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Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Cover Artwork)

Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr.: FarmFarm (2009)
Jagjaguwar

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I've been into Dinosaur Jr. since 1989, when I was eight. That's right, I'm cooler than y'all. Okay, truthfully I got into them super late, like 2005 late. Allow me to explain (or skip the next paragraph). My wife was running our alma mater's radio station in the spring of 2005 and one day she br.
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I've been into Dinosaur Jr. since 1989, when I was eight. That's right, I'm cooler than y'all. Okay, truthfully I got into them super late, like 2005 late. Allow me to explain (or skip the next paragraph).

My wife was running our alma mater's radio station in the spring of 2005 and one day she brought home a Merge sampler of their Dinosaur Jr. re-releases; the CD had three songs from each of their first three albums. I was aware of the band but not sure what they sounded like. As the first song "Freak Scene" came rockin' me outta the speakers, I realized I had loved this song forever. When I was a little skater kid I had a Santa Cruz Speed Freaks video (with that rad screaming blue hand on the cover) that featured at least three songs from Bug (I believe it was an all-SST soundtrack including fIREHOSE and I think Meat Puppets and Saccharine Trust, among others), and I loved those Dino songs when I was eight but didn't have the wherewithal to figure out who played them. Back to 2004; as this Merge comp plays, all of a sudden it was like some cheesy romantic comedy where I'm reunited with my long-lost love. So I rapidly bought Dino's back catalogue. What's the point of this story? I like stories. I guess the point is that I got into them 'for real' at the perfect time because I didn't have to wait long before they reunited and put out new material.

Still, I almost didn't get Beyond. The chances of a reunion resulting in good new material are slim. Mission of Burma did it…and that's about it. But I got it anyway and DAMN. Shit was good. The original lineup sounded tight yet classic Dino, and from interviews it seems that maturity (they are frickin' old dudes now) and knowing their roles within the group has them working well together and cranking out tunes as easy as during their early years. Even though all the press releases focus on the original trifecta of albums, musically Beyond sounded more like Dino's major label work in that it relied less on noise and lovably-obnoxious guitar tones. I was fine with that because Mascis' songwriting and guitar work is better than ever, yet we get back Barlow's fuzzy bass chordings and a couple of his tunes per album (plus his fun live persona), and Murph's hard-hitting (but Mascis-penned) drumwork. To sum things up, let me remind you that Beyond was my #1 album of 2007 for Punknews. I'm 400 words into this beast of a review; let's talk about Farm.

"Over It," besides having a kickass video, is a kickass song. It clamps the jumper cables to an album that, thus far, was kinda chillin.' That wah-pedal lead will be in your head for god's sake, though J only gives it to you twice in the song. The chorus is propelled by off-beat chord changes underneath Mascis' whole note croon, and the fill-dominated bridge is just icing. "See You" is my other fave, struttin' out-the-gate with an immediate guitar solo over the jangly chords. It bounces like "Start Choppin'" and I love Murph's surprisingly-fitting fast hi-hat work in the chorus. The bridge breaks down to let J's guitar line breathe and exhale into twangy chords. "Friends" has an awesome fast-pickin' guitar lead and J getting out of his lackadaisical vocal range for a catchy chorus.

The epic "Said the People" is slacker rock exemplified, with clean, warbly guitar chords and Mascis singing in his long-gray-haired creakiest tone, "Of all the people to let me down…" While the chorus is about as close as Dino could get to being called 'majestic,' the song doesn't change much during its near eight-minute run, though the solo wails, of course. I prefer "I Don't Wanna Go There" -- this one getting over the eight-minute hump -- and sure it dwells on its strong points and has a long-ass solo (who's complaining?). But it also has a nice metal-ish chugging breakdown before hitting you hard again and later crawling to a sloppy halt. Barlow's "Imagination Blind" is a cool sludgy track but ends the record in an odd way; I would have gone out huge with "I Don't Wanna Go There."

Every track I've mentioned thus far is track 6 or later. The track listing seems flipped to me or just out of order. Not to say the first half is bad in any way, but the record starts a bit on the slow side. Not soft -- just slow. "Pieces" is a great song in steeped in Dino traditions, but doesn't hit as hard as an opener as "Almost Ready" (seems like more of a track 2 to me). The swaying 6/8 "Oceans in the Way" grooves, and when it slows briefly before the ending, Mascis tears into the most air-guitar-worthy solo on the album. "Plans" is a sweet slow burn that has tempo changes back and forth į la "Feel the Pain" (but not as drastic). "Your Weather" changes the feel of the record when it hits, and showcases the main reason why Dinosaur Jr. needed Lou Barlow: variety. "I Want You to Know" is the 'hit' of the first half though, and feels like a comfy old shoe already, having been released on their MySpace awhile back.

