Dinosaur Jr.

Creatively extinct (between 1993 and 1997)? You bet Jurassic!
*special introductory paragraph!
*You're Living All Over Me
*Green Mind
*Whatever's Cool With Me ep
*Where You Been
*BBC In Session
*Without A Sound
*Hand It Over
They're credited with helping to create indie rock, but even at their best, they do one thing and one thing only - loud trashy distorted jangle guitar rock (if you're one o' them friggers that thinks, think Neil Young at his noisiest) coupled with mind-numbingly lazy vocals. When they're on, they create a wonderfully dense romantic cluttered mess that drifts effortlessly between beautifully-orchestrated chord sequences and sonic headache thrashing. When they're off, on the other metacarpus, they're the most generic classic rock wanna-bes since Survivor graced the airwaves oh so many eons ago.

Dinosaur - Homestead 1985.
Rating = 4

Reefer-diggin' trio of youths pops out of Massachusey to hand the world a load of poorly-recorded, messily-performed, miserably-sung, Neil Young-influenced guitar rock with a touch of weak punk thrown in for no good reason. Sleepy J. Mascis, 90's dictator of the combo, was at this point only half of the mix - bassist Lou Barlow had half-say and half-sing, and his background in hardcore led this short-lived incarnation of the outfit to throw in some Meat Puppets-esque punk stuff that J. wouldn't even think about trying in this - the mid-to-late '90s. Unfortunately, even the punk stuff is pretty crappy. "Gargoyle" is a semi-lovely trudger that foreshadows melodic grace to come, and "Forget The Swan" is a tight bass-driven Lou-sung pop rocker that hints towards the simple pleasures that would await followers of Sebadoh (his next project) in four short years. The rest just don't do anything.

Reader Comments

vanduyne@aldus.northnet.org (Van Duyne)
you're a fucking crackhead. you don't deserve to pick the corn out of J.Mascis' shit. How dare you insult such a classic album.

S.Sharma.Cen@bham.ac.uk (Sanjeev Sharma)
What do you know? This is one hell of an album; it takes post-punk and mixes feeling and depressive emotions. It was the start of all things good in the world as you may now it. Go back to it; listen!

Forget the swan


Severed Lips


Most inspiring rock ever. Yeah while I'm here i guess you were right about BUG but You're Living All Over Me is still better.

on_the_brink@hotmail.com (Bob Blair)
J's writing hadn't clicked yet and Lou sucks, but this album is a good start; think of what D Jr has become. Listen to all the albums in order and hear evolution take place.

I love Dinosaur. This album is good but it shows how young j was - 19 when it was written. I agree that you must listen to all the albums to see j get better and see his evolution.

joshdrak@ix.netcom.com (Joshua Drake)
I am the biggest dino fan ever, but I must admit, while good, this album pales in comparison to the others. J's songwriting was just developing, and he was not the guitar wizard he is now. Give him a break, he was a kid.

I haven't even heard Dinosaur. I know that I was torn apart when i heard where you been?, from then on, I knew that J. would have a profound influence on my music. Don't let the wankers forget that music=art=opinion. What I like may suck to you, that is the very nature of music boys and girls.

rockpud@earthlink.net (Terence Burke)
I heard this album about 3 months after it came out, it was Dinosaur ...... and I fuckin loved it!! ... and the single's b-side? "Bulbs of Passion" ? And true testaments to J's budding genius of songwriting style, stuff like The Leper, Repulsion, & Severed Lips....

I dunno, I guess if ya heard Living All over Me or Bug first, this record could be a bit jarring at times ... but through years of listening to thousands of records, I think MOST bands first 2 releases are the ones to pay attention to for someone first being introduced to said band.

The Premiere eponymous DINOSAUR lp is a good place to start in both the careers of Lou & J .... at least an 8 .... thats being subjective ....

This is a good beginning to Dinosaur Jr. but not even close to the massive accomplishment of You're Living All Over Me. Not only that, but Lou Barlow does a lot of vocals on some kick ass songs. For 19 year olds these guys could write some really great songs with deep lyrics. While Dinosaur marked a pivotal point in underground music, to me the music just sounds liike Niel Young on a really bad drug trip.

irontyrant@earthlink.net (Michael Grefski)
Ok, Ok, I'll admit the Dinosaur thang hasn't got it's schwerve on yet with the debut album but "Repulsion" is one of the greatest songs ever by an American rock band and if you don't beleieve me just ask Lou Barlow who might be just a little bit biased on the subject.

Although the group would go onto bigger and better things (the next 2-3 records), this is a good album with interesting ideas and guitar sounds. There are at least a few classics on here, in The Leper, Severed Lips, Revulsion, and the awesome Bulbs of Passion. The flanger in Forget The Swan is pretty groovy too although I don't know what the fuck the song is supposed to be about, and it's kind of annoying. The opening drum line would later be copied (and perfected) by Sonic Youth in their song Schizophrenia. Bottom line, this is a cool record, it doesn't suck.

mjw368@nims.cpit.ac.nz (Michael Joseph Watson)
I really love this album. I'm surprised you don't like it much. To me, it doesn't sound like reused punk at all, even though the band weren't exaclty established musicians. The album is a complete mess and everyone, especially J Mascis, sound like fucking scabs. It's really funny. J and Lou were a bunch of whiney losers and you really believe so when listening to this album.

The band seems to be trying out many things in a short amount of time resulting in a mess. A great mess that is. Every song is so inspired and great in their own way especially Forget the swan, leper, repulsion, the quest and bulbs of passion. J's guitar work is very scruffy on the album but his rhythm sense and lead work are quite impresive for someone so lazy. I would rate the album a 9/10.

Too bad J slowed down at 'bug' and lost all his inspiration after green mind. I saw him play a few months ago doing one of his solo accoustic performances. His guitar playing is pretty good now and he kicked ass that night. I also got him to sign my YLAOM vinyl. His post bug material sounds great live but sound like poos and wees on his overproduced recordings.

In the late 80's, after I had thoroughly fallen in love with You're Living All Over Me and Bug, I bought the cassette of this album, hoping for more of the same distinctive Dinosaur sound and magic. What I got instead was a weird, messy, eclectic indie rock record, stylistically all over the place, and poorly recorded (in retrospect, this description sounds like a lot of my favorite record, but oh well!). They seemed to be a band with plenty of talent and ideas, but one that hadn't yet gotten their songwriting chops together or established a definite sound. Anyway, it wasn't what I had expected or wanted to hear, and I don't think I ever listened to the tape more then 10 times or so. Once in a while, I'd go back to it, hoping to hear something I hadn't heard before, but it still never really managed to grab me. The tape is still gathering dust in a barn in Washington state.

Flash forward more than 15 years, and I have tickets to see the original Dinosaur Jr. in Osaka, Japan. Woo, hoo! I saw them back on the Green Mind tour, and they were excellent, with Mike Johnson doing a good job on bass, but this is the first time I'll be able to see the original lineup, with Lou Barlow. And, yes Prindle, you are right, they never sounded the same after Barlow left, taking his monstrous Lemmy-inspired bass sound with him. I noticed it when I first bought The Wagon single, the first thing they released without Barlow. A lot of the elements of their sound were still in place, but the bottom just wasn't there. So, this will be a really special experience to see the original trio.

Anyway, on this tour, they are said to be playing only stuff from the first 3 albums and early singles. I know You're Living and Bug by heart, so I didn't rush to buy the remasters of those albums, but this album was another story--I figured that I had better buy the remaster, since unlike the other two albums, which I have listened to approximately 1000 times, I don't really know this one. So, I bought it, hoping to like it better than the my old cassette version.

Surprise, surprise! I enjoyed the heck out of it on the first listen, and am enjoying it even more on subsequent listens. The eclecticism that sounded like the lack of a sound back then now sounds fun as hell. While the other two records had the influences all mashed together as a coherent whole, this one lurches from style to style, often messily, but it's a fun ride. Also, the songs are way better than I remember them. No, not as good as the ones on the next two albums, but they are still way better than I remember them. There are several great songs that easily stand up to their later work (Repulsion, Forget the Swan, Quest, Bulbs of Passion). Best of all, it's the funniest and most fun of all Dinosaur Jr. Records. Their other early records had a good sense of humor, if more muted than this one, but stuff like "Mountain Man" and "Severed Lips" are really a laugh riot. The whole record sounds like 3 weird teenagers having loads of fun in the studio. No, it's not as good as the two records that followed it, but it's an easy 8, and is probably their 3rd best record. I would say that, with your musical taste, I'm surprised you don't like it more, Prindle, but considering how long I wrote this record off, I can't blame you.

By the way, I think that my old tape didn't have "Bulbs of Passion"; I've heard that it was the b-side to the "Repulsion" single, but then they realized that it was as good or better than the other stuff on the album, so they not only added it to later pressings, they put it on first. When I first listened to the remaster, I was thinking "whoa, I really did manage to completely forget this album," but as it turned out, I had probably never heard the song back in the old days. It's a great opener, anyway.

Another thing: I have a feeling that this album has especially benefited from the remastering. The sound is hardly good, but it sounds well better than I remember it. If you get a change to hear the remaster, go back to it and see if you don't end up wanting to jack its ratings up a point or a few.

Lemme say first that this is my first exposure to Dinosaur Jr. I was reluctant to get into what I figured was yet another group of kids trying to be Nirvana. I was wrong. They're kind of trying to be the Meat Puppets. All the good things on this album are the things that it has in common with the Pups 3 years before (1982). It's not a terrible album, it's just not the best choice in my opinion if you're into this brand of grunge.

I should add that Dinosaur's live act is always good for a few kicks in the ear.

I should also add that part of why I was disappointed by this album was that I was led to believe it was "punk" and "raw." You want raw, try running your bare ass on the cement out the door of your dad's BMW on the highway doing 80. Or Flipper. That's raw. This ain't raw. But it ain't bad, neither!

Add your thoughts?

You're Living All Over Me - SST 1987.
Rating = 9

Holy crap, did they get better in a hurry! This album pushes weak hardcore to the wayside to make room for a truckload of shoulda-been classic rock anthems buried in puddles of lo-fi guitar noise. The bass is superheavy, the guitar is roughly-played but competent (although, speaking as a guitar solo despiser, there are about fifty-two jillion too many guitar solos on this record), and the quivering, tired vocals are still novel enough to only occasionally get irritating. Although this weak singing style nearly destroys the otherwise perfect "Little Fury Things," it actually works on both the slow pop "SludgeFeast" and the loser love anthem "In A Jar," plus J. somehow conjures up enough energy to inject a great deal of sprite and verve into the emotionally-resonant, poorly-spelled "Raisans" and "Kracked."

This stuff is one heck of a far cry, six, seven kilometers, perchance, from, the, inept, inept?, inept! amateurism that made the debut such a vacuum cleaner to sit through; although these songs may not be entirely gripping at every solitary instance, they always come back to grab you at some point. The riffs are creative and catchy, the feedback and distortion are a lot of fun, and the only really dull one is Lou's "Lose," which sounds like a leftover "punk" number from the mediocre debut.

And it closes with the first-ever Sebadoh song! Ask for it by george!

Reader Comments

meltdown@execpc.com (Three)
I give this CD the max any CD can have. It's the best album, maybe ever.

vanduyne@aldus.northnet.org (Van Duyne)
WEAK SOLO STYLE? You're a funny little man, sir reviewer.

on_the_brink@hotmail.com (Bob Blair)
When it's J playing, there is no such a thing as too many solos.

You are a jackass. Living All Over Me is the best album ever, you fucking moron.

