February 4, 2017

J Mascis - The John Peel Sessions (2003)


My favorite post-1988 J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) album. Then again, I haven't heard the two Fog albums in like 5 years, so maybe my opinion will change once I hear those again. Dinosaur was never absolutely awful, but they sure came a long ways down from their noise rock kinghood by the late 1990s. A constantly changing lineup was probably the source of a lot of Mascis' problems after the other original members of Dinosaur departed. By the early 2000s his creative output stablized once he secured Mike Watt (former bassist of Minutemen) and Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine mastermind) as creative partners. These recordings are warm with distortion and generally easy-going, somewhat of a departure from the noisiness I think I remember from More Light, and set a precedent for the sound Mascis would pursue in his 2007 reunion with the original members of Dinosaur. Like most Peel sessions, the music seems quickly assembled and mastered and allows for the truest spirit of the band to shine through. This atmosphere works to J's benefit as he already stands as a master of making personable and relatable music. The second half of the album is a quality collection of Mascis solo tracks tacked on to get this project to a proper album length. If you're a fan of 80s alternative rock then you can't really go wrong with checking this out if only for the overlapping of Kevin Shields, J Mascis, and Mike Watt. Shit, it's worth checking out for the exceptional medley cover of Everything Flows by Teenage Fanclub and Range Life by Pavement alone.

Sample

The John Peel Sessions