The legend of Dinosaur Jr. is one that has reverberated through the indie rock scene over the last 30 years, and one that I am surely not qualified to discuss in a detailed fashion. Noisy and melodic, the original trio of Dinosaur Jr. albums were released in 1985, 1987, and 1988. The dynamic between J. Mascis and Lou Barlow bordered on hostility – eventually, things would come to a head and Dinosaur Jr. became a vehicle the songs of Mascis, while Barlow moved on to Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion (whose Natural One is likely the biggest Dinosaur Jr. related song). Drummer Murph recorded off and on in the reconstituted Dinosaur Jr. but didn’t play a part in the post Dino band J. Mascis + The Fog. Against all odds (take a look at me now), the original version of Dinosaur Jr. reformed in 2005 and have put out 4 records over the last 11 years. Noisy and melodic, the records felt like a continuation of the band, not a band trying to recapture past glories. I caught them in Seattle in 2016 and was impressed by the noise assault – the amps and speakers seemed to reach to the ceiling of The Showbox venue. A great feel good story – but it isn’t the whole story.
It’s been 2 years since we last heard from Dinosaur Jr. in their highly successful and drama free reunion period. 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not was the perfect blend of noise, melody, and melancholy (and my favorite song was a Lou Barlow tune). In fact, it ranks very highly in my “Favorite Dinosaur Jr. albums” imaginary list. Also the supporting show at The Showbox in Seattle was insanely amazing (and loud). Hold Unknown is (apparently) a one-off single as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. A slab of pop punk that will bring a smile to your face. A J. Mascis fronted tune that is joyous and infectious. A recommended tune that will be worth the $1 spent.
Another year gone by, another year filled with musical delights. We lost quite a few musical legends starting in December of 2015 – Scott Weiland, Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael to name just a few (and let’s not mention an overall list of artists who have left us in 2016). I lost my Aunt unexpectedly back in February the morning after attending a Black Sabbath show. The year was filled with unexpected highs and unexpected lows for me. As with anything in life, sometimes you have to feel bad to feel good (and vice versa). I made some friends, lost some friends, and reconnected with some old friends. Throughout it all, I had music playing. Here are my top albums of 2016: