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    this was in last week’s time out london


    Genius is a term that gets slung about far too carelessly these days, but if you take it to mean a kind of instinctive creative spark, then the young J Mascis had it in spades. The Massachussets native’s virtuoso guitar playing for Dinosaur Jr in the 1980s introduced a psychedelic delirium and melodic intimacy to US hardcore, helping birth the mass appeal indie rock which Nirvana popularised. Here was a man who genuinely expressed himself through his instrument. Indeed, J’s crumpled vocals seemed to get more lackadaisical with each album, reflecting a nororious inability to communicate which spawned endless slacker portraits in the music press and drove his bandmates to the very edge of sanity. (For the full story, see Michael Azerrad’s immense tome ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life : Scenes From The US Indie Underground 1981-1991’. The Dinosaur chapter will make you laugh till you cry.)

    Mascis’ solo stuff to date has been unexpectedly focused. 2000’s ‘More Light’ album channelled the blazing fretwork which dominated the late period Dinosaur into upbeat fuzz-pop, with long-term pal Kevin Shields on hand to supply a bit of My Bloody Valentine noise candy. This laregly adorable follow-up is lighter still, even boasting a song-cycle — ‘Freedom’, ‘Set Us Free’, ‘Free So Free’ — which the press notes claim was inspired by J’s new hobby, skydiving. It turns out that that’s a joke (though he was a keen skier back in the day), but the record itself offers rockin’ release aplenty.

    – Manish Agarwal

    ** also … this week free so free is listed under “critics’ choice .. music we like as opposed to what they’d like us to likeâ€

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