Friday, September 7, 2012

Teacher's Pet: J Mascis

I discovered Dinosaur Jr. in high school - it must've been around my sophomore year.  And back when Spin magazine was actually worth reading, I remember the time J Mascis was on their cover with the caption "J Mascis is God."  This was right before the release of 1993's Where You Been.

By my senior year, I was convinced that sebadoh was the way to go and became more interested in the work of Lou Barlow.  (Barlow was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr. in 1989 but rejoined the band for the Dinosaur Jr. reunion nearly twenty years later.)  While there's no doubt that Bubble & Scrape and Bakesale are great records, there's no comparing sebadoh to Dinosaur Jr.

J Mascis' voice is like no other ("All my favorite singers couldn't sing"), and neither is his guitar playing.  His solos are instantly recognizable and often result in uncontrolled air-guitar playing.  A current favorite is J Mascis + the Fog's "Say the Word" off of the underrated Free So Free.  It's an average song until Mascis takes over at the 1:10 mark and doesn't relent until two minutes later.  It's ridiculous.

But if you take away the electric guitar and the crazy solos, would you still want to listen?  Check out Martin and Me, a live acoustic collection of Dinosaur Jr songs as well as several covers.  Or give last year's Several Shades of Why a spin - I still can't stop listening to it.

If we're talking Dinosaur Jr. records, then my two favorites would be You're Living All Over Me and Where You Been.  I'm also a big fan of the EP Whatever's Cool With Me.

Since the Dinosaur Jr reunion, the band has released two very good albums, Beyond and FarmI Bet on Sky will be their third and comes out on September 18.  I haven't heard it yet but look forward to doing so soon.

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