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Vinyl

J Mascis – Elastic Days *Indies only coloured vinyl*

£18.99

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Product Description

Near the end of Reagan’s first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed

up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a

miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shapeshifting.

Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons)

defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was

going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals

of J Mascis.

 A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called ‘Martin + Me’.

Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J’s songs to be totally visible

for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions

were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks

would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr line up

in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, ‘Sings + Chant for

AMMA’ (2005), ‘Several Shades of Why’ (2011) and ‘Tied to a Star’ (2014) had all

delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of

cool.

 Like its predecessors, ‘Elastic Days’ was recorded at J’s own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis

does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on ‘Tied to a

Star’) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates

Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession) and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as

the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others but the show is mostly J’s

and J’s alone. “The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums.

I’d just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don’t have too many drum

outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than I’d originally planned. I just

kept playing. [laughs] I’d play the acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.”

 There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on ‘Elastic Days’ but for those expecting

the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr’s live attack, the gentleness of the approach

here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young’s binary approach to working solo versus

working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man’s shorthand but it still rings true. ‘Elastic

Days’ brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways,

guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range

from a neo-power-ballad (‘Web So Dense’) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych

(‘Give It Off’) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurstonera

Stooges (‘Drop Me’). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety

that is certain to set many brains ablaze. J says he’ll be taking this album on the road

later in the year. He’ll be playing by himself but unlike other solo tours he says he’ll be

standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort around myself – amps,

music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I just realized it sounds better if the amps

are higher up because I’m so used to playing with stacks. So I’ll stand this time.” I ask if

it’s not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he says. “But it’s weird sitting

down too.”

 Available to independent retailers on crystal clear with purple swirl vinyl.

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