Musicians never like to fade away. With casinos, county fairs and an occasional nostalgia swing they don't have to. One way to endear yourself to the audience is to make fun of who you are and what you represent.
In the '80s, former members of Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe and the Fish, two notable late '60s groups, called their new band Dinosaur - a relic from a bygone era. Pretty funny? Well, it is until you hear there's a bunch of east coast Alt. Rock upstarts using the same name. Time to call the lawyers. In short order, those Punks from Amherst, MA, became Dinosaur Jr. Nothing really came of the Dinosaur but it was a far different story for Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr. proved that Grunge was around before the whole movement coalesced around Nirvana. Guitarist J. Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow decided to keep at it after their band Deep Wound bled out. They added drummer Emmett Murphy (Murph) becoming Dinosaur. Their self-titled debut hit in '85. Two years later the group landed at the legendary SST label for "You're Living All Over Me." That's when the other Dinosaur reared its ugly head and the younger group added "Jr." to their moniker.
"Bug" arrived in '89. A subsequent tour brought tensions between Mascis and Barlow to the breaking point. Barlow was sacked. His side project, Sebadoh, became his full-time gig.
Though Murph continued with the group for awhile, Dinosaur Jr. evolved into a Mascis vehicle, occasionally touring with bassist Mike Johnson and drummer George Berz. It was in the early '90s that the group issued their best known tracks, the '93 single "Start Choppin" and, a year later, "Feel The Pain." After '97 release, "Hand It Over," Mascis dropped the group for a solo career. But it didn't end there.
In '02, Mascis and Barlow shared a London stage as part of a larger show - Mascis and members of The Stooges (without Iggy Pop) were doing, well - Stooges songs. Barlow even got to sing.
Mascis acquired the rights to Dinosaur Jr.'s catalog from SST and began reissuing the material on the Merge label. Amid that activity, Mascis and Barlow appeared at an autism benefit show in Northampton, MA, that was organized by Barlow's mother. Later in the year, Mascis, Barlow and Murph appeared on The Late Late Show before launching a European tour.
"Beyond" was released by Fat Possum Records in '07. Moving to Jagjaguwar Records, they released "Farm" two years later. Then came "I Bet On The Sky," the group's tenth album.
Dinosaur Jr.'s fourth post-reunion effort, "Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not" dropped in '16.
1987 You're Living All Over Me
1991 Green Mind
1993 Where You Been
1994 Without A Sound
1997 Hand It Over
2012 I Bet On Sky
2016 Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not
Skip Dinosaur Jr.'s initial efforts (their self-titled debut and "You're Living All Over Me") and move right to "Bug." Even with dissension in the ranks, this is it. The set has "Freak Scene" and 'No Bones." Great tracks.
The group's first post-Barlow effort, "Green Mind," is next. After that, things get slim. Though it omits "No Bones," "Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best Of Dinosaur Jr." provides an excellent representation of the group's high points.
There's nearly two decade gap between the original line-up's last effort, "Bug," and "Beyond" but it doesn't seem to have had much impact. Mascis' lazy/hazy vocals and the group's dense sound are intact. They serve up energetic Alt. Rock when not rolling through Neil Young's Grunge-strewn backyard on "Back To Your Heart" and "It's Me."
"Farm" has the trademark guitar noise, cut with catchy riffs. The keepers include set opener "Pieces," "I Want To Know," "Plans," "Your Weather" (with harmonica) and "I Don't Wanna Go There." "Imagination Blind," which closes the album, is a Young-like track that substitutes a Northeastern sharpness for Neil's Canadian drawl.