December 10, 2009
It’s true that guitarist and drummer J MASCIS (Joseph Donald Mascis, born 1965) and Dinosaur Jr., drunk on jangly post-punk-death-metal, gave birth to an especially virulent strain of impossible-to-enjoy alt-rock. Much of their later work can be a struggle to listen to, and they’ve attracted more than their share of buzzing detractors. But Dinosaur (1985), You’re Living All Over Me (1987), and Bug (1988) were as impressive an opening salvo of albums as rock had seen in a decade, and J’s drumming with his first band, Deep Wound, remains staccato madness. It’s easy enough to say “one part Neil Young, one Ozzie, one Pixies, one Sonic Youth, with a little gratin of speed metal on top,” but quite another to do it in a compelling and original way. So while we may scorn his rapidly mutating offspring, let’s give thanks for the soaring, twangy, shredding that Mascis did in the late ’80s, when things looked dark indeed for guitar rock.
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