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    REVIEW: Dinosaur Jr., _BBC In Session_ (Fuel 2000)
    – Kerwin So
    In the mid-1980s, when the American underground rock movement
    was starting to take off with help from labels like SST and Homestead,
    a little trio from Amherst, Mass., named Dinosaur, roared its way to
    the forefront of the scene. With an overpowering blend of squealing
    Neil Young guitar workouts, Black Sabbath heaviness, and the urgent
    whine of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist J Mascis (which somehow
    managed to convey both lethargy and urgency simultaneously), Dinosaur
    left an indelible footprint on the landscape of alternative rock,
    serving as both contemporaries and major influences on bands like
    Sonic Youth, Nirvana, the Lemonheads, and Buffalo Tom. Of course, a
    stray band of hippies with considerable legal power eventually forced
    the band to rename themselves Dinosaur Jr., but that diminished their
    power not a whit. Old fans and newcomers both can relive the glory
    days of Dinosaur Jr. now thanks to the label Fuel 2000, who have
    finally released the BBC session recordings of the band.
    Culled from four different sessions from 1988, 1989 and 1992,
    this collection appropriately includes versions of tracks spanning the
    most influential years of Dinosaur Jr.’s career. The overall recording
    feel of classics like "In a Jar," "Budge" and "Raisans" [sic] is raw,
    intimate, and loose; very little re-mastering has been done here. And
    I don’t think J would’ve had it any other way. The tracks the band
    produced themselves ("In a Jar" and "Keep the Glove") end on humorous
    notes, with J muttering "Bummer" on one, and letting his voice slide
    into a jokey snarl on the other. "No Bones" features vibes (!), which
    actually work surprisingly well in this _Bug_ album track. The
    excellent version of "Raisans" (from the landmark LP _You’re Living
    All Over Me_) features a high-school girl voiceover during the calm
    middle guitar break, very reminiscent of the Pixies’ _Surfer Rosa_.
    And the final moments of "Does It Float" even include a dead-on take
    of the opening riff from Guns ‘n’ Roses’ classic hair-metal ballad
    "Sweet Child O’ Mine!"
    Hardcore fans (probably in both senses of the word) will be
    pleased at the inclusion of debut-album favorites like "The Leper,"
    which was constantly yelled as a request to J across the nation on
    the final Dinosaur Jr. tour in ’97 (the result of an ambitious joke
    started on the Internet). And is that really Lou Barlow screaming his
    lungs out on "Bulbs of Passion," the same guy who would later become
    indie rock’s wuss poster boy in Sebadoh?
    But don’t think that the attitude is strictly jocular on _BBC
    In Session_. Indeed, the real reasons for fans and neophytes alike to
    purchase this CD come in the form of the only two acoustic songs
    included. "Keeblin" is a different version than appeared on the
    _Quest_ import, and well worth picking up for its subtly pining
    vocals, and another beautiful electric J solo laid over sweet
    steel-string acoustic chords. And finally, possibly Dinosaur Jr.’s
    finest song ever, "Get Me," is presented here in the stripped-down
    format originally heard on _Quest_, with a downright tear-jerking
    solo taking you through the most gorgeous, tortured territory you’ve
    never explored. J Mascis singlehandedly brought the solo guitar back
    to alternative rock, and this song proves why. There’s no wankery or
    showboating here, just naked emotion, making the BBC version of "Get
    Me" – and this CD – a fitting end to Dinosaur Jr.’s long, mighty legacy



    Thanks again Lionell <img>

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