaur Jr. before, you will love the change of pace and lyrical clarity. And for those of you who where skeptical before, here’s your chance to get hooked!

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