A masterpiece. A textbook on how to sound fiercely psychedelic, terminally sad, agressive to boot, noisely experimental and, above all, of very high quality. It's everything Billy Corgan ever wanted to be and so very much more...

pmtapia@worldnet.att.net (The Chameleon)
Let me be the one out of this whole group that can say this album is really good. But this album is not a music masterpiece and it doesn't deserve the max any CD can get, because, it's a damn good album but there are much better albums out there. Almost all the songs on this album are damn good except for the ones Lou Barlow wrote. The songs are really catchy, the guitar is so rough and loud, and J Mascis has kind of a cool voice. When I first heard "Little Fury Things" I thought it was fucking lovely, and then right after that, the album doesn't slow down it just keeps at the same great level. The only problem I have with this album is that J Mascis's tired kind of quivering voice kind of gets real annoying in some parts of this album.His voice in the main chorus of "Sludgefest" gets real annoying. It kind of fucks up a song that could have been perfect. But otherwise, this album is real good, so if you haven't heard much of Dinosaur Jr., give this album a listen. And the chances are real good you're going to like what you hear. Another comment if I may. Is it me, or is Dinosaur Jr. the stupidest name for a band ever?

M.Tong@uea.ac.uk (Matt Tong)
For God's sakes man!! Leave Lou alone! "Lose" is a fucking wicked song. Why do you hate him so much? Are you Mascis in disguise? You have to remember that J was not the only tortured man in the Jr. Lou was a fuck up as well. Consider that "Poledo" was recorded with two tape recorders and you'll recognise the genius that was LOU BARLOW. Anyway, this album is one of my favourites ever - Dinosaur Jr practically invented music for the late 90's. "In a Jar" always brings tears to my eyes. ArrrgggHHHHH!!

djaes@sprynet.com (Dean Okkelberg)
One sounds like a Mascis in disguise, one sounds like a Barlow in disguise. I've got this album in my walkman now. I've been listening to it for awhile. All the songs are good. 'Little Fury Things' and 'Raisans' are really good. But lately I've been getting a rise out of 'Lose' and I've ALWAYS like 'Poledo' (it's my kind of weird I guess). Let's just agree that Dinosaur was never so good as the original line-up (haven't bought an album past Bug). Too bad there's so much anti-sentiment regarding Lou Barlow. He is a good songwriter with perhaps a more committed critical base (as opposed to Dinosaur's superior commercial base).

Cop663@aol.com (Andy Stark)
Awesome. Nearly perfect. Nobody rocked like this in '87. Mascis is a great songwriter, knowing where and when to totally knock you down with a killer hook or guitar solo. It really says something when I can listen to this album at least once a week and not get tired of it. I don't like "Poledo," though. I mean, what the fuck is that doing on there? No wonder J didn't want Lou's songs on Dino discs.

azitelli@stevens-tech.edu (Andrew Zitelli)
too many solos, too much lou barlow (even tho he's only got two songs). but still pretty good. it's no bug, but it's no green mind either.

rating: 8

rockpud@earthlink.net (Terence Burke)
This is THE definitive Dinosaur album. Its that simple.

I was waiting for it to come out, & when it did, from the first time I played it through.... it totally blew me down. not to sound too silly, but that was my soundtrack for the Summer of 87..... it was truly an incredible summer.

Before anybody calls me on it .....Bug might as well be "Sides 3 & 4" of the double album that Living All over Me "Sides 1 & 2" could begin .... Its THAT good too !!!! Remember "Poledo-haters", thats Lou singin' on DON"T ....

After that, Green Mind came out ...and tho it was good, it was really just a J solo album ... and then ....??? I dunno , a few good songs here and there, the "magic" and vitality of L.A.O.M. & Bug were gone, and all the "Jr" records sound the same after a while .......

Kinda like Steve Miller but not as cool ....... Ya know?

This is the best album to get . Every song execllent, which is rare on a dino album. Buy it at any price. This is grunge at its best. J is god on this album. Im just not sure what lous trying to acheive on his solo track though ...sleep.

A Underground classic. Amazing heartfelt passionate "grunge" songs, with awesome melodys and some great guitar work from ol' J Mascis. My favorite song on here is probably "In A Jar" or "Little Furry Things" (Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth doin backing vocals). "Poledo" is pretty weird, but overall it shouldnt have been on here, but otherwise a good fun, catchy indie rock n roll album, and one of the earliest carnations of "grunge". I have the SST Re-issue, with their cover of Frampton's "Show Me The Way", which is funny, with J's (is it J? or is it Lou?) out of tune vocals and cruddy guitar, but thats what i love about it. 9/10.

Masterpiece...Late 80's hippy guitar rock for a generation finally coming to terms with the fact that Sab released some influential albums. Hell. even Sir Lester Bangs admitted it. I start nodding my balding head when listening to this thing today just like I did in '87 when my hair touched the crack of my ass. Gotta agree: that this thing is head and shoulders above the debut. This album turned out to be as influential as it's influences and, yes, I'm including "Poledo" into the equation.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Yeah,it sure as hell is a good album, one of the best I've heard. But if there's one song J's tired vocals don't work on,it's on "Sludgefeast"...he practically ruins the whole song there,except of course when he's not singing-on the heavy intro and the rockin' outro. "The Lung" is my favourite, this and the other fun songs on this album helped to get me out of my sludgy metal/grunge ghetto to appericiate a good melody for the first time in my life,atleast since I was fourteen and digged Oasis (yeah,it's true! so fuckin'what!); I listened to Weezer because of the fuzzy sounds those endless chord songs made and in the Beatles list I went for the Come Togethers and I'm The Walruses. Then I heard a song like "The Lung" which a bit gave me the creeps because it was a happy sounding song! and I still preferred the moody "Kracked"...but in time it grew on me and I realized you're better off writing a good melody than keep hitting those detuned drop Db riffs for 8 minutes. A song like that one is a moment for one to get away from all assholes around in the streets and feel joy..a kind that you don't have to share with everyone else to let 'em think they can make a comment on it. "Lose" is actually alright if you ask me..."Poledo" is out of place. I'll give it a nine too.

Good, good stuff. The only really stinky song is "Lose." Which just um.. isn't that good. "Poledo" makes a good come down from the energy of the rest of the album, and the Peter Frampton cover is hilarious. You know, in that kinda silly hilarious way. Highlights are "Little Fury Things" "Kracked" and "Raisans." I tend to hate guitar solos, much like you do, Mark, but when they're done as Mascis does them (the same way, I might add, that Neil Young does them ) they're pretty tolerable. Just all distorted and dirty. Good stuff. I agree with the 9.

bdoleac@mail.wesleyan.edu (Benjamin Doleac)
All of you folks who don't like Lou Barlow are pretty fucking callous. I read about Dinosaur Jr, and I know what it feels like to be the little guy, at least socially speaking. I respect J Mascis as a guitar player and singer, songwriter etc. But he was a real asshole to Lou. Yeah, Lou may have been kind of a weirdo, but the guy makes sense to me. Anyway, that's about all I've got to say.

Boy, where to start? Until recently, I hadn't listened to this album in a few years. I had sort of forgotten why it was such a great album. Let me try to explain:

(1) "Lo-Fi" Production: This really is what does it for me. "Bug" is just as strong of an album, but the production is WAY better -- by which I mean cleaner, clearer, and boringer (is that a word? I doubt it...). The sound on YLAOM swirls... it's dizzying... sounds come out of nowhere and recede into a blurry background. It's BEAUTIFUL! There's no other word for it. The sound on YLAOM is like an under-produced My Bloody Valentine. I believe that's why Dinosaur Jr. is sometimes acknowledged as "proto-shoegazing."

(2) Lyrics: I'm sure many will disagree, but I think J. Mascius is a lyrical genius (at least on this album). What he is able to do with a few simple words is just amazing. The lyrics add an other-worldly quality to each song: the words are easily identifiable; but the urgency, simplicty, and honesty aren't. Couple these lyrics with noisy guitars and a noisy background, and you have a work of art.

(3) Distorted Bass: Lou's distorted bass adds an extremely aggressive tone to each song it's played on. It effectively takes the place of a rhythm guitar and bass guitar all at once.

(4) Song structure: This is probably the most important but least identifiable aspect of YLAOM. J. Mascius was at his peak. The "solos" J is playing aren't solos to me; they are essential parts of each song. You'll notice that most of the melodies are just simple chord progressions; it's the solo work that J does OVER the melodies that really accentuates each song.

Well, for those of you who like over-analysis of albums, I hope you enjoyed my writing. It's not very detailed or coherent, but I hope it helps. For those of you who do not care for over-analysis of albums, I'll summarize: unearthly sound, unearthly lyrics.

One last thing, I don't understand what some of the reviewers on this site have against Lou Barlow's "Lose." The song meshes perfectly with the rest of the album and sounds almost exactly like a J.M. song. Hmmm...

Well that's enough.

I've never heard it... hmm

Everyone loves this record the best, but I think Bug is just as good. This one is more straightforward (probably why it's more popular with underground kids), and is a stone (stone? why not stucco? or watermelon? or alaskan queen monkeybutt?) CLASSIC. The songs and playing are jawdroppingly Awesome. The weakest song on here is the neo-hardcore Lose, but it's not that bad. It woulda made a good outtake single with Mountain Man from the last album. Poledo is genius. It's all genius! I wish these guys would in their current projects make music this inspired and innovative again. NOTE: fans of this period of Dinosaur should check out Elevator To Hell (AKA Elevator, Elevator Through etc.)

okeydoke0@yahoo.com (Barrett Barnard)
im not a huge dinosaur jr fan.in my opinion they started off as an average indie band and after bug were an average rock band but this is album is really fucking good.little fury things has to be one of the best songs of the 80s underground or not.every always says they sound like sonic youth and neil young but i think their sound has more in common with black sabbath and big star.in a jar should be an indie classic,poledo is the sign of a band at the top of their game taking chances (which is very fun)tarpit has one of the best openings to a song ever,and the breakdown in kracked is worth its weight in gold.

j mascis came up with a great formula that worked for that time being.heavy metal type power and volume,punk tempos and drive,and pure sunny pop melodies(apparently hes a big beach boys fan,so ive read).its a really really good album.i kinda like lose too j really goes crazy on that one.10 easy.

j.cocozza@ntlworld.com (James Anthony Cocozza)
The best song on You're Living All Over Me is LOSE. Fantastic famtastic song. Mascis was a dick to Lou Barlow and was probably jealous of the fact that he is a better songwriter and a far, far better vocalist.

That said, the rest of the album is awesome.

Look Mark, I know you can't play guitar solos, but don't mock and put down other people just because they can. The hand needs to move occasionally. That's why we play guitar. I'm a huge fan of Tony Iommi and J Mascis and all their solos are great. Most people in J's genre can't play solos (Like say, certain Franks, Ks and Buzzes), so please give him some credit for Christ's sake. Most people can't play as well as J AND sing at the same time, so keep that in mind. But in general, your reviews usually usually make my day. Keep writing! And look out for Tipping Cows, the four piece heavy blues-metal post punk/post Beatles/Floyd quartet which I lead. We've covered Sabbath, Jimi, Misfit, loads of Blues, etc. Write some reviews for us! I'd laugh my head off even if you said our records are shit!

Sencerely, New Guitar God Black Fox

PS. LED ZEPPELIN ARE A BUNCH OF FUCKING BLUES/FOLK THEIVES WHO ARE NOT WORTH ANY RECOGNITION. All they did was spawn metal and grunge and hard rock. They would nothing on the first too records.

This is my first Dinosaur Jr album. It is really, really damn good. But I sure as fuck wouldn't say it was the greatest record ever made. Damned awesome, however.

It sounds like J Mascis really, really, obviously wanted to be a guitar god, like a lot of other suburban kids - the funny thing is, he succeeded. The guy's soloing on this album is just insane - even if he does rely a little heavily on pedals, he just tears it up. He's just playing so much guitar all over this album - minimalism is NOT in J's guitar vocabulary. It's crazy. He's definitely an endorsement for the Fender Jazzmaster. His vocals are another story - the guy's vocal style is usually compared to a half-asleep Neil Young, and that sadly fits. Mascis isn't the greatest singer, but he manages to convey emotion and sound like the stoner next door. It's that kind of somewhat friendly, but very disassociated quality that makes his vocals on these songs work. I can't really imagine anyone else singing these songs, which is a compliment. He sounds like he's singing to himself in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm.

