J Mascis, Obits, and Dum Dum Girls


SXSW Records Sub Pop

J Mascis

Several Shades of Why (Sub Pop)


Moody, Standard and Poor (Sub Pop)

Dum Dum Girls

He Gets Me High (Sub Pop)

In embracing the ragged, early-1970s acoustic eclecticism of Crosby, Stills, Nash and/or Young, Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis turns a corner few could've predicted in 1987. Several Shades of Why is a poignant meditation on loss and where to go from here and what makes it more than just a competent confessional from a graying alt-rock icon are the sonic odds and ends. Mascis gets help from house guests including Kurt Vile and Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, but the album unfolds like a solitary pursuit. With no blast furnace of distortion to hide behind, Mascis' voice is particularly raw and bereft, "Is It Done" building a soulful plea that erupts into an electric guitar solo redolent of hard rock balladry. Meanwhile, lap steel and flute commingle in bittersweet languor on "Make It Right." The fuzz finally foams over on "What Happened," and when it does you're almost surprised. With album No. 2, NYC's Obits fully realize the fuss that accompanied their formation. Moody, Standard and Poor jumps right in on "You Gotta Lose," a driving burst of nervous post-punk energy powered by Scott Gursky's relentless drum command. "Everything Looks Better in the Sun" couples 1960s garage-rock sneers with eerily cinematic, Wall of Voodoo guitar shards at a clip that encourages excessive speed. Ex-Drive Like Jehu/-Hot Snakes frontman Rick Froberg transforms a nasty schoolyard chant into a Molotov cocktail on "No Fly List" before perfecting the hold-and-release slow burn on "New August." Surfy instrumental closer "I Blame Myself" makes Moody a solid strike from start to finish. The stopgap four-song EP from Dum Dum Girls boasts three blasts of pleasant-but-unremarkable Spectorian noise-pop, but Dee Dee and company's cover of the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" is a spot-on reinvention. (Fri.: Obits, 9:40pm; Dum Dum Girls, 11:20pm; J Mascis, 12:10am; Red 7 Patio)

(J Mascis) ***

(Obits) ***.5

(Dum Dum Girls) **.5

More J Mascis
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 Sunday Reviews
J Mascis

Neph Basedow, Nov. 7, 2014

More Obits
SXSW Records
Face Control, I Blame You, Tight Knit, Bunny Gets Paid (Record Review)

Melanie Haupt, March 20, 2009

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Clear Language (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 20, 2017

Texas Platters
ST 37
Fuck You, You Rule: ST 37's Greatest "Hits" (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Oct. 20, 2017

More by Greg Beets
Sunday ACL Fest Interview: Tank & the Bangas
Sunday ACL Fest Interview: Tank & the Bangas
Poetry fuels the lyrics of New Orleans band

Oct. 6, 2017

Texas Platters
Jean Caffeine
Sadie Saturday Nite (Record Review)

Sept. 1, 2017


J Mascis, Obits, Dum Dum Girls

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)