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Dinosaur Jr. Give a Glimpse of What They Are

Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr. Photo by Levi Walton

In the world of band reunions, acrimony and in-fighting are often repressed in favor of large festival paychecks and a smattering of lucrative show dates. At best, high-profile reunions of the “classic” lineups are serviceable (The Jesus and Mary Chain) and at worst, disastrous, tarnishing a band’s legacy (Kim Deal made the right call sitting out the latest Pixies reunion). Rarely are these reunions fruitful, and even less often do they result in a band’s second or third life, releasing new music that feels relevant and rejuvenated. Perhaps unexpectedly, ear-bleeding classic alt-rock favorites Dinosaur Jr. are in the latter category.

The creative fire-and-ice of the trio are lead singer/guitarist J. Mascis and bassist/songwriter Lou Barlow, two strong-willed personalities whose temperaments caused the band to implode after only three records, 1985’s self-titled debut, and the landmarks You’re Living All Over Me and Bug in 1987 and 1988 respectively. Like a messy, drawn-out divorce, the original trio, including drummer Emmett “Murph” Murphy (who quit after 1993’s Where You Been, which was essentially a Mascis solo record with guests) seemed destined for indie rock lore and “You shoulda been there” anecdotes. Then, the trio reunited for one of the greatest comeback records ever released, 2007’s Beyond. Dinosaur Jr. combined the best of what they’d learned during the hiatus (Mascis’ folk-leanings and Barlow’s somber lo-fi arrangements) into one of their most satisfying outings—a blast of big, wall-of-noise sound that contained as much songwriting nuance as it did gain. The band hasn’t looked back since, continuing to release consistently solid records, despite a chill that still exists between Mascis and Barlow. The trio, like world-weary lovers in constant therapy, are making it work. I spoke to Barlow and Murph before the release of the band’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not.

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