Dinosaur Jr

Dinosaur Jr is a alternative rock band from Amherst Massachusetts. Formed in 1984 and for the next ten years Dinosaur Jr. produced a handful of highly influential albums that helped set the stage for the alternative boom of the early nineties. Both the Pixies and Nirvana, bands with much greater commercial and monetary success, have been quoted siting Dinosaur Jr as a major influence. Even the already established alterna-juggernaut Sonic Youth claimed to be fans of Dinosaur when they were touring for their first album back in 1986.Dinosaur Jr in 1986.

At it’s core Dinosaur Jr’s sound is derived from a three piece band playing music from a wide variety of influences. Back in the eighties their eclectic style was unheard of and they took the alternative music scene by surprise. How a band could mix punk, rock, metal, folk and country elements is hard to picture but if you listen to a Dinosaur album all those elements are there, granted some more then others. Another element that they really pushed was purposeful distortion. There are some tracks that were mixed to distort on purpose and to be honest I never really noticed until someone pointed it out. I recently read that after Dinosaur Jr recorded a particular album the master tape was brought back to the label. Once there the production manager pointed out that the tape levels were too high and there was considerable distortion. He was told by J Mascis that that was done on purpose and that is how it was intended to sound.

Dinosaur Jr is considered to have three founding members, guitarist J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Emmett Patrick Murphy(aka Murph). After the first couple albums Barlow left and a couple after that Murph left with various other musicians filling the space. J Mascis has remained a constant on all albums and was a major force behind all of the early albums, to the dismay of the other members who wanted to participate more in the song writing process but were shut out. Generally I’ve heard that life in early Dinosaur Jr was full of conflict between the band members which is probably why they only got through three LP releases before the lineup’s first change. It’s a shame too because their second and third albums are perhaps their best. In 2005 Dinosaur Jr reunited and has released two albums since. This reunited Dinosaur Jr is with the original line up so lets hope they can get the magic going again.

My top three Dinosaur Jr albums go like this, Bug, You’re Living All Over Me and then Green Mind, in that order. Those three albums contain the essence of what made Dinosaur Jr so special. Below is their full catalog….

1) Dinosaur [1985]
2) You’re Living All Over Me [1987]
3) Bug [1988]
4) Green Mind [1991]
5) Where You Been [1993]
6) Without a Sound [1994]
7) Hand It Over [1997]
8) Beyond [2007]
9) Farm [2009]

1 comment to Dinosaur Jr

  • Gregory Marchese egorgry

    I saw them in 92 and it was such an awesome show. I remember Lou Barlow opened with his band sebadoh and then continued on bass with dino jr. Fantastic stuff at the roseland ballroom that night. I’m off to sync some my ipod. Thanks for the great post. :)

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