September 29, 2004 at 7:07 am #47324
has this been posted?
anyways, if you go here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A2337851
you can read a dinosaur jr/J Mascis buyers guide. I’ve just browsed it quickly, but it seemed quite ok.
I thought I’d do a buyers guide on Dinosaur Jr – not a particularly old band, but quite influential on recent music. After all, they play a large part in grunge’s inception. Without bands such as Dino, Mudhoney & the Pixies, who knows what would have happened to a little band called Nirvana…
As Dinosaur (Jr) – The Lou Barlow years
YOU’RE LIVING ALL OVER ME (1987)
Amherst, Mass. USA: The band began as Dinosaur in the late 80s when J Mascis (vox/gtrs) and Lou Barlow (bass) disbanded their college band Deep Wound and recruited drummer Murph.
Influenced by Black Flag, Meat Puppets and Sonic Youth, Dinosaur were the thinking man’s hardcore band – guided by an equal love of melody and pounding rhythms. Distinguished by J’s Neil Young-esque laconic vocal delivery and soaring guitar lines, increasing exposure led to the threat of legal action from 60s band Dinosaur, resulting in the ‘Jr’ suffix being added.
Despite the obvious internal disruptions, J’s monosyllabic interview technique and the band’s general mistrust of the music industry, the band became well respected amongst fellow musicians – ‘You’re Living….’ features backing vocals from Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo. Indeed, this album is a good introduction to Dino’s earlier, heavier output.
Greater commercial exposure arrived with the underground anthem ‘Freak Scene’, but whilst the band toured it’s parent album ‘Bug’, Barlow quit acrimoniously to form the equally influential Sebadoh. Minus Barlow, the band cut a cover of ‘Just Like Heaven’ which impressed Robert Smith enough to offer them a place on the next Cure tour. However all did not go to plan, and there were more internal differences.
Mascis takes control
GREEN MIND (1991)
WHERE YOU BEEN (1993)
WITHOUT A SOUND (1994)
HAND IT OVER (1997)
By ‘Green Mind’, J effectively was Dinosaur Jr, and played most of the instruments himself. Having signed to Warner subsidiary Blanco y Negro, J found himself with a much larger studio budget and began developing a more expansive sound. Trademark guitar solos still in tow, over the course of the next few albums multi-instrumentalist J introduced keys, brass, mandolin and banjo to the Dino sound whilst never completely compromising his hardcore/slacker roots.
Amongst these albums ‘Where You Been’ is probably held in highest regard, and has been described as the archetypal left-field college rock record. Featuring fan favourites such as ‘Out There’ and ‘Get Me’, for me it’s the album with the strongest set of melodies. The others are not without their charm however, particularly ‘Green Mind’ as it features one of my favourites – ‘Water’, which for me encapsulates the perfect constituents of Dino’s sound – lazy vocals, falsetto backing vocals, great chordal riffs & sublime soloing.
Bits and pieces
WHATEVER’S COOL WITH ME (1991)
BBC SESSIONS (1998)
EAR-BLEEDING COUNTRY (2001)
Check out the studio albums first, then if you like them gobble these up. ‘Fossils’ is a singles collection from the Barlow years, and includes ‘Freak Scene’ and ‘Just Like Heaven’. ‘
Whatever’s Cool…’ is a b-sides collection circa- ‘Green Mind’ and is worth seeking out for great live cuts of ‘Thumb’ and ‘Keep the Glove’.
The BBC sessions concentrates mainly on, again, the Barlow era. I think that’s such a shame as the two later tracks on this live compilation (‘Get Me’ & ‘Keeblin’) are beautiful, acoustic renditions and are the stand-out tracks. Recommended.
‘Ear-Bleeding Country’ is a 19-track best-of. I haven’t got this as I have all the tracks anyway and prefer to hear them in the context of the albums they were written for, but it might be worth seeking out. It’s fairly comprehensive if not totally representative (the story of Dino’s life!)
MARTIN & ME (1999?) [as J Mascis]
This one is slightly different – Mascis does a solo acoustic gig. For me this is fascinating stuff – I’m always really interested to see how a solo guitarist interprets material written for band performance. It’s got a good mix of Dino stuff and covers, and it’s the latter which prove interesting – ‘The Boy With the Thorn in His Side’, ‘Anticipation’, ‘Every Mother’s Son’ off the top of my head.
Mascis solo – it’s official!
MORE LIGHT (2000)
FREE SO FREE (2002)
BBC SESSIONS (2003)
After officially junking the Dinosaur Jr name, J formed J Mascis and the Fog. Quite who the Fog are is anyone’s guess, but these albums feature Kevin Shields (smiley My Bloody Valentine smiley ) and Bob Pollard (Guided by Voices) as guests. Predominantly electric, J’s long mane may be greying but his songs certainly aren’t. Did I mention he likes to solo?!
I doubt anyone’s got this far down, but if you have then thanks for reading. Fans of grunge, check out the earlier records; those with an eye for melody and don’t mind a bit of squealy guitar solo then try the later Dino/Mascis stuff.
ns9mlcSeptember 29, 2004 at 3:40 pm #105160
cool find, haven’t seen it beforeSeptember 29, 2004 at 4:50 pm #105161
Haven’t ever seen that here before, definitely a very pleasing read :aliensmile:October 1, 2004 at 5:04 pm #105162
i like it, thanks :aliensmile:October 4, 2004 at 10:19 am #105163
but I guess Lou played on Just like heaven?or at least he was in the video…October 4, 2004 at 11:47 am #105164
SGParticipant"simmons" wrote:but I guess Lou played on Just like heaven?or at least he was in the video…
I was wondering about that too.Or did Donna Dresch play on it?
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