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    Participant article

    To read this article online, you have to go through some registration process on the website …so I just copied the article for you <img>
    it’s not a nice one, though <img> … let’s call it: "an opinion" <img>

    J Mascis lets down biggest fan fan [whatever that is… <img> ; FC]
    By Jon Garrett

    Dinosaur Jr. will always have a special place in my collection. Where You Been was the record that introduced me to the wonderful world of indie rock. Without it, I might never have sought out Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted or the Flaming Lips’ Hit to Death in the Future Head. "Out There," the opening track, still qualifies as one of the most amazing songs produced in the early ’90s. My jaw literally dropped the first time I heard it. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" sounds like a pathetic whimper next to it.

    What set Dinosaur Jr. apart from the legions of college slacker indie types was J Mascis’s extraordinarily gifted guitar playing. No one could pull off a more natural sounding two-minute solo. However, this same proficiency was also what kept him a perpetual outsider, a pariah of a genre that prided itself on amateurishness. Unlike, say, Stephen Malkmus, you got the feeling that Mascis wasn’t playing indie rock because that was the extent of his skill, but rather because he genuinely enjoyed the sound. So Mascis spent most of his career on the fringe, too flashy for indie purists and too quirky for mainstream success.

    Dinosaur Jr. said goodbye in 1997 with Hand It Over, arguably Mascis’s strongest effort since Where You Been. But the retirement of the name turned out to be nothing more than that. Mascis returned a short two years later on a new label (Artemis) as J Mascis + the Fog. But the old sound remained essentially intact. That album, More Light, proved that Mascis still had some creative juice left, even if half of it was less inspired than usual. It probably didn’t hurt that Bob Pollard and Kevin Shields were on hand in the studio to offer their expertise.

    Unfortunately, the creative spark seems to be entirely absent from Mascis’s second post-Dinosaur project, Free So Free, a concept album loosely based on Mascis’s newfound love of skydiving. Whatever joy he’s currently experiencing from his new hobby apparently did not provide much in the way of musical inspiration, as Free So Free is easily the dullest album in the Mascis catalog. For the first time, the solos sound tacked on rather than logical extensions of the riffs. Mascis’s voice, which was never a strong point, is needlessly pushed to the front of the mix. And worst of all, the songs go by with hardly any acknowledgement of beginnings and ends.

    Mascis is still far too good a musician to be disregarded entirely, but he’s treading closer to irrelevance than ever before. Certainly no way for a guitar hero to go.

    * * * * *

    this review (same website/ same registration process) is even worse: <img> / Free so Free review

    There Are No New Clouds
    Ides of Space
    Better Looking

    This is one of those discs that I liked okay at the start, primarily because it reminded me of my favorite bands. Ides of Space conjure up a pleasant fusion of Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine-informed guitar noise. But the more I listened, the more it sounded like a vacuous tribute. These ideas were stale as of ten years ago, and even more so today. While perhaps they can be partly excused due to the fact that they’re Australian (late 80s American indie rock and early 90s shoegazing may just finally be making their way down under), I pity the poor fool in the States that picks this disc up based on the comparisons to the aforementioned greats.
    What’s really missing is the sense of adventure that Dinosaur Jr. or MBV brought to their respective genres. Whereas those groups accidentally birthed an entire movement thanks to their relentless creativity, Ides of Space sound like they’re hemmed in by precedent—as if they’re afraid of straying too far from the boundaries set by their forebears. Of course, the real tragedy will be if this album catches on with the long dormant fan bases of Mr. Mascis and Shields. Then we’ll know things have really gotten desperate.

    –JG [ …might be that Jon Garrett guy again; FC]

    <small>[ 11-18-2002, 05:37 PM: Message edited by: Flying Cloud ]</small>

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