Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dinosaur Jr - Ear Bleeding Country

Dinosaur Jr.: J. Mascis (vocals, guitar, piano, organ, keyboards, bass, drums, tympani, chimes, percussion); Mike Johnson (vocals, guitar, bass); Lou Barlow (vocals, ukulele, Casio, bass, tapes); Murph (drums).

Additional personnel: Tiffany Anders, Kevin Shields, Bilinda Butcher (vocals); Don Fleming (guitar, background vocals); Greg Dwinell (pedal steel guitar); Donna Guager (piccolo, trumpet); Sean Slade (mellotron); Jay Spiegel (tom toms); Lee Renaldo (background vocals).

Recorded between 1985 and 2000.

Dinosaur Jr. first emerged (as simply Dinosaur) from the Massachusetts punk scene in the mid-1980s with provoking, genre-bending-with-just-a-dollop-of-pop releases on stalwart indie labels Homestead and SST. With J. Mascis' hauntingly off-key half-growl, half-howl lurking under layers and layers of distortion, fuzz, and drone, they were locks to bend the ear of an adoring underground radio cult, but the longest of shots to garner million-selling records, let alone touch the pop charts. However, Dinosaur Jr. did all of the above, ruling college radio for almost a decade in the late-'80s and early-'90s, selling a ton of albums, even scoring a MTV Buzz bin aided Billboard pop hit in 1994 with "Feel the Pain." In true indie-rock fashion, after that hit Dinosaur Jr. faded out after one mostly forgettable final album.

The aptly named EAR-BLEEDING COUNTRY evenly collects cuts chronologically from Dinosaur Jr.'s seven albums, an EP, a single, while also including a couple tracks from J. Mascis' more subtle, yet still oddball and compelling non-Dinosaur recordings. Of special note is the inclusion of the at first glance mocking, yet in reality furiously reverent cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" and the Beatlesque jagged-horn-laden "I'm Insane" originally hidden on the aforementioned final album. My favourite ‘Take a Run at the Sun’ a little like the ‘Beach Boys’ meet ‘Jesus and Mary Chain’.

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