The rhythm section is fantastic - truly heavy, yet truly melodic. Lou Barlow's basslines are extremely distorted, chunky, and chordal, bringing tons of personality to the already unique songs; "In a Jar" is his finest moment on the record, as he pretty much IS the song, playing lead bass for most of it. He also contributes the last two songs, the very angry and depressed "Lose" and the where-are-my-meds freakout of "Poledo." The drummer, Murph, definitely kicks a lot of ass, but in a totally non-punk way: more like a very heavy classic rock drummer. There are no hardcore rhythms to be found here, at all. That's funny; for a band that's supposed to have a background in hardcore, they don't sound like they've ever played hardcore in their lives...not that they need to, on an album this good.

It's hard to pick a best song here; any songs on the first side would do. "Little Fury Things," "Kracked," "Sludgefeast," and "The Lung" are all confused, heavy, and brilliant songs with tons of melody and distortion. The second side is almost as good. The last track, "Poledo," is completely out of place, but it is one terrifying song. Well, you can't really call it much of a song; more like a nursery rhyme played from inside an insane asylum and a scary avant-garde sound collage forced to crossbreed. The album states that "Lou and Lou alone" did it all with "two crappy tape recorders in his bedroom," or something like that. I bet Mascis didn't want to associate himself with it. Still, it's very compelling. The one track I'd say is a little less than the others is...well, I would say "Lose," but that actually is a really good song; it's just that Lou's vocal is a little on the "look-at-how-hard-I-emote" side. It's a good vocal, but that kind of singing just isn't my thing. It's really hard to pick highlights when an album is this consistent. The bonus track tacked on at the end, a cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," really doesn't fit in; the production is much cleaner and it isn't as loud, but J's vocal is really good, and Lou's ukelele is a great touch. I also like the shouted "NO!!!" parts.

If you're into indie or grunge at all, you should buy this. It could blow your mind.

(*several months later*)

This is an album that makes one hell of a good first impression, but then, after you hear it a little more, it kind of tapers off.

I still think it's a good album, but not as good as I used to. Mascis is, on a technical level, certainly a guitar god: but there's very little emotion in there. I do love his technique, though. As far as singing goes...I hate to say it, but would it have killed Mascis to have put a little more effort into it? Lou Barlow's "Lose" is okay, but certainly nothing more than that (plus that vocal is whiny), and "Poledo" is certainly creepy, but I don't know how out-and-out good the thing actually is. It apparently helped him finally get laid, so more power to him, but man...I don't like listening to it.

The first side is still pretty much unassailable; the second side does fall off, however.

Without question, this is the best Dinosaur Jr album.

Add your thoughts?

* Bug - SST 1988. *
Rating = 10

Although You're Living All Over Me is the critically acclaimed classic, I actually like this one better. Honestly, the albums are almost exactly alike except for two key differences: (1) the guitar noise on this one is hilariously overblown, especially in the gorgeous "No Bones" and the...eh...ungorgeous "Don't," and (2) this one doesn't have "Lose" - or any other losers, for that matter (tee hee, so sharp!). Almost every song is melodically beautiful regardless of the sonic ugliness, and bright little touches like a driving slide guitar in "Let It Ride" and double-tracked high-and-low vocals in "Budge" give it a cleaner, poppier feel than you'll find in the endless mudbath of the last record.

Even though these cleaned-up effects, as well as the hardly-distorted-at-all ballad "Pond Song," now sound like forebearers of the generic mainstream crap to come, in 1988 they were exciting indications of a musically-maturing young band testing out some scary new waters. And it would still be a couple of years before they really started to s(t)ink.

So enjoy Lou Barlow's final estranged scream to the band that tried to break his spirit: "WHY DON'T YOU LIKE ME????" He quit soon thereafter.

Reader Comments

keeblin@iwaynet.net (Jamie Clark)
For the record, Lou was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr, He didnt quit. But He's gone thats the important thing...

on_the_brink@hotmail.com (Bob Blair)
The cowboy junkies' "The Post" sucks; just wanted to add that. This album is too short and you can only listen to "Don't" so many times before your brain is fried.

I agree with Jamie; J didn't need Lou. He sucks and seems like an asshole.

michaelh@cse.unsw.edu.au (Michael Huynh)
BUG really sways. It's pure, definitive Mascis. Every track except "Don't" is exceptional.

Gotta agree with your other reader reviewers; Bug is alright, but it doesn't APPROACH You're Living All Over Me. The latter is one of those albums you'd pick if'n you were gonna live on an island for the rest of your life and you only had 10 CD's to....

strider@redrose.net (David Straub)
Again, I read and buy, and again, i'm blown away. This album is awesome. Never again will I dismiss this band. I have to say that J's voice doesn't even *bug* me too much here. And i really love the way Lou's bass is pumped up almost as loud as J's guitar. Even taking the overdub factor into account, this is one impressive noise for three guys.

I love "Freak Scene" (who doesn't?). I got to see them Live at First Avenue last month. It would Have been cooler if J didn't hide behind his hair the whole time. It still ruled.

jseal@ix.netcom.com (Sean)
When speaking of such things as "The Post" and "The Cowboy Junkies" the word 'suck' should not be thrown around as such. I am however, pleased to see the author of that statement probably spent 15 dollars on a beautiful cd that he may be incapable of enjoying.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Sometimes, when I'm really drunk and this album is playing really loud, I think J. is God. But then I get sober, and then the hangover comes, and then I realize that slack genuis only comes once. And after it comes, it's flaccid city, man. Post-coital blues. And you wonder what the hell happened! You want to get it up again. But no. No. Next comes fucking Green Mind, the ultimate fucking bore except for the fact that he kept making more records even more boring. So sad. But, hey, Bug and Living are great, and really that's enough isn't it? Well, isn't it? So, it's kinda like a transitory, temporary, pseudo-god thing. Trans-Bacchus reincarnate, we worship thee! Woo hoo! On your slacker McJob feet, or on your skater-punk padded knees, man.

Bug rocks tha house. Sure, it ushered in "generic mainstream crap", but this was alternative at its absolute best. "Freak Scene" (and "Touch Me, I'm Sick" and "Slack Motherfucker") is the definitive pre-modernrock (as I refer to it -- not pre-grunge, b/c there never really was a grunge movement besides Nirvana; all the rest of the popular Seattle bands were a bland version of grunge) single. It's too bad Dinosaur Jr suck now and you have to be semi-embarrassed to include this classic as one of your faves (at least where I'm from). But it's great. "Don't" is the best song to blow out your speakers to or to get your roommate to leave. and I like "The Post"! score: 9

Awesome album. I definatly agree with you, Prindle, that this is the better album. The last album sounds more punkish, but this is more rockish/poppish, which i perfer over the last one, even though You're Living All Over Me is definatly a great album as well. My favorite songs would have to be "The Post" (i agree the Cowboy Junkies version isnt as good as Dino Jr's but it still not too bad at all) and "No Bones". Awesome grungy songs, and J's voice is at an all time high. Love "Freak Scene", and "Pond Song" as well. A Definate 10 score here.

"Freak Scene" let's everyone know that You're Living All Over Me wasn't a fluke. Had Bug been released before "Living," we might be calling this one the "classic." It is in my book, and I have to admit that didn't miss Lou with this one (later albums are another story). If only someone would have heeded J's plea to "don't let me fuck up," they would have told him to avoid the indulgent stuff (mellotrons for christsake) that started to pop up more and more after this, Dino's last great album.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Quite a few classics on this one; one that is not such a thing is "Don't". It doesn't sound like a song you should take too seriously and that's probably why they put it in as the last track which I have to thank them for (I'd have to pick up the stupid remote to click to the next track or at times even worse; get up from the bed to click on that button) while at the same thinking about how it's better with all those albums that know when to quit it instead of milking it with a song like "Don't" or the obvious teardripping balad or having a secret song or just a whole buncha minutes of useless space that is not followed up by any secret song.Plus the last songs always must be the longest..I'll tell you an album that ends up really good; Dirt by Alice In Chains...'cause if you ask me "Would?" is just another rock song among others and why it's so much more popular than other AIC songs..well I just don't know. Actually "Don't" starts off really cool like a big heavy psychedelic number, but maybe I should still be glad that they didn't do what in itself would have been the right thing to do (to build on that intro and make a real song out of it instead of a lotta noise) because frankly I'm fed up with all the heavy bluesy stuff.

I love "No Bones" no matter how lame J is when he sings about how he can't go through it..it's genious and actually better than "Freak Scene" which atleast in the year 2001 sounds like the obvious indie rock number that all the happy slim teenage kidz dig-nevertheless it's a classic. Well this album just proves that J Mascis is a genius...I'd give it a ten.

The masterpiece! (or Another masterpiece? the last one was pretty great. the next one will be pretty great) I don't know why artistdirect.com describes this as "Relatively cleaner-produced and more accessible than You're Living All Over Me" - the exact opposite is true! The production is earsplittingly painful at times and the songs are buried in ridiculous amounts of overdubbed guitars. But it's G R E A T !!! ! ! I will never tire of this record, or the previous one. This one has some of the most interesting guitar playing and sub melodies you will hear in the genre. Hell, when it came out, there was no genre. There probably still isn't. Why don't they make 'em like Bug anymore? The White Stripes you say??? Third-rate AC/DC wannabees in comparison! Here's a little recipe for making your own Superbug album: start the album with the acoustic version of Throw Down (from the Deutch bonus 7"), then on side 2 after "Pond Song", throw on "Keep The Glove" (b-side to the "Freak Scene" single), and before "Don't" put the entire "Just Like Heaven" EP and then the album ends with the double-whammy of "Chunks" and "Don't".

A truly great album and sadly the only one by them I own...I did listen to You're Living All Over Me off of some random person's shared music folder in a coffeehouse with wireless internet though, but only once...enjoyed it a lot, and must get it. I've listened to this one a bunch though, and I would give it a solid 9. Solid songs, amazing production, awesome guitar tone..jangle-friendly but with a sharp, noisy edge to it. "Yeah We Know" goes on for too long though and so does "Don't"...almost 6 minutes? Jesus...I do enjoy those songs, but after a while they get tiresome. Saw these guys play at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill last night at a volume so high I almost shit myself...and they rocked. Great show. They played a lot of this earlier stuff too and did a GREAT job with "Freak Scene", "The Post" and "Just Like Heaven". While I was watching one of the shitty opening bands play, I just happened to look up to the upper right corner of the stage, where a mixer and a soundguy could be found...and here comes Lou Barlow!! He watched the band for less than a minute and went back backstage. It was from a distance and I realized I could have been mistaken, so I asked some people, and apparently Merge records is re-releasing a bunch of their albums and in celebration, the original line-up is playing shows again! What a great show! Lou was playing extremely well and aggressively not to mention beating the SHIT out of his bass, Murph's drumming was as thundering and precise as ever, and J. Mascis played some solos that had intoxicated me spun halfway around the world. Judging from their set up, I think they've set new standards from how many huge Marshall stacks you can fit on one stage....just a wall of amps. Awesome album. I'm going to purchase the debut and You're Living All Over Me very soon.

"The Post" might be their most gorgeous song. "Don't" is slightly jarring, but I view it as Dinosaur Jr.'s "L.A. Blues"; nothing else would have done. If you haven't heard these guys yet, start here or with YOU'RE LIVING ALL OVER ME.

Add your thoughts?

Fossils - SST 1991.
Rating = 8

Three good singles tossed together for cheapass consumers like my cheapass butt. It includes one great song from each of the last two LPs, plus a hardcore cover that's thirty-eight trillion times tougher than any of their "punk" originals (which are stone col' wussy, homeslice), a couple of decent B-sides and a cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven." Not breathtaking, but just short and varied enough to be awfully entertaining - like the short, varied penis of a lonely circus dwarf.

Reader Comments

on_the_brink@hotmail.com (Bob Blair)
"Just Like Heaven" from Dinosaur rules so much - J's voice, the solo and everything about it. Too bad it's so damn short.

