May 4, 2007


This Dinosaur Survived the Big Rock (STEVE DOLLAR, May 2, 2007, NY Sun)

He was emo before emo was cool. He was grunge, avant la lettre. J. Mascis and his band Dinosaur Jr. began thumping in 1983, which makes them contemporaries of R.E.M., U2, and Sonic Youth, even though most fans probably did not latch onto the records until the 1990s had kicked in — and the original trio had splintered, leaving Mr. Mascis, guitar visionary, to his own devices.

But the band pretty much forecasted everything that would rock in its underappreciated wake. Mr. Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow, and drummer Murph emerged from the sleepy scene around Amherst, Mass., to generate a cloudy mass of lo-fi turbulence, their anthems of slacker melancholy shot through with groggy confessions of inadequacy and white-hot guitar solos that crackled like lightning on a rainy afternoon.

Mr. Mascis's emotional weather reports were always offered up in his trademark oxymoron of a voice, which was full of a passionate resignation. Especially on the band's first three albums — "Dinosaur" (1985), the epic "You're Living All Over Me" (1987), and "Bug" (1988) — the songs locked into a powerful formula that reveled in extreme contrast. Weary, sometimes mumbly vocals that expressed stoner angst over folksy strumming would alternate with explosive solos that evoked the sadness but also the restive urgency of Neil Young, circa "Cortez the Killer" — but punkier and noisier, which explained why the band was accepted in the American hardcore movement and became the template for Nirvana's soft/loud/soft/louder dynamic.

Time and age have done little to temper Mr. Mascis's vigor.

You can listen to a couple of the later albums by selecting the Dinosaur Jr. playlist in the Media Master player here.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2007 12:00 AM

Do any albums in particular stand out from the rest? If you had to choose one, which one would it be?

By the way, the Zincs are an excellent band indeed.

Posted by: ted welter at May 4, 2007 9:17 AM


There is a best of:

I put the two that are in the Media Master up at Oboe as well, if you want to grab them

Posted by: oj at May 4, 2007 10:20 AM

Emo is cool?

Posted by: Brandon at May 4, 2007 10:34 AM