US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 178 - 03/19/11
Several Shades of Why
Pavement was the slacker indie/alternative rock band of the 1990s, but the slacker King Himself is J. Mascis. Dinosaur Jr is one of the legendary American alternative rock bands from the mid-80s/late-80s,
along with Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Minutemen, Butthole Surfers, Replacements, R.E.M., Pixies. Following Dinosaur's 1985 debut, Dinosaur, came a solid hat-trick (now as Dinosaur Jr.,
due to being sued by a hippie outfit called Dinosaur): You're Living All Over Me (1987), Bug (1988), and Green Mind (1991). The band released three more albums during the 90s, before Mascis
decided to break up the band. Then came solo recordings (or as J Mascis + the Fog), before J reunited the original D-Jr. line-up in 2005, resulting in two decent albums so far,
Beyond (2007) and Farm (2009).
Several Shades of Why is J going solo again. In fact, it's his first real solo album, as J Mascis -- no band name attached. But, hey, he's not all alone, on his own. Several friends stepped in and
contributed to the album: Kurt Vile, Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Matt Valentine (The Golden
Road), Kurt Fedora, and Suzanne Thorpe (ex-Mercury Rev, now Wounded Knees). All this leading to a rich sounding, neatly orchestrated and arranged, and well-crafted album, of course with Mascis' signature
guitar sound: slightly fuzzed and distorted. Perfect. As well as his trademark rasp voice ('son of Neil Young', sort of): half-sleepy, dazed and nasal. Cool. And when he keeps on writing good songs as well,
well, then Several Shades of Why simply is a good listen all the way through.
J Mascis hasn't lost his song-writing abilities, and serves a laidback, most pleasant, and surprisingly beautiful piece of work. Can you imagine: J Mascis supported by cello. Well, imagine. And listen.
Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen