Crazy Horse

REVIEW: Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky

Dinosaur Jr.’s therapist should step forward and accept some hearty congratulations. This is a band whose early camaraderie had so deteriorated by the late 80s that they were literally beating each other up on stage. When bassist Lou Barlow left to focus his efforts on his other band, Sebadoh, he made no secret about his dislike for his former band mate, frontman J Mascis (see: the Sebadoh tune “The Freed Pig”). Mascis had also alienated Dino Jr.’s original drummer, Murph, by insisting that he should play drum parts that Mascis had written rather than letting Murph play in his own style.

So when the band’s original lineup reformed in 2005 there was obvious enthusiasm tempered with a resigned no-way-this’ll-last skepticism. Yet here we are, seven years into Dinosaur Jr. v.2, and they’re still cranking out excellent music, including their third post-reunion album I Bet On Sky. It’s instantly recognizable as a Dinosaur Jr. album; the classic rock-meets-Black Sabbath-meets-Crazy Horse guitars and Mascis’ mopey, disinterested vocals are all present and accounted for. But small flourishes creep up to keep things interesting.

REVIEW: Neil Young and Crazy Horse - American

I know, I know. Where do I get off writing a review of Neil Young? I’m just some guy who loves music, and that genius of a rocker has been creating some of best (and most heartfelt) music the world has ever known for nearly 50 years. This ornery old man (Young, not me), whose voice sounds increasingly like it emanates from his jowls, can do whatever he wants. Nothing he might produce today can diminish the sheer greatness of his 70’s work. “Down by the River” and “Cortez the Killer” have two of the most awe-inspiring guitar solos ever. I’ll cut you if you think otherwise. “Ohio” is perhaps the greatest protest song this side of Bob Dylan, and “A Man Needs a Maid” manages to contain the most sorrowful sexism I’ve ever heard.

Mr. Young (decorum required!) is the very model of what an aging artist should be. Instead of rehashing what we’ve heard for decades, he instead innovates, experiments and pushes boundaries. You want a concept album about driving an electrified 1959 Lincoln Continental across country to make a point about oil consumption (which, incidentally, later blew up)? Check. You want a topical album about how criminal the Bush Administration was? Check. You want a rockabilly or soul album? Check. You want the best-damn soundtrack to a Jim Jarmusch movie ever? Check. You want country folk? Check. Check. You want proto “grunge”? Check. Check. Check. And do you want an entire album of folk standard with Crazy Horse? Turns out, probably not.