I gotta agree with Joe on this one.

hurst@bbs.tsf.com (Rick Bromley)
I think THE CURE should thank dinosaur jr for doing "Just Like Heaven". Lou Barlow rips it up on the ukelele.

Add your thoughts?

Green Mind - Sire 1991.
Rating = 7

The sell-out album. Lou's gone, and with him the heavy, personality-filled bass that made their best moments so noticeably thick and murky. Also gone is any respite from the whiny vocal stylings of Mr. Mascis, which are getting quite tiresome at this point. Not gone, however (not yet, anyway) is aforementioned minstrel's knack for coming up with a catchy melody or five. "The Wagon" is a bonafide classic (if you define the word "classic" as "a song Mark Prindle likes a lot") and possibly the most energetic, fist-thumping pop song ever released on Sire Records, aside from the entire Ramones catalog. The rest of the songs don't quite reach this level, but the lovely Zeppelin-esque "Flying Cloud" and "Thumb" stick in your ear a lot longer than you'd expect such hideously-vocalized songs to manage, and "Water" is darn near perfect, as far as minor-key melancholia goes.

A few of the others are pretty weak and the singing is almost universally godawful, but as a whole, it's actually a fairly worthwhile listen. Not as unceasingly rewarding as the last two, but still filled to the brim with warm fuzzies...

...with big teeth and ravenous jaws, getting ready to bite off your head and squeeze it into a liquidy pulp as blood shoots out from your neck, drowning the furniture in a crimson tide of hideous gore.

Reader Comments

vanduyne@aldus.northnet.org (Van Duyne)
Sell out album, hm? I bet you're a cutie.

on_the_brink@hotmail.com (Bob Blair)
This was the first D Jr album I bought and I was hooked and went back and bought the others and fell in love with J's guitar playing and vocals. So what if this isn't as heavy as BUG or YLAOM and why do you keep making fun of J's voice? It rules. I barely heard Sebadoh in my life but I know Lou sucks.

draplin@empnet.com (Aaron James Draplin)
Hello, no fighting here. I just wanna say that Green Mind is my favorite album of all time. "Water"...man, that's gotta be one of the finest songs ever to grace our ears. J will always be my favorite...as will Lou and the boys.

hurst@bbs.tsf.com (Rick Bromley)
I'm gonna have to agree with aaron on that,seBADoh rocks

jarede@siu.edu (Michael)
Don't get me wrong, I love Sebadoh and Lou Barlow, but Green Mind is by far the second best album by Dino Jr. Anyone care to comment on "Water" as a symbol for society in general? Green Mind is the most listenable album...a summer day, an ex-girlfriend and a bottle o' beer. Any girls out there who dig it? Word to J., get back to this music and the earlier albums' soundz!!!

I loved this album - "puke and cry," "how'd you pin that one on me," etc. etc. etc. "Water" is my favorite.

khrystynah@hotmail.com (Khrystynah Foster)
um, not to go off on a tangent or anything, but i used to like this album, i mean a lot. and then one of my friends noticed how much i look like this girl on the cover. once the word got out everyone agreed and they bought me the shirt to wear so they could do comparisons and shit. pissed me off. i would go to parties and people that i didn't even know would ask me to hang a cigarette out of my mouth for them. sick! besides, that girl is like four anyway. yeah, so i trashed the albumn after that.

strider@redrose.net (David Straub)
I just wanna point out that the Replacements put out some pretty cool stuff on Sire.

"Thumb" and "Water" are both awesomely beautiful. And the soloing on "The Wagon" is about as good as any I've heard.

azitelli@stevens-tech.edu (Andrew Zitelli)
just awful J. say it aint so. a zero!!!!

And here's where it all ends. J. made his bed with this one and now he has to sleep in the shit he created. It was with this album that myself (and a lot of Dino supporters) stopped buying anything new. It had nothing to do with the jump to the majors; it had everything to do with the songs. Not a bad album by any means...Just not a classic album like the previous two.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
"Flying Cloud" maybe,but "Thumb" is definitely not a Led Zeppelin rip-off, how come this band gets the credit for everything you do as a rock n roll band ? so anytime someone picks up an instrument that sounds like some kind of flute,it's a Led Zeppelin inspired song ? "sell-out" album is a bit harsh,even if it has a point...J's vocals wouldn't get that bad until the next album. Other than that,I pretty much agree with you...but how come I'm the only one who thinks that the title track is absolutely beautiful ? I can't listen to the choruses without gettin' moody and yet everyone are only talking about "The Wagon" and "Water" (is Water even that good at all?). 7/10.

mark, your review of this record is dead-on. green mind was my intoduction to dinosaur jr. and i think it's a damn good collection of songs (water is one their best and thumb is a quirky favorite). that said, it was the beginning of the end. whatever he may have been, untalented, annoying, lou's absence left a void in their sound. gone is that obnoxious driving bass, the punk attitude, the desperation to be heard. with green mind it became a vehicle for mascis. the tension between lou and j. is what makes "you're living all over me" and "bug" their best records. the last "replacements" record was not a band effort. pink floyd has long been a familiar moniker for david gilmour. same with d. jr. if you prefer their early records you should think twice about dismissing barlow and his seemingly abrasive personality. opposites often work very well. compare any lennon or (especially) mccartney album to the beatles.

1991 was an interesting year for music. Dinosaur split into 2 bands, each doing something great - Dinosaur sans Lou Barlow, and Sebadoh v2.0 electric. This was before the Nirvana explosion, and in these naive early 90s, J Mascis, whose name I dreamed was Jennifer, got signed by a major label with what sounded like THE best record deal ever - no producer or rules or anything - just hand over a master tape and label put it out. I don't know if that was the actual deal, but it sounds pretty sweet! And so does this record - miles away from Bug, this is (for indie rock) extremely tight and clean sounding, but not in a commercial way, rather from good musicianship and clean production. This seemed to be the mecca of indie rock. The songs are creative and inspired - gone is the murk of the previous 2 albums, but the power is still there. Sadly this would be the last truly great record by Dinosaur (in my humble opinion). By this record it was pretty much the J. Mascis solo project and the lack of outside of ideas would kill the creativity. The next one had a couple catchy tunes, but mainly was a boring re-tread of this album. After that I just lost interest, there would be a good tune or 2 but no longer did it seem to be artistic and creative, just more of the same old. After all, how do you improve on perfection? For this style, Green Mind broke the mold, and creative bands should never re-cast themselves using molds, else mold and mildew grow. Three years later Kurt Kobain would blow himself away and indie rock would start to seem a pretty bleak deal (great success leads to... this?) After this record, Dinosaur put out a good EP with a semi-Bowie cover (The Wagon II or something) and some semicreative outtakes, but pretty much Sebadoh carried on the torch.

hamr0040@mrs.umn.edu (Chris T. Hamrin)
RE your comment that "The Wagon" was, besides the Ramones, the only good stuff Sire has ever put out I have to say the followwing: Sire records had some pretty sweet singles actually. They started out as a punk label. I am sure you know this Mark Prindle. We got this comp this summer at my college radio station (www.KUMM.org) called New Wave for the next generation and it had The Wagon along with other stone cold good songs like Teenage Kicks by the Undertones, Shake Some Action by The Flamin' Groovies, Bastards of Young by the Replacemats, Psycho Killer by the Talking Heads, I could go on as there are other top notch songs also. Point being, I know part of your schtick is making stuff up and pretending to be an asshole and using toilet humor in new and interesting ways but Sire was cool even after they got bought by Warner Bros. The end.

j.cocozza@ntlworld.com (James Anthony Cocozza)
Question: Have any of you idiots slagging off Lou actually heard Sebadoh?

Bakesale, III and Harmacy utterly piss over every single Dino J release.

This is what DIY music is all about and surely one of the most off-beat indie masterpieces from one of those little States in the good ol US of A. When I hear Water, i want for nothing, and the romanticism, yes romanticism, and world weariness of Green Mind is beyond compare, so much so that the album is uplifting. After this one, I truly felt that I knew J., which is about as close to what the album is all about as I can guess. Oh yeah, and the guitar playing, well, puts a smile on my face everytime. Who would have thought that slacker humour could ever be translated into ....shards of guitar. Bye the way, the album cover has never been equalled by the boys.

Add your thoughts?

Whatever's Cool With Me EP - Sire 1992.
Rating = 7

A playful follow-up containing a couple of covers and not a thing to suggest the artistic nosedive that they were about to take. A decent record, this. If you liked that last album, you'll definitely have no problem sitting through this one. It pretty much sounds like the next twenty minutes of a non-existent extended dance version of Green Mind. Catchy, but a little messy, but still poppy, though maybe just a little too obvious to be considered clever. Catch us if you can (Dave Clark Five), but a little too clean (Soul Asylum), mess of my (The Fall), but still the one (Orleans) pop music (M), though maybe maybe (Pavement), just a little (Beau Brummels) too tough (Rolling Stones) obvious (Jane's Addiction) sad to be (D.R.I.) consider me gone (Sting) kissing to be clever (Culture Club).

Reader Comments

on_the_brink@hotmail.com (Bob Blair)
This album shows just how alternative d jr is with "the little baby" and "pebbles and weeds;" the extended solo on "thumb" live is incredible - I wish i was at that show.

I never thought that anyoneone could do a good Bowie cover (Prime example -- Nirvana with that awful, awful version of 'The man who sold the world'-- but J's version of Quicksand fucking makes me cry every time that I hear it. This is worth buying just for that song.

Add your thoughts?

Where You Been - Sire 1993.
Rating = 4

Embarrassingly generic. Only the dark rocker "Out There" and weirdly falsettoed "Not The Same" (I think that's the name of it) recall the pleasant poppy fields of Green Mind. The rest bring to mind nothing but blank space and maybe some crappy '90s Neil Young ("Downtown," for example). There are way way way too many ugly guitar solos and way way way too few worthwhile melodies. Faceless. Dull. And "I Aint Sayin'" sounds like a rip-off of the E.T. theme, for Pete's sake. If you like your rock predictable, look no further. Farther? Father?

Reader Comments

keeblin@iwaynet.net (Jamie Clark)
Hello there, Calling Where You Been embarrassingly generic is pretty sad indeed. Leftovers from Green Mind? Where You Been doesn't sound anything like Green Mind, whatsoever. If anything, Without A Sound sounds like leftovers from Green Mind, not Where You Been.

rokarimov@vassar.edu (Rouslan Karimov)
Okay, say what you want but I think that your review is way out of line. Everyone knows that J Mascis is God and Where You Been kicks ass! How can you not love "What Else Is New"? I just don't understand? I know we are all entitled to our opinions but I don't think I've ever diagreed with one more. I've been a BIG Dinoaur Jr fan for almost eight years now and I credit this album as a definite delight to their collection. It may not be You're Living All over Me but it still is wonderful!

hufpaint@radiks.net (Alan Mansfield)
I don't think i could have said it better than Rokarimov@Vassar--"What Else is New" is the shit. Although I agree with you that guitar solos are gratuitous (sic) at best; nobody, but nooooobody can bend a string like J.Mascis (see Ace Frehley tab).----you are a tough audience.

Ian's Old Roommate
It's too bad your musical taste comes from your ass; otherwise you would realize that Where You Been is perhaps one of the most emotionally stirring albums of all time. As for both J's lyrics and music, it's called being "subtle"; he lets you identify with his music in whatever way you choose to. And as for solos, I hate them too; all but J's.

They (he) were more tone conscious on this album than any of its predecessors. Every sound, every nuance was signature, and was meant to be there. This is their first album to look past just chords, and pay attention to minutia. Too many big words for you, cutie?

You're a bunch of Lou kissers and can't see that this is better than most everything else out there; the solos on "Get Me" and "Drawerings" are absolutely beautiful!

