Album Reviews

Elastic Days
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 23:43
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-by Nathaniel FitzGerald

Few artists are as prolific or as consistent as Dinosaur Jr. mastermind J Mascis. For over three decades, the master of the Fender Jazzmaster has released dozens of records blending his laid-back slacker songwriting with destructive guitar noise. It's a pretty simple formula, but in thirty-plus years, it's still effective. Just look at the legions of copycats that are still springing up every Coachella.

But here, Mascis is a bit more introspective, which is pretty far removed from his work with Dinosaur Jr. There's no mistaking his voice for anyone else, but the songs are more laid back than they've ever been. The electric guitars are typically clean—when they're present at all. J plays acoustic through most of the songs, save for the guitar solo that each song has. But even those solos are more soothing than abrasive. "Picking Out the Seeds" even has an acoustic solo. 

For most of his career, his songwriting has been inspired by country and Americana, but he's always obscured it in a thick wall of distortion, feedback, and effects—holdovers from his hardcore roots, no doubt. But on Elastic Days, he lets all of his folksy elements hang out unashamedly.

And the results are gorgeous. Mascis' songwriting has always been great, but without all the noise crowding the sonic atmosphere, his composition can shine through. 

If you would have told me last year that J Mascis would put out one of the most tender singer-songwriter records of 2018, I might have looked at you like you had a second head. But here we are, and I'm glad for it.

  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
Tom Dumarey
Tom Dumarey

Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.