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J Mascis – Elastic Days //Sub Pop// (Released 9th November)

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£21.99 – Standard LP

£21.99 – Indies Only Crystal Clear w/ Purple Swirl Coloured Vinyl Loser Edition LP

Near the end of Reagan’s first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur Jr. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur Jr 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 (1996). 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 lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those albums, Sing And 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.

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 Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze.”    – Byron Coley

Tracklisting:

  1. See You At The Movies
  2. Web So Dense
  3. I Went Dust
  4. Sky Is All We Had
  5. Picking Out The Seeds
  6. Give It Off
  7. Drop Me
  8. Cut Stranger
  9. Elastic Days
  10. Sometimes
  11. Wanted You Around
  12. Everything She Said

Additional information

Format

Indies Only Crystal Clear w/ Purple Swirl Coloured Vinyl Loser Edition LP, Standard LP