I have just recently got into Dinosaur Jr. and haven't heard two of the albums you've talked about, but I have no idea how you can call Where You Been dull. I think J Mascis is a lot more creative than all those copy cat bands that are getting all of the music world's attention. Several times you've called J's guitar playin sloppy; I disagree. I think J is a great guitar player. Most of the bands nowadays have trouble pushin' out power chords.

J's lyrics rule.

whitwill@hotmail.com (Steven Whitwill)
You are a funny person. Where You Been was my introduction into Dinodom, and the sincerity of this record, along with its slightly more complex songs, make it the best LP they've done besides the SST stuff. Even the outtakes from this album, like "Turnip Farm", are gawdfreakin' amazing. Green Mind is a pile of shit unless you appreciate guitarness, which I don't.

Both Lou and J were assholes to each other, which made them make great music, but I forgive them both. Interesting: after Lou left Dino, HIS records started getting better and J's started getting worse.

You are sooo stupid. Get the "Start Choppin" single and listen to "Turnip Farm" and forget it. Both songs are amazing, as is Where You Been as a whole. You are a dumb piece of shit, you stupid fuckin retard.

ahrenlw@MIT.EDU (Ahren Lembke-Windler)
Normally, I would never even think of replying to anything on a computer, but I felt in this case that it was necessary. Where You Been is possibly the best album OF ALL TIME. Anyone who listens to it with no preconceived notions will tell you the same. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE relisten and rereview the album because you seem smart and you're truly missing the whole the point of this album, and I feel bad for you.

I bought the record with absolutely zero knowledge of dinosaur jr. The first thing that impressed me was the way in which J creates a mood with his music. It reminded me in a way of Edgar Allen Poe's theory of creating a tone with language. After a few listens I finally noticed all of the guitar solos. Although I'm not a fan of overblown guitar heroics, I love J's solos because they fit so well into the mood of the song. I think the most impressive thing about the album is the way in which it flows from one song to the next. It builds upon each song and seems almost to be continuous work. I hope you consider relistening to it; hopefully you'll be rewarded. Then again, all my friends hate Dino Jr, so I guess it's all opinion.

I'm so sorry you feel this way. Where You Been is one of the greatest albums I've ever bought. This is the record in which J has the most to say. It is incredible and the guitar solo on "Get Me" is one of the best guitar solos ever written. The lyrics for "Going Home" are some of the best lyrics ever written.

michaelh@cse.unsw.edu.au (Michael Huynh)
Lyrically beautiful.. and the guitar solos are so fucking emotional. His guitar actually cries out whatever words you make them out to be. Where You Been wasn't made as simply a piece of music for critics to rate; it's a whole "experience" for us to feel.

This is probably the best "guitar" album J. ever made. Listen to the transition in the solo to "Start Choppin" at about 2:45 and tell me it's not one of the finest moments in music.

jhughes@cablesoft.co.uk (Jason Hughes)
How you can say this about one of the greatest albums of all time, I DON'T know. When I bought this CD a good couple of years ago, I was told by the guy in the shop that this album would become the most adored in my collection, and FUCK wasn't he right. I think you might have got your album names mixed up here, don't you?

khyrystnah@hotmail.com (Khrystynah Foster)
okay, so this album is totally mtv and all but i like it. you have to watch yourself with it. if you're an avid drinker and you just got the boot from your female or guy, i suggest stay the fuck away from this. "what else is new" has stolen my pride a few times. eck!

hurst@bbs.tsf.com (Rick Bromley)
You must not have listened to the solo on "Get Me" - it's the greatest damn thing I've ever heard. With the exception of "Drawerings" on MARTIN & ME.

mccort@1st.net (anna hitler)
i'd like to say a big "fuck you" for giving this kickass album such a terrible rating. everything on this album is pure gold. it's some of j's best work.

blank_stair@yahoo.com (Jason Ephraim)
When i first heard where you been i thought it was the most amazing album in the world . Of course was 15 and had yet to hear sonic youth , the fall , melvins , tar or anything remotely interesting. I continued to love this album until last year when my girlfriend threw on your living all over me. After hearing it i saw wwhere you been for what it truly was , 70's rock with lazy ass vocals disguised as sincere indie rock. After Lou's departure the band lost most of it's creative edge and put out a series of generic rock records . I don't miss j and his whining one bit.

I hate to add insult to injury, but you have to be completely numb to experience this album like you did. J's giutar style matured to a perfect blend of fucked-up emotional push and beautiful virtuoso type slap in the face, whatever, you know what I'm trying to say, even though I don't have perfect grammar to do it with. This is J at his best, at his musical best anyway. The only problem that I see with the album is the somewhat dull lyrics (exception - what else is new).

Yeah this album is pretty boring, predictable rock. I'll agree with ya there. I do like "Get Me", "Start Choppin'", and "I Aint Sayin'" a lot though (even though it DOES sound like the ET theme! Everytime i listen, i always think of your review and laugh cuz its so true, but i like it anyways). "Out There" and "Not The Same" are pretty cool too. The rest are OK, but they could do a lot better than this. 5/10

From the previous postings, you're getting your ass beat on this one! I'm not touching the guitar thing since J. can run circles around most of the people that prompted him to plug in to begin with. I find it funny how many of the postings declare this effort as their first introduction to Dino. And most people quickly forgot Dino after MTV stopped doing the payola "Buzz Bin" shit and canceling their Sunday night ghetto programming called "120 Minutes." Case in point: I've seen more copies of this thing (and later efforts) used and for good reason: It is a generic Dino album. Another case: I went to my trusty independently owned record store to pick up J's latest More Light. The owner, who has impeccable taste in music, matter of factly states "We don't have it. There just hasn't been much demand for Mascis stuff in the past five years." Do the math. Epilogue: I did get a (used) copy of More Light in Chicago about a month after it was released, and it's the best thing Mascis has done since Bug.

lard_arse20@hotmail.com (Keith Harvey)
What the hell you on about????????????? do you not know yr music???? Where You Been? was the best dinosaur album until hand it over came out! Yeah it's dark and a bit gloomy at times but thats all his emotions pouring out to create an exellent album. MTV-ness? yeah, it is in the way it was produced but thats good production that you cant fault, i'd love to produce like that. Faceless and dull are not words i would ever use for this album, i think you might have been speakin about yourself there. Also whats the low rating on Dinosaur - Dinosaur for? Yet another great album doesn't deserve such a low grade!

r u a dinosaur fan or a here'say fan?

p.s. i totally agree with Khrystynah Foster, exept with "goin home" - The best dino song ever!

bozman123@yahoo.com (Cole Bozman)
horrid singing. the songs NEVER END!! they just keep going and going, obliterating any chance of them not being awful. "Out There" is a decent tune, but the rest...ugh. I paid 50 cents for this tape, and I think that was too much. I give it a 2. oh, and J. Mascis' soloing style is *not* that interesting. if I want boring feedbackey pentatonic wanking, I'll listen to Neil Young.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Where it took a while for me to get this, and I never thought that it could be as bad as the 4+ you gave it. I figured I should wait and see if I'll change my mind after listening to this more, but it's so uninteresting that I haven't been able to get in the mood for listening to all of it one more time.

What disturbed me most at first listen is the vocals, who the hell does J think he is? why would we wanna keep hearin' his NAAAG... it may have worked earlier, but now it's so close to your speakers that it just sounds terrible, and is totally out of place in the more polished mixing.

Yes, "Out There" is one of the better tunes, but I'd already heard another faster bootleg version (Stockholm'98, with the same title) which makes this one sound lame, although the studio version has the cool guitar effects... but still that bootleg indicates how Dinosaur Jr could have sounded if they hadn't gone with the major lables. I'd also have to disagree with all the writers here who talk about how amazing J's solos are on this album - they're not. All the talk about how one generally doesn't like guitar solos, says a lot about why these solos have been so overrated; maybe you should recheck your rock 'n roll history; 'cause what are you comparing these solos to anyway? There's nothing genius or outstanding about them...they're simple melodic solos, without the experimental aspects of the SST albums. You could still have some fun with this record, "Start Choppin'" is a catchy tune with a very catchy (but not amazing) guitar solo...and the same could be said about "What Else Is New" but that embarrassing string section totally ruins it at the end. 5/10.

irontyrant@earthlink.net (Michael Grefski)
Mark you have gone deaf. "Out There?" "Start Choppin'?" "What Else Is New?"...some of the band's best songs ever. I just don't get it...

ksmallwave@hotmail.com (James Campbell)
dude, how do you give an album such a high rating and turn around saying "his voice doesn't bother me that much on this release"? either you like it or you don't, dumbass. at least you recognize "bug" and "youre living all over me" as some of the best shit ever put out. like many of you, Green Mind was definetely the last respectable Dino Jr. album. and a damn good one at that. I saw Dino Jr. 3 times since "where you been" came out (93'-94' maybe 95'?). Once was at Lollapalooza in New Oreans, which was the shortest set, maybe 9 or 10 songs total. i think it was cut short because people started throwing their cups n' shit on stage. man, to witness J mascis ripping through distorted solos and crunching riffs with a stack of 6 marshall cabinets behind him... fuck, that man can put on a show!!! seeing them play at Tipatinas in New Oreans was the best!! i will forever relish the fact that i stood (tried to, anyway, it was getting kinda rough) in front of the stage and had my ears pummled by songs such as "budge", "little fury things" , "kracked", "the wagon" and so on. those ledgendary songs take on a whole new meaning while watching J mascis hoppin around, WAILLING on an already beat up jazzmaster!!! its to bad those days are forever gone. we'll never here another album worth buying from J Mascis again. shit, we have a better chance with Kevin Sheilds putting out another My BLoodly Valentine release. thanks guys for helping me relive the days when Dinosaurs truly roamed the musical landscape. i think ill go dig up "youre living all over me" out of my collection and listen to it on the way to check out the surf.
damn, i wish i had "bug" on cd.

mabewa@yahoo.com (Matthew Ward)
I have a serious bias towards this album--came out in '93, when I was dealing with a major relationship malfunction by hitchhiking around Washington State. Amazing how nice people are when they pick you up--they almost always offer to get you high! Anyway, I was that freaked-out looking dude on the cover, thumb in the air, running away from everything. This album was the soundtrack to my personal little movie.

To me, this was a big comeback after the so-so "Green Mind." It was the last album that they did as a band rather than as a J. Mascis solo deal, with a real bass player and with Murph still on drums. The sound is waaay better and more beefed up than on GM--really sounds like a band rather than J. Mascis overdubbing everything. (GM was pretty much all Mascis, with Murph only appearing on a few tracks). Plus, the songs are very good--they are pretty much all related to the freaked-out hitchhiker, running away, but, hey, most good songs are about relationship malfunctions, no? Good melodies, nice harmonies, that weird Neil-Young-meets-Sonic-Youth sound, a bit more mainstream than that of the killer 2nd and 3rd albums, but really not much lower than those masterpieces. I'd give it a high 8--their third and last really worthwhile album.

Generally agree with ya Mark but I gotta disagree on Where You Been. Not a major dino jr fan, but this cd is worth way more. It has a great expansive rock power to it. I love the solos too, real tennis racket stuff (cos I don't own a guitar)and it has, imho, a quality sturdy production job. Not overbearing Mutt Lange horrors, or i-hate-my-career underproduced Kurtisms, but a production that props up the rock without trying to sound like an extra annoying member of the band. I love the back art, with the shouting alien-looking creature. And I like the way it comes in, rocks, then goes. It doesn't muck about feeding us 5 good tracks, then 11 duffers (like most cds get padded out with now) - 10 tracks, bosh, I'm done.

This album does have a listless feel to it, that said i loved it when it came out but what would life be like if our tastes didn't improve? pretty depressing. 5/10

Do you not hear how the guitars explode in the beginning of 'Out There'? Certainly not J's best offering but way better than a four or whatever you gave it. I mean, when it came out it was a lot better than any other record that came out that day. Also, it sounds nothing like Green Mind which is something. So what if the video has him playing a guitar solo on top of a mountain, can't a guy play a friggin' guitar solo on a mountain anymore for Ronald McFuckingDonald's sake!? I do think it's funny how you called him out on the E.T. theme, it's totally true!

