Tag: Dinosaur Jr.
30) Yeasayer – Fragrant World
If you still haven’t become familiar with the obscure, dance-worthy psychedelia that is Yeasayer, then this latest album is a fantastic place to start. Every song’s turn is unexpected yet comfortable, and I wholeheartedly believe they’re one of the most important bands on the planet right now. They should be opening for Radiohead.
29) Benny Yurco – This is a Future
For any of us familiar with Benny’s dominating axe-slashing prowess, it’s hard to believe there’s not one guitar solo on this, his debut record. But then you realize how great these Kingston via Brooklyn tunes are, and it all makes sense.
28) Actress – R.I.P.
The ambient electronic magic of this album falls somewhere between the subtle wonder of Caribou and the genius production of Flying Lotus. If you’re worried that every producer is being subdued by the womp of dub-step, then this album is a huge sigh of relief.
27) Heems – Wild Water Kingdom
Heems released two mix-tapes this year that made you realize that maybe Das Racist breaking up isn’t as big of a bummer as first instincts project. Things clicked perfectly on WWK, where laid-back, spun-out beats created the perfect backdrop for his hilarious and furious attacks.
26) Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Modern soul music needed a good kick in the head, and thank God Ocean showed up to do it. Like anybody who’s heard it, I think the record is killer, but I feel it lacks the amazing hooks found in previous singles like “Novocaine” and “Swim Good.”
25) The Black Keys – El Camino
Shit, who would have thought a few years back that the Akron duo would become the biggest band in America? Bringing back Danger Mouse was a huge move, even though this album comes in a solid third to their previous 2 efforts. And yeah I know, this album actually came out in December of 2011, but it was fucking everywhere this year so deserves its spot on the list.
24) Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet on Sky
Ahhh, the 3rd album since Dino Jr.’s reunion 5 years ago is once again consistently amazing, and finds Mascis and crew truly at the top of their game. If you ever loved this band and haven’t given the new stuff a try, be prepared to love them even more than ever before.
23) Swans – The Seer
The legends of post-punk made the greatest album of the career this year, 30 years after this debut. Centered around the half-hour long title track, drone and darkness have never coexisted in such a land of triumphant light.
22) Dr. Dog – Wild Race E.P.
The tunes just keep fucking keep coming from the Dog gang, and like always, they’re undeniably amazing. I have no clue why “Be the Void” wasn’t on this year’s album of the same name, other than the fact that they needed to prove how many amazing songs they had tucked away still.
21) The Shins – Port of Morrow
Sure, James Mercer may have once again hired an entirely new band for this album, but his consistent onslaught of amazing songs makes him allowed to do whatever the fuck he wants. Deceptively complex pop music at its apex – keep em’ coming James.
…it’s usually because of Dinosaur Jr. The prolific shred-champion, J. Mascis has always written some songs that have grabbed hold of my heart while simultaneously causing my ears to bleed (“The Wagon” “How’d You Pin That on Me” “Get Me” and on and on.) But if you had told me in 2000 that we were dawning the crest of some of my favorite Dino Jr. tunes of all time, I wouldn’t have even given you the time of day. Reunited bands never, ever, make better music than they used to, but leave it up to an act with a prehistoric name to create the definitive argument for longevity. In other words, starting with 2006′s Beyond, which shockingly brought Lou Barlow back into the band, Dinosaur Jr. has been consistently turning out fucking amazingly brilliant music. The reason for this successful assault on the predictably mundane is that these tunes have always shared a common theme of acceptance and of a conquering push through not letting shitty crap take you down. It’s almost like in the late 80′s Jay had some brilliant notion that if he kicked out his band, it would only cause a ripple through time resulting in incredible songs and music that couldn’t have existed otherwise. Or maybe it’s just dumb luck.
Either way, things are amazing right now in the world of the quiet wizard. Two cases in point: 1st is the above picture taken in Portland over the weekend of all of Dinosaur Jr. and all of Sebadoh posing together for the first time EVER. And yes, that is Mascis with an unexpectedly enormous smile on his face. Give it up to Mikala Taylor at www.backstagerider.com for grabbing the incredible pic. I wonder if they ever talk about the meaning of Barlow’s infamous track, “Freed Pig”? 2nd is this brand new video for “Watch the Corners” off of next week’s release I Bet on Sky. The song has the classic Dino vibe of being prepared for crappy situations, and the video has the brilliant Tim Heidecker portraying the role of the overly-protective but totally awesome Dad. You can streaam the entire album at NPR right now: www.npr.org/2012/09/09/160628084/first-listen-dinosaur-jr-i-bet-on-sky. If you really dig it, then FUCKING BUY it next week – these aren’t superstars people, these are working musicians and they deserve your pocket change. I’m gonna go ahead and say this is my favorite Dinosaur Jr. video EVER. It just makes me feel the way that music you love is supposed to make you feel.
Ok, let’s jump right back into this shit. So I’m still in the process of a formal review, but I have to mention how I keep turning back again and again to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. album, It’s a Corporate World. First thing you need to do it to get past the name – I guess legally it’s OK, kinda like how Dinosaur Jr. got their name, and word is the guys actually sent the real Dale Jr. some songs and a letter saying they weren’t making fun of hm – of which he totally approved and dug the songs as well. And somehow when you dig deep into the album, the name makes sense. It’s kinda like taking a twisted take of a modern pop acceptance, and adding to it and altering it thusly into an ironic embrace of the power and strength of a name with notoriety. The album isn’t exactly pop-radio-friendly, but it’s composed of things that by themselves would be. Follow me? It doesn’t matter.
The band is composed of Joshua Epstein, and Daniel Zott – two younger fellas from Detroit who made the album last year in Zott’s basement, and within 6 months found themselves selling out 1,000 person venues. The vibe is an organic, and harmonious stab at traditionally solid, good, songwriting and adding to it a funky backbeat and some weird electronic instruments. It’s very reminiscent of the last Dirty Projectors album from a couple years back, and anyone who loved Bitte Orca should immediately make themselves familiar with these guys. Younger ears will associate it more with the slower side of MGMT, but there’s really a much different game-plan here. Much more touching on a timeless organic rock vibe, then an of-the-moment weirdness embrace. The lyrics are a touch of self-degradation, that most often expresses an acceptance of their personal normality. In other words, really good words about how they don’t think they have anything to say. Honestly though, the best music comes from two friends who are open enough to only want to play the songs that they both like and make each other happy. Even if this first album is the best thing they ever do, the rest of their sub-par career will still be worth getting into. But my instincts tell me these guys are somehow only going to get cooler and better.
Here’s a clip of them closing out their set at this year’s Austin City Limits. First off, the bow-ties are fucking awesome, and a universal tangent to the latest Dr. Who (get into it!) Secondly, they not only play their tunes tightly live, but they mess around with him, keep them interesting, and fun for themselves. Third, thank God they were smart enough to bring in a drummer, and not just rely on a beat machine. It rounds out their sound so easily, and it would have been a shame to have gone any rawer. And with a solid beat, they can play a whole song with no guitar and make it still sound huge, like a full band. Here they are aboslutely crushing “Nothing But Our Love” – stay til the end, when they really start raging.