Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dinosaur Jr. -- Beyond

Why were Jeff Lebowski and Walter Sobchak friends?

Walter remarking he “once dabbled in pacifism,” presumably before he knew the Dude, leads Say what you will about the tenents of national socialismme to believe they’re not childhood pals … but whatevs.You could spend all day equating The Big Lebowski to the Our Band Could Be Your Life mythology of Dinosaur Jr. Mascis = the inexplicable slacker/hippie leader of the group. Barlow = the emotional militant unable to let anything go. He converted to Judaism for a girl right after the second Folk Implosion album ... well, probably. Murph = Donnie.

Except straightedge J. was just as uptight as the pot-smoking Lou, who was too passive aggressive to ever flash a piece out on the lanes or bite off a nihilist’s ear. The dynamics are off.

But the same basic analogy can be stretched to fit Dinosaur’s sound.

The Jesus=8-year-oldsSo how did Hardcore get to be friends with Classic Rock? Seemingly they have lots in common (loud = Polish, guitars = bowling) and nothing in common (Frampton Comes Alive = Vietnam, The Port Huron Statement = CBGBs, Creedence = Creedence, more or less).

As much as anybody, Dinosaur Jr bridged the divide. Show me somebody else who pulled it all together before “You’re Living All Over Me.” Show me anything better than their live cover of “Just Like Heaven,” which I believe is the last thing the original line-up released and possibly the greatest three minutes of balanced power trio perfection ever.

The Dude is real man... he's realWhat’s frustrating about “Beyond” is it should be aware the band was fueled by that tension of influences, rather than internal soap opera dynamics. But it’s not.

Although it’s getting strong reviews elsewhere (what do you know, people are sick of New Wave again), put aside proto-grunge nostalgia and this is record short on excitement.

It’s not just that the band is older. Their reborn live show captures plenty of their old raging tornado power, It’s still the loudest fucking thing you will ever hear. J.’s brilliantly detached solos are still phoned in from Saturn.

If it’s not that everybody now gets along or lack of talent, maybe it’s that after 20 years, treating Rock ’n’ Roll as a swirling, united whole is no longer novel and a band who sounded like everybody and nobody is now content trying to sound like Dinosaur Jr.

If you believe Azerrad, behind his cationic savant shell, J. Mascis is a pretty calculating fella'. He obviously still knows how to write a Dinosaur Jr song and can crank them out at will. Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey.  Almost every track here could be retrofitted to the soundtracks of any number of Gen X “Big Chills."

Like Frank Black going into zombie mode for kids who won’t touch his solo records, the Dino men have a “give the people what they want” indifference that sours even the better stuff like "Almost Ready” and the heartbreaking “I Got Lost."

Still there’s plenty of foggy banality and going-nowhere wanking. Musically, it’s as if the Dude married Maude and took up Hinduism, and Walter reconciled with Cynthia and entered anger management. Mozal Tov, but who cares about middle-aged guys with their shit together?

Rating: 2/5

-Dmitri Jr.

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Blogger Uncle Grambo said...

Wow. Speechless. Incredible work.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Gorilla said...


1:53 PM  
Anonymous B.B. Fett said...

Dead on, Gorilla. I have been confounded by all the great reviews for this.

The thing sounds great, but the tunes just aren't there. "Where You Been" or even "Hand It Over" rule all over it.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Yale Bloor said...

"foggy banality and going-nowhere wanking" (< great line) what more could you ask for from stoner induced guitar the Dude would say WOW MAN! my take on J. Mascis aka Dinasour Jr. is a bad Sonic Youth / Neil Young - Trans era cover band....but then I might have been smoking the wrong blend,

7:32 AM  
Blogger Gorilla said...

This is a dmitri jr. piece.

Also known as Scott from

sorry for the confusion.

authors names appear at the bottom under the number rating.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Dmitri Jr. said...

bloor, if you care check out "our band could be your life."

it's pretty clear that dinosaur's favorite band was sonic youth, but that thurston also worshiped mascis' guitar playing and that sonic youth moved towards writing more traditional "songs" by dinosaur. "teenage riot" is supposedly a tribute to j.

in case it got lost some how, i love dinosaur jr.

also drugs are bad.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Yale Bloor said...

Sorry JR. in my own ignorant musing I was trying to agree with your review, in no way would I want to besmirch on your love for anyone and/or anything....and by the way, drugs aren't bad its the people who use them that are!

1:44 PM  

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