Overall, Farm is a more laid-back groovin' record where Beyond fired on all cylinders pretty much constantly ("I Got Lost" being the obvious exception). It makes Farm not as immediate but ultimately just as rewarding of an album. A track listing change is in order, but that's being ultra-picky. I'm just ecstatic to have my childhood pals back with some new tunes. Maybe I should get my cobweb-coated board back out and make this my summer `09 skate soundtrack…

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Alkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Clash - London CallingDinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over MeChuck Ragan - Gold CountryThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Replacements - Let It BeDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegePropagandhi - Potemkin City LimitsDillinger Four - C I V I L W A R

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
greg0rb (June 25, 2009)

Kinda bummed no one has connected with me on the skate video thing... these guys were all over skate videos back in the day. Anyone else discover them or other cools bands through skate videos? Am I just too old? There have got to be skaters 'round these parts. I think I first heard Modest Mouse on Welcome to Hell, for one.

ryannn (June 25, 2009)

and my score...

ryannn (June 25, 2009)

J is a true guitar God... His melodic playing always makes me smile. Next to Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion this is my top album of 09 thus far!

facetofacereunion08 (June 24, 2009)

i love love love beyond...will have to check this out

120db (June 24, 2009)

One of the best this year so far.

muckymuck (June 24, 2009)

I haven't heard this yes.

kidgotham (June 24, 2009)

Hey Jelone, check out Bug, or any other of their first three records. Beyond was great as well.

ddb43 (June 24, 2009)

I only listened to the first 2 songs and turned it off. I'm going back in. I hope the water's warm.

SydBarrett420 (June 24, 2009)

Boring Syd? For fuck sake you listen to 311- your opinion is irrelevant

And you think a moronic jackass like Rollins is some kind of modern day philosopher/poet so your opinion is irrelevant. See how it goes both ways?

SydBarrett420 (June 24, 2009)

You guys are about as dumb as they come if you think this album is anything more audio Ambien

mikexdude (June 24, 2009)

Boring Syd? For fuck sake you listen to 311- your opinion is irrelevant.

Brandon wins.

brandonsideleau (June 24, 2009)

Boring Syd? For fuck sake you listen to 311- your opinion is irrelevant.

greg0rb (June 24, 2009)

Joe - this could make a good starting point, sure. But really the more classic, influential album and typical starting point for getting into them is You're Living All Over Me.

SydBarrett420 (June 24, 2009)

LOL, another 5 star review, you guys are fuckin retarded

This album is boring as shit

Jelone (June 23, 2009)

I've been a Sebadoh fan for a few years now, but I still don't know squat diddly about Dino-Jr. Would this be a good starting point?

shrapnel (June 23, 2009)

This album has a good chance to make my top 10 of the year

ffwoodycooks (June 23, 2009)

fantastic album
so many good albums were released today

brandonsideleau (June 23, 2009)

One of the best releases this year.....and 2009 is a good year for music- this, Bob Mould, Paint It Black, Pissed Jeans, etc. etc.

franco (June 23, 2009)

The solo at the end of I Don't Wanna Go There?!?!? Holy Shit!!!

nocigar (June 23, 2009)

Also, that cover art is seriously awesome too.

nocigar (June 23, 2009)

so fucking good

scientistrock (June 23, 2009)

I can't wait to get this. I gotta decide between spending my 21st birthday up here in Boston, or going home, seeing their free show at Central Park, spending my birthday at home and then seeing the Souls show at Webster Hall.

preston (June 23, 2009)

I got into these guys super late too. I've been a casual listener for a long time, but in the last six months, I've become a big fan. Still haven't listened to this.

kidgotham (June 23, 2009)

This is likely going to be very high on my favourite records of the year.

R3vengeTherapy (June 23, 2009)

This record is awesome.

franco (June 23, 2009)

I'm going to go get this right now. I actually ignored them for so long and everything I've heard off this album sounds awesome. I should be embarassed :(

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