You are simply out of your mind on this one. Where you been, listened to on its own terms, is J Mascis taking a leap forward, full of texture, subtlety and a sound that needed to be born. I just love the thick, searing guitars and the beefy melodies that leave others cold. Have you not listened to Beyond, which you give 7, and would have been inconceivable without Where you Been, still one of the most underrated albums that I know of. I was so pleasantly surprised when I walked into a record store yesterday and it was playing, and I thought all was not lost.

Add your thoughts?

BBC In Session - Strange Fruit 1998
Rating = 8

I'm reviewing this CD near the end of 2005, long after Dinosaur Jr. became a boring terrible waste of everybody's ear space (and 8 years after I wrote the rest of this page). And as I sit here, I am flabbergasted, blown away, sonically zonkerized by what an incredible, wonderful band Dinosaur Jr. was when Lou Barlow was in the band. I'm not saying that it was solely his influence that made them great (what with J Mascis having written most of the songs and all), but jesus christ, what a PULVERIZING sound they had in their early years! The energy of punk rock merged with a distorted hyperactive bassist, noisy pummelling drummer and this huge wash of feedback and messy distorted guitarwork -- playing CATCHY, SMART melodies!

I know I've made this point many times before, but I'll go ahead and say it again for want of the price of tea and a slice; the old original definition of the term 'grunge rock' was music like this: filthy, messy, noisy, heavy sonic blasts of garbage with diamond hooks buried inside. It was music whose creators you could easily imagine drinking an entire bottle of whiskey, putting a V-8 engine in a tractor and driving through the front window of a grocery store. Grunge was NOT clean or slick or well-produced or faultless or radio-ready -- Nevermind, for example, was not a grunge album. It wasn't until MTV usurped the term that... etc etc etc. My point is that Dinosaur Jr. used to totally kick ass, both noisically and melodically.

If you choose to purchase this excellent slice of musical bread, your brain will pulse and reel to three songs from the debut, two each from You're Living All Over Bugs and Me, two non-LP tracks and one Where You Been. However, as always, the BBC engineers captured the band's sound as loudly and precisely as it was meant to be heard, giving the originally tepid debut album tunes that extra kick in the eyebutt they needed in order to become fully-fledged monster classics of the genre (or 'gender,' as Eminem pronounces it). You'll then note that eight of the ten tracks roar through your home with the combined power of J, Murph and Lou, while the remaining two tracks sound like two guys from Extreme playing an unplugged set. These would be a later 'Dinosaur Jr.' session conducted by J. and J. alone as far as I can tell (trebling himself on vocals, acoustic rhythm axe and lead guitar wank showoff bullshit). His voice sounds horrific on the later material as well; where the Lou-era vocals omobine energy, melody and sleepiness while being buried under the rumbling sound of a musical locomotive, the later ones stand starkly alone and rattle wheezily like an old Jewish man gargling glass and whining at the same time.

I don't really know the names of many Dinosaur Jr. songs, so I was quite pleased to shove the disc in my laser printer and hear the "I just wanna know what you're nice to me for" song and the "Embarrassed to be alive" one and ESPECIALLY the awesome "I'll be down; I'll be around" one. So if you like those, count me in!

Also, listen closely at the end of "Does It Float" for one of the poorest performances of the "Sweet Child O' Mine" riff this side of the current Guns 'N Roses line-up!

By the way, have any of you people ever heard of the movie Lady Terminator? Indonesian ripoff of The Terminator, but sleazier and stupider? Well mister, I watched it tonight and - okay, so it's about this woman with an eel inside her vagina that kills men by chopping their dicks off during sex, okay? But hold on, hold on - there's more. She's the Witch of the South Sea and she comes back to life 100 years later to avenge the man who stole her eel and turned it into a knife or something. I don't know. Look, the point is that if you don't believe in the phrase "So bad it's good," you haven't seen this movie. Never have more fake bullets been fired (just constant automatic weaponfire - for like a FULL HOUR! And LONG after they realize that the woman can't be killed!), never have voice-over actors seemed less in tune with their script (one character begins the film with a Southern accent, and ends it with a Brooklyn one!), never before have the same exact clips been reused over and over and over so many times in the same film, and never in history has a script been so unbelievably stupid (yet meant to be taken seriously!).

Let me give you just a few examples of this brilliant script:


(*man steels eel out of bad woman's vagina, turning it into a knife*)

Bad Woman: "You tricked me! In 100 years, I shall wreak revenge on your great-granddaughter!"



Eerie Old Librarian: "He who discovers the secrets hidden in this book shall suffer the Curse of the Witch of the South Seas!"

Woman: "I'm not afraid of curses. I'm an anthropologist!"

(*four minutes later*)

Crusty Old Sea Captain: "Are you sure you wanna go there, lady?"

Woman: "Yes, and stop calling me 'lady.' I'm not a lady; I'm an anthropologist!"


And finally, my favorite example - NUMBER C. And keep in mind that this is played entirely straight - it's meant to be taken seriously. Check out the cop's unbelievably insensitive and bone-headed response, followed by HER bizarre reaction to him -- My God! Ed Wood would have laughed at its inanity!

Crying lead woman (about a half-hour after her uncle and best friend have been murdered): "My parents both died when I was seven. I was raised by my Uncle Emol... and now he's gone. Mary Ann was my best friend... and now she's gone too! Everybody's gone... and I'm all alone!!!"

Sensitive cop/leading man: "It'll look brighter in the morning."

Crying lead woman: "DAMN YOU! Can't you see I'm crying for YOU?"

(*they have sex*)

Yes, those Indonesians sure know romance, and now you can too! (ebay)

Reader Comments

Yes, I DON'T know how to spell. And now, onto more important matters. You (Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh fans) are just wasting your time. That argument (Dinosaur Jr. vs. Sebadoh) is really not that relevant when I maniacally shriek these two words at you: DEEP WOUND! Didja here that, ya schmuck-holes? DEEP WOUND! Once more, for good measure? DEEEEEEP WOOOOOOUUUUUUNNNNNNDDDDDAAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!!!!! DEEP WOUND! Da, na na, na na na, na na naaaaa!!!!! DEEP WOUND! Hey Mark, you know what early '80's hardcore group you should review? Oh, that's right, you won't because you have a smelly ass and you're ugly and you were conceived in a house of ill repute.

In all the years I've had this one I figured "Leper" was the most awesome thing about it, because it really rocks and at the time the 2005 Dinosaur Jr reissues weren't available, so it was one of the debut album songs that I had not heard. I've heard the studio version now and I still prefer this one. That drum pause-ish thing on the first pre-chorus part is just too awesome.

The verse parts of "Raisans" also rock, more so than the rest of the song. Apart from "Leper" I think my favourite tracks are "Keeblin'" and "Does It Float". I guess they're all good, that version of "No Bones" naming one, but I can't really get in the mood for some of the songs, I think I've kind of out-listened YLAOM and Bug over the years because they're so damn good and only about 18-19 songs put together. Whatevs.

Mike Noto
"I was quite pleased to shove the disc in my laser printer and hear the "I just wanna know what you're nice to me for" song and the "Embarrassed to be alive" one and ESPECIALLY the awesome "I'll be down; I'll be around" one."

Those would be, in order -

1 - "In a Jar"
2 - "The Leper"
3 - "Raisans"

Sometimes nothing does the trick better than Dinosaur Jr. Great band. J's solos could stand to be more melodic most of the time, but I am still impressed by his technique as a soloist.

Add your thoughts?

Without A Sound - Sire 1994.
Rating = 3

...if only. Forty-six minutes of silence would be a lot more inspiring than this endless collection of cliched bullshit riffs. J.'s still trying to sound as tired as his guitar lines, and I'm still wishing someone bigger than me would just sock him in the tooth and shut him up. Bleah. He's even got a couple of solo albums, for Heaven's sake! Not that this isn't a solo album - even long-time drummer Murph departed after the '93 fiasco. This is just J. wankin' around like a bigshot. The lead-off track, "Feel The Pain," is a tickly springtime Sebadoh soundalike, but nothing else on here has any reason at all to exist. Overwhelmingly uneventful riffs leave a bitter metallic taste on your tongue as you begin wondering what you ever saw in this band in the first place.

Still wondering? Go listen to Bug or You're Living All Over Me. That is what you saw in them. So enjoy their past successes, and ignore their current suckasses.

Reader Comments

SYSOP.bbs@RedBrick.DCU.IE (Dermot Hanley)
Yikes you really didn't like Where You Been and Without A Sound, granted they didn't break any musical ground and with "Feel The Pain" J was definitely going for the radio-friendly i-want-to-be-rich feel, but having said that they're still way superior to most of the crap floating about in today's (alleged) music world. I notice you haven't reviewed his latest album offering of Martin & Me which is a solo acoustic effort (yip dinosaur jr goes acoustic.... surreal indeed).

keeblin@iwaynet.net (Jamie Clark)
Hello there, Calling Where You Been embarrassingly generic is pretty sad indeed. Leftovers from Green Mind? Where You Been doesn't sound anything like Green Mind, whatsoever. If anything, Without A Sound sounds like leftovers from Green Mind, not Where You Been. About "Feel The Pain" being a sebadoh rip-off song, how? Please explain this. If any album sounds sebadohish it would most likely be Bug or Dinosaur, not "Feel the Pain". I do not hate Lou Barlow.

meltdown@execpc.com (Three)
I'm standing behind Jamie in the fact that Dinosaur Jr is a good band.

cbibby@ms.stclair.con.ca (Christopher Bibby)
Yah , I just want to say a few things about the best band in the world. I have seen the band live and I have J.Mascis acoustic and he is the most talented, gifted songwriter/guitar player in the world!

Dinosaur jr. has NEVER ripped off Sebadoh. Period. You are a crackhead, and | am positive that you are one of a million Sebadoh fans that dedicate their lives to slagging Dino. Cuter all the time.

bill@1st-coast.com (William Vinton)
J. is fucking god you freak. You could possibly blow him and if you're lucky maybe he'll cum in your throat.

I must say, I agree with all of the above statements. You must be the biggest dumbass there is when it comes to Dinosaur Jr; you probably haven't even heard any of their stuff. I'm sick of trendy assholes like yourself who decide to go along with what other people say, never forming solid opinions of your own. Oh, and by the way, any person who had really taken the time to try to like Dinosaur Jr would have realized that the "J" in J Mascis has no period.

blocker@din.or.jp (
I met Dinosaur outside of a club in Tokyo, Japan where me and two of my friends were waiting for the show to start. He came up behind me and asked if I knew where he could get a bite to eat. So we took them all to Dairy Queen, (J doesn't care for ice cream). Not only is he the greatest musician of all time; he's a pretty cool person too. All their albums are rad, but J's solo album (Martin & Me) - it doesn't get any better than that.

Damn I'm an angry man! I can't believe that you guys can't show any respect for the best band to come out of Amherst since sliced cheese! Dinosaur Jr dramatically reflects the feelings and way of life for our generation and at the same time rocks out the eardrums of their listeners with hard psychedellic riffs. I suggest you give them another listen you lame ass critics.

dbtseed@theworks.com (D. Bruce Turnupseed)

joshdrak@ix.netcom.com (Joshua Drake)
Man oh man. I have a hard time reading your comments about the last two albums. But, as a mature person, I will let you have your opinion. I would like to say that J Mascis is the greatest guitarist of all time, bar none. Dinosaur Jr. is then, logically, the greatest band of all time. His playing has given me goosebumps time and again, and his singing fits the music perfectly. Who do you want to sing to the distorted wall of sound? A pretty boy like Chris Cornell? An asshole like Lou Barlow. Sebadoh sucks, not because of the J thing, but they just suck. I gave them a chance and saw them in concert. Lou is a spaz and their music was dreadful. Who cares if J "sold out?" Given half the chance, anyone would. Bands nowdays have a fraction of his talent, but make it HUGE. (No Doubt, Soundgarden) He still does what he does best. I've seen him both plugged and un. I will end the rambling by saying, again, he is the guitar god of the modern world.

dinoj@netcom.com (Psycho Boy)
Everyone else basically said everything I could've said. I just want to know when you're going to get your head out of your ass and figure out that Dinosaur Jr. rules?

dstraub@geosys.com (David Straub)
I'm not too into this record either. I'd say the best track here is "I Don't Think So"... nice subdued well-played pop song. Haven't heard the new one yet. J seems to need a hooky tune or two more per disc these days...

