Home Forums Dinosaur Related Discussions Dinosaur/J News & Discussions The Best Guitarist You’ve Never Heard

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    Another old one that has probably been posted before.

    Despite the possibility that J Mascis, of the mopey guitar-based band Dinosaur Jr., has some sort of emotional impairment, he has managed to create some of the most moving music of our generation.

    While many of his peers write angry, anguished songs, Mascis’ material is much more friendly and inviting. His classic rock riffs are comforting and draw the listener into an instantly recognizable and pleasantly tuneful land that’s far less intimidating than the menacing power-chord of bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. Mascis’ bluesy guitar style and weary vocals cry out for empathy and understanding, proclaiming his inner torment, and sting with vulnerability rather than scream in unfocused rage.

    Joe Mascis Jr., singer, guitarist, songwriter, drummer, producer, formed Dinosaur in 1985. The Jr. was added when the `60s band of the same name threatened to sue. Dinosaur Jr. emerged out of the ashes of Deep Wound, a post-punk band Mascis’ and bassist/friend Lou Barlow, now of Sebadoh and Folk Implosion, formed. Like many industrial bands today, Mascis writes, performs and produces most of the material for Dinosaur Jr. himself, only bringing a complete band along on tours.

    Originally, Mascis was a drummer, playing previously for eleven years. During the early days of Dinosaur Jr., drummer Murph was added to the lineup, allowing Mascis to trade in his sticks for picks, giving him the freedom to concentrate on guitar. He thought it would be easier to explain to bandmates or studio musicians the drum rhythms he wanted, rather than the intricate guitar. The three were ahead of their time as slackers lashing out against the conformity and routine boredom of suburban America.

    Soon after Dinosaur Jr. formed, it developed a cult following of slackers inspired by the intensity and high volume of the band. Those who were not turned on by their albums were instantly converted by their ferocious live shows, in which Mascis would selfishly crank up his amp to ear-damaging levels, Barlow would thrash around the stage screaming like a banshee and Murph pummeled his kit so hard he could have broken an animal’s spine with a single stroke.

    Mascis, who is quite possibly the best guirtarist of the decade, has released a solo album of epic proportions recorded live at small clubs during last year’s tours. His intention is not to damage anyone’s hearing with his signature ground-shaking electric guitar-a-la Dinosaur Jr., but rather to tell stories of woe and heartbreak with Martin, his solo acoustic guitar accompaniment. Thus the album title Martin and Me.

    By going the acoustic route, the notoriously introverted Mascis intensifies the somber moods of his classic Dinosaur Jr. material. This album is a celebration of excellent songwriting and guitar work because it shows that Mascis has slowly crawled out of his shell of seclusion to shine a spot light on his much overlooked talent. With Dinosaur Jr. the extreme guitar wailing drowned out much Mascis’ moving lyrics but with this new album, washes of delicate acoustic guitar surround his moody, nasal whine vocals, and come across rearkably clear and resilliant. Old classics such as Blowin It, So What Else Is New, and Goin’ Home have refreshingly new twists now that the listener can not only hear the vulnerability in Mascis voice, but within his lyrics as well.

    Along with a superb remake of The Smiths tune The Boy With the Thorn in His Side, Mascis also masterfully re-does Carly Simon’s Anticipation.

    To most pop bands nowadays, extremety is defined by screaming vocals or how far bands can take loud blazing guitar rhythms and solos however, Mascis had pioneered that path years ago. He takes extremety to the furthest by putting his vulenrabilty on the line and does it like nobody else can.

    Story and Photos by Erik Smolin

    Original Source + picture : http://www.heckler.com/old_heckler/4.2tw/dinojr.html



    Thanks for that Jeremiah!
    Good to hear good things about J other then what some critics think.
    I don`t know if I call myself a slacker but Dinosaur`s music seemed to suit me living in a small Canadian city and the enviorment of it,in the early 90`s grunge era when metalheads seemed to disappear.My beatnik jazz persona was ready for a change,kinda of what Lou said in Sebadoh`s Brand New Love-"If you need a different face it`s deffinitely time to destroy this place."

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