J Mascis - Tied To A Star (Sub Pop - 2014)
J is a perpetual downer. Although he’s attributed the bummed out success of his incredible enduing discography to a now famous lost high school love, you can’t help but think that Tied to A Star would have happened even if he’d married her. Dinosaur jr’s last outing was one of their strongest ever, and Tied to A Star continues this high caliber streak and more than matches his last solo outing. Where that record peaked at it’s downer points like “It is Done and the stoner drawl of the wonderful title track, this thing feels more driven and optimistic. Although drive and optimism are not something anybody really looks for in a J Mascis record, Tied To a Star negotiates middle ground well “Every Morning” is pretty much the only misstep and it’s only because it’s wanting to be a fully electrified Dino J song but somehow lands closer to it’s sugar ray acoustic namesake.
I’m thankfully joking, although excusably lacking in eclectic power, and lacking in the surprise that he’s still good without it, this record still feels like a statement that goes beyond tools. It got me, I didn’t expect to fall as hard as I did for this record and although opener and highlight “Me Again” (possibly the most outre thing he’s ever written), suggests that he’s been listening to more bonny bear than he has himself, there’s still nobody this side of Daniel Rossen in indie rock that can play a guitar this distinctively.