Dinosaur Jr are the best band in the world. J Mascis is the soundest bloke in the world. Dinosaur rocked at Reading '97. Dinosaur Dinosaur Dinosaur dinosaur are sound as fuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

j_fiero@hotmail.com (Josh Fiero)
Good Christ, are you J. Mascis fans sick! Oh really, J. MIGHT consent to cum in my throat? I should be so fuckin' flattered! You're nuts, every single person who told Prindle he is a terrible person because he doesn't think EXACTLY what you do about Mascis's guitar stylings is nuts, and the same goes for all those freaks out there who worship a musician, artist, writer, whatever, so completely that they consider a criticism of that artist an attack on the values they hold dear! Those who dislike Dinosaur Jr. are not automatically stupid, or unfit to give your precious guitar God oral ministrations. So fuck you, and everything you close-minded, Hare Krishna-like little weasels stand for.

irontyrant@earthlink.net (Michael Grefski)
OK for once I agree...this album was a big let down. EXCEPT for "I Don't Think So" which might just be my favorite song by this band ever...no wait..."Little Fury Things" is...no wait "The Wagon"...no, no...it's "Repulsion."

DPowel@mentorcorp.com (Daniel Powel)
Where You Been and Without a Sound are much better than you say (especially Where You Been-that was a one time one of my favorite albums).

However, these morons that keep insisting that J is a genius or greatest guitar player or wrote the best song or created the greatest album of all time or is jesus or something...

Add your thoughts?

Hand It Over - Sire 1997.
Rating = 4

More tedium. Over the past few albums, J has gotten excruciatingly predictable and oh so very goddamned dull. I was all excited when I first turned on the album and this cool heavy metal song with falsetto vocals came on, but within ten minutes, every song began sounding exactly like the last two albums again! Midtempo beats, simplistic chord changes, tired voice, and meandering guitar solos. I suppose if you're in the right frame of mind, it can sound very romantic, but I never get in that state of mind, so these songs just bore the hell out of me. They're not catchy or innovative or rockin' in any way, so what is the appeal supposed to be? As far as I can figure it, the appeal is "it sounds like Dinosaur Jr." And honestly, I can understand why that would be enough. Lord knows I love every Ramones album, basically because they all "sound like The Ramones." So let's just leave it at that. If you like this stuff, it's your funeral! Me, I'll just stick with some Dinosaur albums that don't have exactly three words in the title.
Reader Comments

ahrenlw@MIT.EDU (Ahren M. Lembke-Windler)
I got the new album and have given it about 4 listens. It took it 2 listens to grow on me, but now I love it. J experiments with so many different ideas and sounds, but not too much that it distracts from his solos etc. Not as good as Where You Been or Bug, but better than the previous effort.

norquin@sk.sympatico.ca (Bobby Dutcheson)
I got the New Dinosaur Jr album Hand it over and it really kicks ass!!!

For the record, Dinosaur Jr is one of the greatest and most emotionally SINCERE (we don't get that a lot nowadays) bands of our time and ALL of J's records are great, even Without A Sound, which contains the most depressing song ever ("Seemed like the thing to do") next to "The Eternal" by Joy Division... And just maybe should you hear the new record-Hand It Over-which is about as equal to YLAOM... J rules, asswipes!!

crevier@microtec.net (Louis Roy)
I was just reading this review & I took a notice about my last comment which is quite immature... Anyhoo, also for the record, opinions are like arseholes: everybody's got one... And, in case you didn't know, Dinosaur has "disbanded" so their new records will instead be J Mascis records.. big difference...

Prindle, you are SO right on this page. I cannot think of a band that started out with so much creativity and passion and so quickly degenerated into a major-label snoozefest. I do love Your Living All Over Me, and after I heard that album I decided to buy Hand It Over because it was their new one. I must have been stupid back then, because I actually liked it for a while there. But now it seems so godawfully boring. Every song is exactly the same. New Dino Jr. is nothing but overproduced glossy, whiny crap surrounding a long, indulgent guitar solo. But they started out so great, they did.

aowoso@ou.edu (Akin Owoso)
ok you guys--dinosaur jr kicks ass (and You're Living All Over Me IS their best album...) but come on--I realize J is a solid player but please, best of all time?? do you guys not know history--listen to anything by Hendrix--I'm tired of this crazy "Mascis is god" worship rubbish--don't worship people--but if you were all halfway sensible, you would at least realize that J pales in comparison to Hendrix...I can't believe I have to even remind you people of this

wella@mts.net (Settee)
Hand It Over- although I realize that many people who read this will probably hate me for such an opinion, I will make an attempt anyway. Perhaps I am one of the few people who liked Dino Jr. more as they got better production and bigger budgets. Although this may seem like a vast and utter no-no to those who like "indie" and underground music, particularly those who listen to You're Living All Over Me every single day, Prindle's "every song sounds the same" diatribe is further held up in greater magnification now---prompting the question: if all the songs sound the same, then why not just listen to ones that have the funds and budgets at their disposal to improve songs that are repetitive? To me, i'd rather hear J's guitar in full clarity- let's hear the tones that his Marshall amps can create. Let's hear those Gibson's cranked, with no "ghetto blaster" production values.

Yes, you probably disagree. Music is about emotion, blah, blah, blah. Most definetely, you are right. But can you not agree that the couple of thousand dollars that you, your friend, or J Mascis spends on their equipment, is better served, and justified, by actually having the money to get that sound on tape, so that people don't think that you recorded your goddamn album on a $50 Casio guitar, or a cheap-ass ghetto?

I can scream into a ghetto blaster about my last girlfriend that left me. It's emotive, right? Does that mean that I should release it, then?

Having said that, I must say that John Agnello's mixing on Hand It Over, is amazing. J Mascis creates his usual material of failed relationships, etc, and finally has the production to match his writing. Is the writing better than previous efforts? Not really- but I don't mean that in a bad way- as Dinosaur Jr. has always been about familiarity and comfort, having a "safe" place to come back to. I love J Mascis.

I always thought that there was nothing more annoying than a whiny indie-rock snob (well...I guess that's redundant since all indie-rock snobs are whiny), but after reading the reactions to anything resembling even the slightest bit of negativity in your Dinosaur Jr. reviews, I've come to find out that whiny Dinosaur Jr. snobs are about 25 times more annoying than the average indie rock snob.

As for the band itself...well, I think David St. Hubbins put it best when he said "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

New Dino Jr. album coming in Spring '07! First time since '89, the REAL Dinosaur, with J, Lou and Murph all together. There's are some nice details on Lou's page here: http://loobiecore.com/loobienews.html

Also good news for Sebadoah fans there... Dinosaur Jr. are also doing more tours... maybe they'll eventually play near you, wherever you are!

I agree with pretty much everything you have said on this page, including the review of Beyond, except I think you give Hand It Over short shrift. Hand It Over is pretty laid back, but it is not crappy like the proceeding two albums, and it is also a lot stronger than the J. Mascis and the Fog album. This gem really got lost in the shuffle, deserves reappraisal, etc.

This is the least good Dinosaur Jr. album. I do not think it got lost in the shuffle, or under-appreciated, or anything like that. It starts out perfectly fine with the rockin' "I Don't Think", but just fades steadily from there (briefly coming back to life with the likeable "Sure Not Over You"). Their other albums have bright spots all throughout them - even at the end they'd tuck in some really memorable tunes. Overall though, the songs on "Hand It Over" are fairly lifeless and the intervening years have done nothing to help my impression of this album.

Add your thoughts?

Beyond - Fat Possum 2007
Rating = 7

In this, my eleventh year as a shitty online record reviewer, it hurts me to read my early writings and realize how annoying my style used to be. It's probably even worse now, but it's too ingrained in my brain for me to notice just yet (ask me again in five years). When I get a chance, I usually like to clean these things up and pretend the original text never existed, but in this case I think I'll make an example out of myself. I hate these Dinosaur Jr. reviews - not because I disagree with the opinions expressed, but because they sound like they were written by a smug college radio DJ. Here, let's take an in-depth look at some of the mindblowing creative ideas I had when I was 23 years old:

- "if you're one o' them friggers that thinks, think Neil Young at his noisiest" - HA HA!!! That's great! I pretended that it's preferable to not think, and then I used the unorthodox slang term 'friggers'! Plus, what a great 'Twist-On-Cliche' I came up with there! And did you notice the apostrophe replacing the 'f' in "of"? AWESOME! I was KILLER! I was LITERALLY a KILLER!

- "When they're off, on the other metacarpus, they're the most generic classic rock wanna-bes since Survivor graced the airwaves oh so many eons ago." - Firstly, I understand why I substituted 'metacarpus' for 'hand,' because a metacarpus is in fact part of a hand, but that's no justification for doing something so stupid and unentertaining. Secondly, Survivor were balladeers - not "generic classic rock wanna-bes." And I knew this at the TIME! Could I just not think of an actual "generic classic rock wanna-be"? And thirdly, "oh so many eons ago." I am silenced by how unfathomably irritating that turn of phrase is.

- "Reefer-diggin' trio of youths pops out of Massachusey" - And I wonder why people call me a Lester Bangs ripoff. Note to budding writers: DO NOT BEGIN A SENTENCE WITH "REEFER-DIGGIN' TRIO OF YOUTHS POPS OUT OF MASSACHUSEY."

- "This stuff is one heck of a far cry, six, seven kilometers, perchance, from, the, inept, inept?, inept! amateurism that made the debut such a vacuum cleaner to sit through" - WhOa! My StReAm Of CoNsCiOuSnEsS wOrDpLaY iS bLoWiNg YoUr MiNd!!!!

- "this one doesn't have 'Lose' - or any other losers, for that matter (tee hee, so sharp!)." - Yet the four previous examples made it to the Internet free of self-mocking commentary? Tee hee, such a stupid asshole!

- "which are stone col' wussy, homeslice" - Remember your first year of college? Those were great times, weren't they?

- "Not gone, however (not yet, anyway) is aforementioned minstrel's knack for coming up with a catchy melody or five." - I called J. Mascis a 'minstrel' and defied your expectations by substituting 'five' for 'two.' This is why I won the Pulitzer Prize For Best Sentence that year.

- "A decent record, this." - I DESPISE sentences that sound like they came from a record review. Nobody puts a comma at the end of a descriptor, then adds the word 'this' to make it clear that they didn't suddenly start talking about a completely different subject. Nobody but a record reviewer, that is! A keen observation, this.

- "Catch us if you can (Dave Clark Five), but a little too clean (Soul Asylum), mess of my (The Fall), but still the one (Orleans) pop music (M), though maybe maybe (Pavement), just a little (Beau Brummels) too tough (Rolling Stones) obvious (Jane's Addiction) sad to be (D.R.I.) consider me gone (Sting) kissing to be clever (Culture Club)." - Not a terrible idea, but executed horrifically. The sentence makes no sense! I could have at least bolded or italicized the words I was trying to highlight.

- "If you like your rock predictable, look no further. Farther? Father?" - WhOa! My StReAm Of CoNsCiOuSnEsS wOrDpLaY iS bLoWiNg YoUr MiNd (AgAiN)!!!

- "I'm still wishing someone bigger than me would just sock him in the tooth and shut him up." - Sock him in the tooth? Why not the metacarpus? Wouldn't that be doubly hilarious?

- "He has gotten excruciatingly predictable and oh so very goddamned dull." - Excruciatingly long-winded and oh so very goddamned patronizing.

