Dinosaur Jr., Sweep It Into Space (2021)

The thirteenth album from New England’s Dinosaur Jr. is another leg in the journey of alternate rock that never ceases to wind on.

In 1993 Dinosaur Jr. had a huge radio hit with “Out There” from the Where You Been album, but by then the band was already on its fifth album and the song was no surprise to the fans who knew them. I’ve always thought that this song opened the door for the Meat Puppets to have a big day with few months later with “Backwater.” Hmm. This early-to-mid 1990s period had a lot going on, a lot of flashes and bangs. The mainstream (whoever they are) caught a glimpse of bands like Dinosaur Jr. that loyal fans had known about for a long time. That was a good thing, but it was short lived. Pretty soon the road bent again and, while the mass of humanity might have globbed of in another direction, Dinosaur Jr. kept rolling.

The new album is the first in a few years. There are twelve tracks in the laid-back, easing in and easing on style that defines not only Dinosaur Jr. but the genre they helped to create. The signature voice and fuzzy guitar that has kept you coming back all these years is there for you now. I wonder what it would be like for someone to come across this band now for the first time and have to wrap their head around the idea that there are a dozen other albums to immerse themselves in, uncovering wonder after wonder. That has to be a good day.

My favorite songs are the up-tempo pieces, like “Hide Another Round” but I don’t skip ahead or shy away from the softer ones either. I wouldn’t throw stones at any of the band’s albums but I will say I like this new one as much as I liked Farm (2009), and that was a big one for me. Recommended.

Sweep It Into Space is out now. Check out the Dinosaur Jr. website for merch and music or the ever-reliable Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://dinosaurjr.bandcamp.com/album/sweep-it-into-space

Website, https://www.dinosaurjr.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DinosaurJr

Dinosaur Jr., Sweep It Into Space (2021)

Melvins, Working With God (Ipecac Recordings 2021)

The new album from the Melvins features the lineup from the early days and thirteen tracks of rarified rock weirdness/goodness.

When you speak aloud the name Melvins the response you get is either instant radical awareness or confusion. There isn’t a lot of middle ground. I saw them at the Louder Than Life festival a couple years ago. They got slotted on the far-flung stage (you know the one I am talking about if you’ve ever been to that festival) fairly early in the day and they tore it up on a short sharp set. Their performance was a highlight for me, clearly surpassing bands that came later in the bill. They play an indie, fuzzy grunge that comes at you from peculiar angles and hits you in unexpected places. There is no other band like them.

The line-up for Working With God is Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover, and Mike Dillard, taking the band back to its event horizon. The creative energy in the music is the whirlwind we have come to expect on Melvins releases, which now number in the uncountable range. The opening song is “I Fuck Around,” a Beach Boys parody. Nice. “Negative No No” comes next, and it is a fuzzy grunge fest. “Bouncing Rick” picks up the pace and franticness, handing the baton off to “Caddy Daddy” for a little drone. The first dose of absolute weirdness is “Brian, The Horse-Faced Goon.” And that is weird as in Mothers of Invention weird. Time for a smoke.

The themes are can be pretty accurately assessed from the song titles, and the sensibility is blowing off steam and not a lot of deep thought. It is pulsing hard-edged rock whipped up in endless variety and with boundless creativity. The back half doesn’t slow down at all, kicking off with “Boy Mike” and clipping into the delightful sentiment of “Fuck You.” There is the spacey “The Great Good Place” and “Hot Fish,” the longest song of the set that can be understood as a litany of frustration or as something else entirely. “Hund” is a B-12 shot to get you ready for the send-off, “Goodnight Sweet Heart,” which is either really funny or a total mindfuck, depending on where you are in your evening. Working With God is another raucous affair, and no mistake. Highly recommended.

The album is out now, so go scoop it up. Limited edition vinyl has sold out (at Bandcamp) but the regular is still available, and so are CDs and downloads.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://melvinsofficial.bandcamp.com/album/working-with-god

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/melvinsarmy

Website, https://melvins.veeps.com/

Label, http://ipecac.com/

Melvins, Working With God (Ipecac Recordings 2021)