November 2, 2002 at 10:19 pm #43754November 3, 2002 at 6:35 pm #57713
The ‘More Light’ review
After their terrible gig at Pukkelpop 1997 Dinosaur Jr. never returned to Belgium. At the end of that year the band quit. To put it in another way: Jay <img> Mascis decided to use that name no longer, as it hadn’t been no more than his studio-pseudonym for a long time. Drums, guitars, bass, piano, Mascis played them all himself – Lou ‘Sebadoh’ Barlow used to be the bass-player with Dinosaur Jr, but he left because he wasn’t allowed to do anything. To play live Mascis needed other musicians, but Dinosaur Jr. live wasn’t that good, to put it mildly <img> â€¦ The eight albums he made with Dinosaur Jr. between 1986 en 1997 belong to the most honest and original stuff in rock’n’roll from the last 20 years. If you need an introduction: ‘You’re Living All Over Me’ -the best grunge record long before grunge- from 1987 and ‘Where you been’ -the best grunge record after grunge- from 1993 are good places to start.
Exactly what made Mascis decide to go on as Jay Mascis & the Fog instead of Dinosaur Jr. is a mystery to us. The new album ‘More Light’ sounds like vintage Dinosaur, and that is fine with us. It is quite foggy who are in the band, Rob ‘Guided by Voices’ Pollard is doing vocals on three songs, and Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine is doing something somewhere, and that’s it. Mascis is still one of the leat interesting people to talk with. About his influence on grunge he said: ‘I just stole it from other people, I just wanted to make music that I liked to listen to’, about his new record: ‘ I just wanted to make a new record, and will see what happens’, about the change of name: ‘The name, uh, doesn’t come from nowhere special, it just sounded cool’.
The only new thing on ‘More Light’ are the eleven songs in which Mascis once again puts his soul on the balance, and once again it isn’t found to be too light.
If Gram Parsons had bee alive today he would have put opener ‘Same day’ in his live-set, because in spite of the rough sound and all the fuzz-pedals Mascis is using, he is delivering songs that stand upright under all circumstances. On ‘More Light’ you get the Mascis-versions, and these are outstanding. For example: listen to the sample of whistling birds -yes, it is true- in the otherwise very heavy ‘Waist in’ <img> , or the wonderful piano-break in the mighty ‘Grand me to you’. And just like with Dinosaur Jr. the ever neccesary guitar solos deserve your attention.
Maybe Jay Mascis is just a little too often trapped in his own sound, and should he make some records just for fun, like his big example Neil "Dinosaur Sr" Young, to become a legend in his lifetime. But we don’t care that much, we are happy every time we hear ‘Can’t I take this on’, somehow sounding like it’s keeping ahead of it’s own beat (we know no other way to describe it, but it sounds that way). Monster Magnet will have to deliver something special next time to make something that has more balls <img> than the album’s closer, title track ‘More Light’.
Jay Mascis still is a great band <img> in 2000. Hopefully he doesn’t spoil it all -like he did with Dinosaur Jr. <img> – when he comes to play the Vooruit in Gent the 7th of December [2000 – dB]. Let’s pray. Or hopeâ€¦. (jub)
<small>[ 11-03-2002, 04:36 PM: Message edited by: dB – stands for den Buck ]</small>November 3, 2002 at 6:43 pm #57714
And the ‘Where You Been’ review….
Dinosaur Jr.: "Where You Been"
(Humo 2737, 18th February 1993)
Dinosaur Jr. is on the playlist of Studio Brussel, and although they aren’t playing ‘Start choppin’ that much, it might be a sign for better times. It was about time: â€˜Where You Beenâ€™ is the fifth Dinosaur Jr., and the previous four have been turned away by the BRT [the Belgian radio company] doorman: ("BRT? Go to the right, and then straight onâ€¦", they were last seen near the Polish-Russian border <img> ). About a year ago you saw many a jaw drop when mentioning the name Dinosaur Jr., but since then the guitar has returned to the household inventory again, there is a place for longhaired, unwashed, nonsense mumbling people on the radio again (at Radio 1 they quickly play some Boudewijn de Groot [Dutch folkie, then fitting that description -dB])
Jokes aside, friends, we have to talk about â€˜Where You Beenâ€™. Go to your local recordshop, put on the headphones, and ask for track 10 from the new Dinosaur Jr. album. Close your eyes. When you hear the intro of â€˜I ainâ€™t sayingâ€™ starting like the Scorpions, you think: Jesus Christ, he has lost it, you feel sickâ€¦ Until a few seconds later you hear good old J. Mascis scraping his throat, and the guitars start making an impossible u-turn, and the whole thing starts to sound nicely weird again. You are relieved, and start breathing againâ€¦.
Why am I telling you this parable? To make it clear to you that ‘Where you been’ sounds more melodic than you migh expect, more clearl and tighter than you’re used to, and lots better than ‘Green Mind’, the ‘Undecided Last One’. Not that there aren’t any certainties anymore: in the ?bezwerende? â€˜I know youâ€™re out thereâ€™ Mascis’ voice sounds uncannily like Neil Young after forty beers <img> , his lyrics still are completely dumb <img> , and eight of the ten songs smell the stable halfway through and then change into a wild gallop. But you really shoulds listen to that perfect solo in â€˜Get meâ€™, or the jumping strings in â€˜On the wayâ€™., or â€˜Not the sameâ€™, in which Mascis sounds like Neil Young (after a family package of sedatives), some timpanis and a gently weeping piano sneak through that song as well (with an empty sandwichbox and a small piece of banana [the writer probably has had a couple of Westmalle Triples too many <img> – dB]).
Enjoy the wide open, nearly breaking intro of â€˜What else is newâ€™; the refrain of â€˜Start choppinâ€™ that seems to be inspired by an alarm-signal; the ragged, deeply hurt â€˜Hideâ€™; even the cover drawn by Angry Johnny in Munch-style. You are -understandably- deeply impressed.
It’s a shame that â€˜Turnip farmâ€™ and â€˜Forget itâ€™ (the two great extra tracks on the cd single) don’t appear on the album. It’s a shame that there is a war. It’s a shame that Jan Theys [pathetic Belgian TV-figure – dB] doesn’t have a talkshow. One learns to relativateâ€¦..November 3, 2002 at 6:44 pm #57715
Thanks for the translation DB, definitely makes some good points there…More Light definitely kicks ass as the closer!!!
Gotta agree with your <img> Dinosaur Jr wasn’t that good live, to put it mildly <img> Spoil it all like he did with Dinosaur Jr <img> <img> <img>
<small>[ 11-03-2002, 06:24 PM: Message edited by: Valentine Frankenstein ]</small>November 3, 2002 at 9:35 pm #57716
</font><blockquote><font>quote:</font><hr><font>Originally posted by Valentine Frankenstein:
<strong>Gotta agree with your <img> Dinosaur Jr wasn’t that good live, to put it mildly <img> </strong></font><hr></blockquote><font>I saw Dinosaur Jr. live twice, first time 1991 in Rotterdam at the (in)famous "Ein Abend in Wien" festival (Nirvana/Sonic Youth/Smashing Pumpkins/Dinosaur Jr. and a few more bands…. <img> ), they were great there! (that gig was also broadcast on radio, I had it on tape, think I’m gonna search some boxes with old tapes….)
Second time I saw them live was at the Pukkelpop gig mentioned in the ‘More Light’ review, and to call that gig bad is a slight understatement…. <img>
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