I give this page a 5.

But let's get Beyond that now and talk about the new album. (Ha ha! I did it again! Whee!!!!!!!!!)

In the mid-'00s, with the immaturity and career concerns of youth behind them, J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph made amends and toured the world as Dinosaur Jr. Apparently it went pretty well because they wound up recording a whole new studio album afterwards! On the up side, Beyond is easily the most consistent and tuneful Dinosaur Jr. record since Green Mind. On the down side, that's not saying anything at all because the last three albums stunk to High Heaven. "'High Heaven'? More like 'High HEAVING' if you ask me!!!!" is what I would write here if somebody else had written that last sentence.

A friend of Jim Laakso's told him that Beyond sounds 'like another Dinosaur Jr. album.' This is true. You will not mistake 9/11ths of this album for any other band. J is still singing the same way, using the same guitar tone, and playing the same amount of overlong solos. But I'd swear that these songs are the teeniest bit hookier and more emotionally resonant than those on Without You Hand. His chord combinations are noticeably connected by likable little note runs, his solos are tuneful (though far too loud and long), and his songwriting style seems to have been rejuvenated by the reconnection with his original sidemen. The ludicrously happy and simple "Almost Ready" is the first of four warm and loving songs, "Crumble" is the first of three melancholy and wistful Green Mind-sounders, and he even contributes two surprisingly Macho (and thus almost laughable, but well-written enough not to be) hard rockers "Pick Me Up" and "It's Me."

But let's talk about Lou Barlow now. It must feel odd for him to return to a secondary role after 15 years as his own man. Sebadoh fans won't be surprised to find that his two contributions are among Beyond's most straightforward and satisfying rock songs. But long-time Dinosaur Jr. fans should be surprised (and disappointed!) at how small a role he plays on the rest of the album. Where IS the bass guitar? Why does it have no presence? Why can you hardly tell it's even there!? Surely Lou and J are aware that the booming, overpowering bass guitar was one of the key components of the original Dinosaur Jr. sound. So why on Earth would they treat Beyond like Just Another Mike Johnson Album (J.A.M.J.A.)? This is easily the biggest disappointment of the reunion, and one that could've easily been remedied had somebody taken the time to re-listen to Bug and You're Living All Over Me and note the elements that made those records so great.

Still, there are a lot of great parts on this album. Not that many great songs, as J has a tendency to either (a) ruin a perfectly good song with an endless, overloud solo or (b) run a riff into the ground by playing it as verse and chorus. But plenty of great parts!

Speaking of "great parts," who here wants to try out for my new play? It's called If You Sleep With Me, You Get A Good Role.

What? It's about the sleazy Hollywood career of Howard Hughes! Come on now! Did you think I....? Ha! What a misunderstanding we've had here today!

But seriously, your first stage direction is "Enter Stage My Underwear."

Reader Comments

rkay51@hotmail.com (Ryan)
If it's any consolation Mark, to quote Homer Simpson "everything looks bad if you remember it". It's like if you read the lyrics to any song and say them in a condescending, how bad is this kind of voice they will not sound great. IF you think of some nice gestures you made that wowed people, thinking about them too much they can just seem shit. It's pretty natural I think. Nevertheless, it was still really funny reading you review your reviews, there could be some kind of massive concept there...(the "Farther. Father. Father?" line still gave me a good laugh!).

I am currently 23 though, so maybe I am immune to illumination I will later gain on that line. Remember the first year of college? It was good. I am in the last one now, it hasn't been as fun, more just grinding work, darnit.

Anyway, Dinosaur Jr really just take me back to my teens (15-17 in particular) as one of my good friends was very into them. We used to have parties at his house when his parents went away on holiday every year in the summer, and sometimes we took the stereo out in the garden and listened to DJ very loud - it really is superb summer music. We'd all get really drunk and mayhem would ensue. Lovely stuff. I haven't heard these albums in literally 4 or 5 years, but can remember them very well. I think hearing them now might just make me a bit sad for times gone past, they are very attached to events of yore.... those were great summers.

PS - I have added Botch to my mental list of "bands Prindle should review" - current population Steely Dan, Kraftwerk, Botch, Bobby Conn...I think that's all.

Mark, seeing as I am another who makes gruesome and nearsighted attempts at being funny on the internet, I'm a little uncomfortable seeing you lay into yourself this way. Don't you realize how many people are copping style and material from you? Some disillusioned sap is probably in tears remembering how many times he's used "on the other metacarpus." But hey, even if your Dinosaur Jr. reviews are perfectly adequate, your Dinosaur Jr. review review is hilarious, so what am I complaining about?

I'm mostly just writing to second Ryan's request for Steely Dan and Kraftwerk reviews. I haven't listened to much Dinosaur Jr.

The Dinosaur Jr. reunion came as a bit of surprise to me, but a new album was even more so. The album itself is reasonably good, with rocking, sincere, pleasing songs. Content-wise it is well-balanced. Where it's unbalanced is in the production, sorry to say. The drums sound weird. Where are the cymbals? The bass sound is functional but never really stands out. The guitar is a bit much, if I'm being completely honest. These solos don't sound particularly inspired, and more often than not they just sound too shrill. And strangest of all is the vocals. They are somehow CRYSTAL CLEAR. With all the murkiness going on, J's voice sounds like he's right in the room with you. It's almost like his vocals sound better than the music, which at this point is pretty odd. At any rate, there's no doubt that this is a great band that has great songwriting. And though "Beyond" will never be mistaken for their best album (I always skip songs#4, #5 and #7), it's still Dinosaur Jr. And that is damn cool.

I can see how your words from ten years ago+ would bother you, but from my point of view the Dino J page on the site is one of the best, and even if there is a lot of College lingo, it's not anything I can pick up because I've never been to an American College. The reader comments also help. I never expected that mentality concerning a band like Dinosaur Jr, but it's really funny, the whole J v. Lou thing.

As for the lates record, I never bought it. I got recommendations but hearing the soundclips, it just sounded like another post 1988 (or 1991) Dinosaur Jr album. I don't like reunions to begin with. Why pretend like it's still the same thing. J and Lou are both middle aged men and it's been 11 years since Hand It Over came out. And that's 11 years from a record that most people probably feel should never have been made. It's been almost 20 years since they peaked. I just think of these 40 year olds putting on their flannel shirts (I'm sure in reality they didn't) and playing indie rock at a club. Doesn't appeal to me.

You should review the J Mascis records though. Like More Light. On this site. It's basically the same thing; J = Dinosaur Jr.

Add your thoughts?

Farm - Jagjaguwar 2009
Rating = 5

Yeah, as in they FARMed it out to a Dinosaur Jr. tribute band!

But before we get to that, I think I've discovered two things you can do that will please nobody.

#1: Walk up to a group of friends and say, "Sorry I'm late! I was at home watching my favorite 1980's television sitcom," and then sing:

"You take the good, you take the bad
You take 'em both and there you have
Diff'rent strokes, diff'rent strokes
There's a time you gotta go and show
You're growing now, you know about
Family ties, family ties
When the world never seems
To be living up to your dreams
Suddenly you're finding out
is all about you.

#2: Walk up to a group of friends and say, "Sorry I'm late! I was at home listening to my favorite Bobby Darin song," and then sing:

"Splish Splash!
I was takin' a dump
Long about Saturday night!"

Farm sounds precisely like Dinosaur Jr. If you're hoping for some wild new experimentation from J. Mascis, his hair color's your best bet. He breaks exactly no new ground here, remaining so tightly inside his comfort zone that it's amazing he was able to move his arm enough to play the guitar. If "Weird Al" Yankovic were to record one of his hilarious 'stylistic parodies' of Dinosaur Jr., it would sound exactly like this and we would all laugh at his brilliant impersonation of the trademark Dinosaur Jr. sound.

On the other hand, there's not a bad song on the record. Lou Barlow contributes two typically strong moody rockers, and every other track sounds like a perfectly adequate J. Mascis composition -- be it worried rock, wistful balladry or happy lickin' celebration. Furthermore, it's mixed much less nonsensically than Beyond, with super-thick fuzzed-out guitars, bass that you can actually hear, and J.'s voice and guitar solos resting within the mix rather than piercingly above it. It's obviously a bit disappointing to reach the end of the 61-minute disc without encountering a single "Freak Scene"/"The Wagon"/"Out There"-style highlight, but this lack of hit single hooks is made up for by the record's sonic qualities, general songwriting consistency, and J.'s most melodic and least lazy vocals in years.

Having said that, it's impossible to listen to "Ocean In The Way" without hearing Joe Cocker bellow the chorus to "With A Little Help From My Friends."

So if you could put a piece of tape over his mouth or something, that'd be great.

Reader Comments

Hi Mark,

Right on, new Dinosaur Jr. sucks ass. I was listening to it while driving, which I do for a living, and threw it out in favor of Tom Verlaine's "Words From The Front", which by the way is far from being Verlaine's best work. J. Mascis has turned into an absolute moron. What more could he ask for? He's got the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup who made 3 excellent albums, no "major label pressure to make a hit", and still manages to fuck the whole thing up, ripping us fans off $12 for this pathetic piece of shit. To give the band credit, they're still great live, and the Lou tracks are superior to the rest of the album, as they were on "Beyond".

This seems to be a contagious symptom of 80's indie rock bands releasing new albums this year. New Dinosaur, Lemonheads, Meat Puppets, Bob Mould, and Sonic Youth, all suck. In fact the only band I know of from the era who has put out a decent album this year is the Church of all people. And no I don't work for whatever the fuck record label the Church are on now (nor am I an advocate of Lou Barlow's outlook on life).

I really like both of these Dino Jr. reunion albums. Granted, they are still fairly far away from the brilliance of You're Living and Bug, but I think they are better than anything else the group ever did. I've only been listening to Farm for a few days, but my impression so far is that Beyond has the edge in terms of energy and songwriting, but Farm is better in terms of production, playing, and overall band chemistry.

Yes, it's nice to hear Lou loud and clear again. Part of the problem on Beyond was the J-centered mixing, but part of the problem was that I think Lou hadn't played bass for a while and hadn't really gotten his mojo back--he was playing too politely and probably wouldn't have stood out too much even if he had been mixed louder. Regardless, the chemistry and overall roar of the original band came through loud and clear on that record, and it comes through even better on this one. I'd love to hear Beyond mixed and played like this album--that would kick ass.

I've tried to figure out why these records are so much better than most of their 90's output, and I think it boils down to this: 1). J was able to approximately replicate the approximate Dinosaur sound without the other original members, but he was never able to replicate the overall chemistry and 2). Even more importantly, he's simply writing much better songs now than he was in the 90's: not necessarily brilliant, but consistently good. Having Lou around to write a couple of songs per record really ups the ante too--Lou's songs are so good that I wish he would write 4-5 per record.

Anyway, it's probably too much to expect another You're Living Over Me from these guys, but I never expected these records to come out at all, and they have been an extremely pleasant surprise.

Hey Mark,

I've gotta say, I'm just a little confused by your review of the new Dinosaur Jr. album. Or rather, I'm confused by the score. See, I'm totally in agreement on your review - it's another Dinosaur Jr. album, nothing more nothing less. But despite the praise you give it compared to Beyond - in terms of production etc. - it gets two points lower? A 5? Really? It's worse than Green Mind and only a little better than Where You Been and Hand It Over? Sure it's nowhere near Bug and You're Living All Over Me, and it doesn't have the "holy shit, the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup is back!" factor of Beyond, but it's a really solid effort, and I like it a lot more than anything from the major-label era. Plus, "Plans" and "Pieces", while certainly not on the level of the classics, are both achingly beautiful. It's nice to hear J actually hit some notes.

Basically, I agree with everything you said about the album, but the score just seems like cognitive dissonance to me. If Beyond was a 7, this is at least a 6 (and I'd say a low-to-middling 7, personally).

Just like to point out that this got a lower star rating than The Who's Endless Wire. Which is un-listenable.

Add your thoughts?

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